Boston Entrepreneur, Michael Wang Serves up Success with Asian Sandwich Bar, Foumami

Learn how third-generation restaurateur and Harvard MBA, Michael Wang launched his breakfast and lunch cafe, Foumami and why he believes everyone should make more time to "think" and...

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Trendspotting is also a crucial element of business development. To build the Foumami concept, I spent years researching the restaurant industry extensively and noticed several resounding trends: a movement toward fast-casual as opposed to fast food, a focus on healthy, wholesome ingredients and growth in the specialty sandwiches sector.

Establishing and maintaining brand value is also key.

In developing Foumami as a brand, I keep an eye toward what larger companies want to buy, monitor where the industry is heading, maintain efficient restaurant operations and invest in tightly packaged branding (design, logo, packaging, signage, etc.). These elements need to be implemented at store number one to keep the formula consistent as the company grows.

Lastly, building a successful business takes more than just people liking the idea; customers have to want to buy the product or service and choose it over competitors. You need a business concept that’s different, but one that has a demand.

Biggest Startup Challenge:

Bringing ideas to life is the biggest challenge to building any new business.

First, you have to take the leap and do it. Everyone has ideas, but only a few execute on them. If you really believe in your idea, you have to act on the business opportunity that you see.

Second, you have to have a comfort level and tolerance for risk. Startups are risky. Being an entrepreneur is risky. If you don’t stomach risk well, it may be difficult for you to perform successfully in bringing an idea to life.

Third, you should feel passionate about your idea. In a startup, chances are, anything that can go wrong will probably go wrong, and then some. Your passion will get you through the hard times and keep you moving forward. Otherwise, you may give up on your idea.

Fourth, you need the support of your family, especially your significant other. You may not be able to take your wife on that Hawaii trip for a while, or buy that new car this year. You may not be able to spend quality time the entire weekend with your family as you’d always done before. If your family can’t support and accept your new entrepreneurial lifestyle, you will surely face some obstacles in bringing any idea to life.

#1 Tip for Entrepreneurs:

Everyone should make more time to “think” and not just “do.”

Entrepreneurs are always so busy doing things – trying to get things executed, finished, done, crossed off the to-do list.

Throughout the day – a minute here, a minute there – as I’m doing things, I make time to think over things (things I’ve done, things I’m doing and things I’m planning to do) and ask myself why and what’s better. This forces me to reflect on past business decisions, which helps me to make better future decisions.

Connect with Foumami on Twitter and Facebook.

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Photo Credit: Michael Wang; Bon Appétit

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