In this economy, it’s a struggle for even the most seasoned business owners to keep the doors open. It’s even tougher for a new one to make it past the first year. But Phillip Chang’s recent and rapid success with Yogurtland suggests he may know a thing or two about surviving in business these days. Chang opened his first Yogurtland shop in Fullerton in 2006 and now has more than 120 across the nation, plus stores in Japan and Mexico. And he plans to expand to 550 locations by 2015. We persuaded Chang to share some of his secrets and strategies.
OC METRO: How do you keep customers walking through the door?
PHILLIP CHANG: From the beginning I concentrated on creating value. If the customer gets a lot more than what they pay for, that’s value. Our price is really inexpensive compared to others, and that plays a big role. I was trying to make this something that’s part of the customer’s everyday life.
OCM: Why do you think you’ve experienced such rapid success?
PC: We embraced a franchise model, with each franchise being company owned. Essentially, we are partners. When you work together with somebody, the bottom line is felt, and they take care of each other.
OCM: Looking back, would you have done anything differently at the beginning?
PC: I would have built a stronger store operation team ahead of time.
OCM: What are a few essential keys to surviving that first year? PC: Approach the business from a customer’s point of view instead of the mindset that you’ve got a product and deserve to make money. You also have to be hands-on. Know every operation in your store and don’t lose the field exchange. It allows you to feel the customer. And good financial planning is a must. There has to be constant monitoring, analyzing and decision making.
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