Lauded by the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce as 2016 Small Business of the Year
Thursday, February 17, 2016—1:30 PM
Sitting with my wife Terry, my management team and two close friends at 1:30 this past Thursday at the Rusty Pelican I had no idea what was about to happen. As the videos rolled of the three finalists for Small Business of the Year, which we were one of the three, I truly did not think that we would win. After the last video the MC announced….” And the winner is……. Bill Hansen!!!!” …. Hey, that’s me…I was totally shocked…. but with my usual enthusiasm I hopped out of the chair, turned to those at my table with a fist pump, and jogged to the stage.
There, Emmy award winning journalist Jackie Nespral from Channel 6 gave me a big hug. I then asked her to invite my team to the stage. Like the late Zig Ziglar I told the audience that “I’m not retired, I’m re-fired”. This drew laughter from the largely somber, business-oriented audience. (I got them re-fired too)!!! Pictures with my team were followed by a quiet return to our table. Numb with disbelief that we won, we heard that The Related Group won the Large Business of the Year. Great company for us to be in. Jorge Perez and his team are fabulous.
Two days later I sit at home in Weston treasuring the memory, but also reminiscing of the route we took to gain this honor. 35 years ago, in 1980, at the age of 35 I started my business as the contract caterer for Miami’s oldest city club, located in the AmeriFirst Federal Building at One Southeast Third Avenue. Now known as the Sun Trust Building, for eight years I built my catering business there with the help of my awesome wife Terry and my late partner of 25 years, Bill Hendrich, who passed away peacefully in 2005. (Bill’s wife Betty is still with us at 92 years young, an as a former Rockette, she still rocks with the best of the geriatric crowd and is my wife Terry’s best friend).
For the next 25 years, along with running my catering business I built and sold a website (twice), started teaching Catering and Club Management at FIU, wrote two books, did some public speaking, some consulting and even ran Catering Boot Camps all of the U. S. Come 2012, I was inspired to focus on building my business, which had been profitable, but had not grown much over the past 25 years. Things were about to change! Taking the bull by the horns, with a goal of building each year’s sales by 25% over the prior years, we began to grow. By the end of 2015 our revenues had grown by 300+%. With a focus on sales and service we have excelled with core values such as:
Customer Focused Management and Execution
Never Compromise Quality for Price
Operate with a High Level of Ethics
Focus on Entrepreneurial Opportunities with South Florida Venues
Run a Safe and Drug Free Workplace
Hire and Motivate the Best of the Best in Staff
I learned long ago that if you satisfy your clients while charging fair prices you will excel and profit. Coupling happy clients, with superb networking, an amazing web site and state of the art social media we have developed the top catering and event production brand in South Florida. With over 100 catering and production requests per week, each of our seven event producers are able to find the best venue and menu for each of them. Once we have gone to contract, our operations team and culinary team deliver with excellence, exceeding expectations.
For 35 years running, the key to our success is focusing on the customer. Too many times, mature firms begin to focus on themselves, their policies, their procedures and forget that it’s all about their clients.
As the sun sets on this mid-February Saturday my team will be serving wedding guests at The Bonnet House in Ft. Lauderdale, The Versace Mansion and The Temple House on Miami Beach and Vizcaya and our own Villa Woodbine in Coconut Grove. Five high level events on a Saturday night is not for every caterer. But the 2016 Small Business of the Year is up for it!!!