Jordan’s Journal

 

Jordan’s Journal

 

Jordan Salcito is the founder of Bellus Wines and wine director of New York City’s Momofuku restaurant. She was also in the inaugural class of the Tory Burch Foundation Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses program. Over the nine-week intensive course, she and 17 other women entrepreneurs studied business fundamentals through a curriculum crafted by Babson College, Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses and LaGuardia Community College. At the same time, they worked with business advisors to create a strategic plan to grow their businesses. Here, Jordan’s personal log of her experience, starting with her first class.

 

 

Entry 1

"First, please allow me to express how honored I am to be part of this program. I’m over the moon!

Our inaugural class covered a great deal of practical information, but the two biggest takeaways for me were bigger picture.

The first was this video. Occasionally in entrepreneurship we experience moments of raw delight, moments that take us back to the space in which we decided to make that frightening leap to start a business. This video clip takes a person right back there. Watch it! It reinforces that message we understood as kids: that we are still capable of building something perfect. We just need to remember it.

As a follow-up exercise, we were asked to think about where we’d like our business to be if fear and finance were not a part of the equation. This freedom of thought is mind-blowingly useful. I’m grateful not only for the opportunity to learn in a setting that will hold me accountable, but also to confirm that people in business who are much more experienced than I am believe that thinking big, and keeping fear in check, are the cornerstones of a successful business."

 

 

Entry 2

“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.” — Charles Darwin

Darwin, whose famous quote aptly surfaced at our second session, knew something about growth. The class packed in a litany of lessons — I’d like to focus on one of them, “Dewey’s Billions.”

An invigorating activity, it involves pretending you have a great deal more money than you actually have, then imagining how you’d spend it. First, we received make-believe checks for large cash infusions. Our professor asked us to think about prioritizing how we’d spend it for our respective businesses. A few minutes later, we received second checks for 10 times the first amount. Shortly after, we received a third check for 100 times that initial amount.

For me, “Dewey’s Billions” helped break mental barriers and spur imagination into the possibilities of owning a thriving, successful company. Our minds stretched to adjust — and it made the big-picture vision seem real.

 

 

Entry 3

One intense day of class cannot sum up everything we need to know about money and metrics, but it can break down a great deal of mental barriers and make them a lot more accessible. Since we are talking about math here, the basis of our day involved equations. Well, terminology and equations.

Two equations in particular are the most fundamental: Income Statement (IS) and Balance Sheet (BS).

Balance Sheet: Assets = Liability + Owners’ Equity

Income Statement: Net Income = (Revenue/Sales) - (COGS [Cost of Goods Sold]/Expenses)

The Balance Sheet Equation is our tool for determining the Statement of Cash Flow, which is also very important, because what business have you ever known that’s lasted very long without cash?

Another key equation is Profit Margin: Net Income/Sales.

In addition to understanding equations, we spoke about the importance of hiring an accountant and a bookkeeper who work well with you — and with each other. For something as critical as the fiscal state of your business, it’s important to trust and communicate with these key players. This way, you can analyze fiscal decisions thoughtfully before diving too deep in the wrong direction. What’s more important than that?

 

 

Entry 4

Something I never thought to expect — though, of course, I should have suspected it from the beginning — is the way in which our class would connect. After all, my company is about wine — not fashion or textiles or clothing. What would we really have in common beyond wanting to grow and improve our businesses?

Already, I can think of ways I'd love to incorporate products from almost every single business into my own, and the more I learn about each of the women in our group, the more I'm inspired by them. One has a children's clothing company, Bébéravi, that empowers Kenyan widows to make chic, adorable children’s clothing out of gorgeous Italian yarns — the proceeds of which fund a Kenyan orphanage. I’ve already given some of her pieces as gifts to some friends. Another founded Brooklyn Taco, a company that transcends all preconceived notions by serving things like blue-chip Blue Bottle Coffee and extraordinary vegan kale potato tacos. (I see chicken taco-and-Burgundy pairings in our future!)

Early in class, our groups passed around organized pages that catalogue our various resources — personal, financial and otherwise. Looking at these documents made me realize the wealth of connections we all have at our fingertips. More often than not, it seems that someone I know knows the person who can help my business. All I have to do is ask.

Click here for a full list of the entrepreneurs’ businesses.

 

 

Entry 5

By our fifth class our group had gelled. We had all developed a very good sound-bite understanding of one another’s businesses.

That deepened profoundly this afternoon. A week prior, we were asked to bring in a physical artifact that represents our respective businesses. After a morning discussing personality types, leadership styles and values, each of the women in our class presented her artifact to the others.

To signify Bellus, I brought in an old photograph of my father standing next to my grandmother, the namesake of Bellus LLC, on my parents’ wedding day. My grandmother has long been a hero of mine. When my grandfather passed away, she walked to the nearby Timex factory and told them that her husband died, she had five children at home whom she was determined to send to college, and that she needed “a man’s job with a man’s wages.” For years, she worked two full-time factory jobs and still managed to make family dinners every Sunday. All of her children have college degrees.

Natasha Wozniack brought in her jeweler’s saw, whose thread-like blade behaves only for those who have mastered the art of using it. Patricia Brett brought in the first swimsuit she made for her sister, a breast cancer survivor who had not been able to wear them since her mastectomy. As each of my classmates described their artifacts, their businesses came to life.

One of the most invigorating — and petrifying — aspects of owning a business is that we, the owners, are the philosophical compasses. That means we have to understand our values enough to articulate them succinctly to everyone else. As each of my willful, brilliant classmates told her company’s story through her artifact, her values became clear and tangible. I began to realize that our businesses are manifestations of our deepest principles and beliefs — and that anchoring ourselves to those tenets will help guide our companies as we grow and evolve. I find infinite comfort in that.