10 Q’s With Mark Huebner Of Denver Pizza Company

In keeping with the theme of branding, we wanted to feature Denver Pizza Company in this weeks “10 Q’s With…”; our question and answer series that’s aimed at offering insight to our readers who are interested in the ‘Adventure’ of becoming: The Boss. ‘But it’s a pizza joint!’ you say. We know. However, Mark Huebner – who orchestrated the launch of this particular pizza place – also understands the importance of branding. Take a look at his website and you will see that not only is Denver Pizza Company about to launch their mobile app, but they also have a merch store. As branding is becoming all you can hear about in business and commerce these days, we hope you can learn something from Mark Huebner.

Q. Tell our readers about your business, your passion, and what it is that you do? What’s your story? And what sets you apart from other businesses in your particular market?

“From as young as I could remember I have always loved pizza. Growing up in a Chicago suburb made access to the good stuff pretty easy. That being said, when I moved to Colorado for College the ‘good stuff’ became the mediocre stuff and I struggled to find pie worth eating for almost 5 years. I stumbled across a hole in the wall pizza joint in a small town in Cripple creek, CO about my sophomore year of college and would go there at least once a year just to eat the pie. After about 7 years of bothering them to buy their recipe, and after finding a suitable business partner, the Denver Pizza Company venture took routes. The major thing that sets us apart from the rest is what goes into our pizzas. Whether it is the beer battered dough, the slow cooked (for 5 hours) sauce or the freshly shredded cheese we have never, and will never, cut corners.”

Q. What inspired you take the steps to becoming your own boss? Is this your first/only business?

“I truly think that the inspiration to become your own boss just lies in who you are as a person. I don’t think there was one defining moment I just kind of always knew I wanted to own my own business. The pizza shop is not my only business however. I own a promotional branding (screen printing, embroidery, and promotional items) business.”

Q. How much planning was involved prior to the start-up of your business? Can you offer some insight into that process?

“In the pizza world there is quite a bit of back end planning prior to getting the doors open. I would say even more so than a regular sort of “office” company. There was at least a good 6-12 months of legal, construction work, marketing and planning prior to grand opening. My insight is to be very thorough in your game plan as you will ALWAYS forget or not know something in the process.”

Q. In terms of running your business, what does a typical day look like for you; or is every day different?

“In the pizza world every day brings new things. What people do not realize is that for every hour of the restaurant being open, there is probably at least another hour of office work and prep that must take place.”

Q. How many employees do you have and what went into hiring on more to your team?

“We have 15 employees at the moment and we brought on more guys as sales and business demanded.”

Q. What has been the most challenging part of your entrepreneurial adventure?

“Ha, the most challenging part…..well everything. Whether it is getting a tax bill in the mail from the city that you didn’t even know existed to legal issues and employee issues, there will be few days that go by that don’t offer a new challenge. However that is part of why we do what we do, we love to be challenged.”

Q. Besides the obvious of being your own boss, what is the most rewarding part about being an independent business owner?

“Like the previous question, being challenged and overcoming the said challenge feels great. It is also very gratifying every now and then to be able to take a day off without having to run it up the ladder.”

Q. What motivates you? What keeps you going each day?

“Well the current motivation lies in the fact that there are bills to pay. The ultimate motivation is reaching a point of true success where you can step back and say, ‘we did it’.”

Q. How do you promote your business (i.e. Advertise, Endorsements, Contests, Social networking)? Or are there any marketing strategies that have helped your business? What about hurt your business?

“For us door hangers give a HUGE response. We also have hired a lady who runs our Twitter and Facebook accounts on a daily basis so we are always in contact in some way with our cliental.”

Q. Has the Internet or social media helped/hurt your business?

“Without the internet and social media we would be miles behind where we are now. It is another platform we constantly are using to reach the people.”

Q. What’s next? What are your long term and short-term goals?

“For the short term we would just like to continue to survive through the recession which has taken its toll on us and many other businesses. For the long term we would to start franchising by year 5.”

Q. What advice do you have to those reading www.bossstart.com that you feel is valuable?

“For those reading boss start I would say to use any resources you have available before, and when deciding to get into a business. Pay for help from a seasoned vet if you have to. It will ultimately save you TONS of money.”

To learn more about Mark Huebner & Denver Pizza Company, please visit:

Website: DenverPizzaCo.com

Facebook: Facebook.com/pages/Denver-Pizza-Company-Down-Town/116982215031962

Twitter: Twitter.com/#!/denverpizzaco

About the Author: Daniel Ballard

Daniel is a Writer and Entrepreneur. He is Co-Founder/Main Author/Editor of BossStart and Co-Editor/Featured Author for BossStart's sister site, PauseStart, launching early 2012

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