Interview by Kelsey Meyer
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Bryan Janeczko is a successful entrepreneur who has successfully started multiple businesses, including his recent venture, Wicked Start. Wicked Start is an online application that helps individuals start successful businesses. A personalized checklist that outlines every step a prospective business owner has to take, is the key to Wicked Start. This personalized roadmap gives users a series of concrete action steps that are concise and organized, and managed according to the user’s own timeline. Wicked Start has partnered with some of the best online resources to provide the users with the planning tools that help them get the business started successfully.
Prior to running Wicked Start, Bryan co-founded Nu-Kitchen. This is an online food retailer serving healthy and delicious prepared meals. Bryan started Nu-Kitchen from the ground up in New York City, and built it into a multimillion-dollar business. In late 2008, Bryan sold the business to Nutrisystem, a national weight-loss company. In addition to founding and selling this impressive business, and running Wicked Start, Bryan is an active board member of the Entrepreneur’s Organization (EO) and co-founder of StartOut, a 501(c)3 dedicated to fostering entrepreneurship in the LGBT community.
Whether you’re ready to start a business or just thinking about it, signing up is easy. Just answer a few questions and we’ll personalize an online roadmap of concrete action steps to take so you can get going, from scoping out your idea, figuring out your business model- which is how you’ll make money, structuring your business, writing a plan, raising capital, to low cost marketing strategies. There is a free trial available to see if you’re ready to start planning your dream business.
Wicked Start is much more than an advice website. Can you describe what makes it different from websites that simply give you online info/resources?
Wicked Start is the only website that customizes tools and resources for your business idea. Instead of you trying to figure out where to begin or what decisions to make first, we guide you through each step using your own personalized roadmap. You’ll be able to join the Community to get answers from experts and peers who are also on the journey. Another feature that I think is particularly helpful is that we provide you with access to resources when you need them. Whether it’s a business attorney for incorporating, low cost website designers, sources of funding, business card printers, technology solutions or networking contacts, we have identified all the key resources you’ll need for successfully starting your business. For example, when you’re at Step 6, and you’re now ready to raise capital, we’ll provide templates and guides for writing the investor pitch and then we’ll provide you with online links to potential sources of funding. This is how we approach each step of the startup process, so that it’s easy to manage, providing you with the information and help that you need at that step. Once you move on to the next step, we’ll provide the guidance relevant at that stage so you’re not inundated or overwhelmed with data.
What in your background of entrepreneurship do you think has most prepared you for a role of teaching and guiding others?
I’m perfectly positioned to guide aspiring entrepreneurs on their startup journey for three key reasons.
1) As a corporate refugee turned entrepreneur, I understand what it’s like for an aspiring business to get going. Starting up is exciting as it is daunting and making the transition to where you’re the boss and responsible for everything, you’ll need expert guidance by someone’s successfully made the transition.
2) After founding multiple successful businesses, I’ve been able to share my experiences and best practices, so others can apply these lessons to their own situation. For example, with NuKitchen, I built the business from the ground up into a multimillion-dollar operation, raised substantial capital, and then sold it to Nutrisystem, the weight loss company.
3) Finally, I’m deeply connected to the startup community through my active involvement at the board level with multiple entrepreneurial organizations. I’m also constantly speaking to aspiring and existing entrepreneurs throughout the country to help inspire and build great businesses.
I am very impressed by the growth you were able to achieve with Nu-Kitchen before selling it. What to you attribute the amazing success of that Nu-Kitchen business to?
NuKitchen was an online diet delivery service. At the time we launched a few years ago, we were pretty novel. There were many, many factors contributing to NuKitchen’s success from timing to the right employees to my investors believing in my vision. Fundamentally though, creating a great customer experience was the primary objective. We ended up serving some of the most influential New Yorkers and celebrities, including Mary Louise Parker, Mathew Broderick, Marcia Gay Harden and Sarah Jessica Parker. Once we achieved an awesome customer experience, it was about scaling the business so we could reach customers beyond Manhattan so others could enjoy our service. To do that, we raised nearly $1.5 million to form strategic partnerships with key service providers and invest in a customer acquisition strategy.
I genuinely enjoyed reading the success stories on the Wicked Start website. Do you feel a sense of pride when you see people who have used your service succeeding?
Let me say this. I love helping people succeed. I’ve personally helped many businesses over the past two years since developing the Wicked Start concept and I’m fortunate that the folks in these success stories have let me share their startup experiences on my website. Julie Subotky, who founded Consider It Done, the concierge service, was particularly great to work with. I think she represents many hopes & dreams of aspiring entrepreneurs. While the road may have many twists and bends, I think that starting out with a solid foundation that’s been well planned will help you launch a successful business that can be here for the long term.
I was excited to see that you are a member of Entrepreneur’s Organization (EO) and co-founder of StartOut, why do you believe fostering entrepreneurship is so important?
Fostering entrepreneurship is priority number one because most businesses fail according to the Small Business Administration (SBA). Organizations that can help create a community to help businesses grow and develop successfully are the ticket to turning this failure rate around. It’s nice to know that you don’t have to do it alone. Since launching Wicked Start, staying connected to these organizations has not only allowed me to inspire others but also keep a pulse on industry trends, which will ultimately enable me to serve my clients better.
Ok, so my last piece is a little ‘pitch’ to get readers to try Wicked Start. Use my promotion code by 12/10/10 BYJ001 and you’ll get a 30-day free trial and we’ll waive the initial signup fee for a savings over $40. If you continue, it will only be $9.99/month. It’s that easy!!!
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