A Successful Entrepreneur Who Took Her Business from a Single Bar to Two Hotels, A Pizzeria and A Catering Company in Few Years…
When did you decide to leave the South of Italy and move to the North - in the Dolomites Alps?
I was born and raised in San Severo (Italy) and lived there until the age of 23 – the same year my marriage failed. I decided to move along with my daughter Erika up to the Dolomites Alps, Trentino Alto Adige because of a love affair. I am still living there.
When I got to Val di Fiemme Community in the Alps, I thought it would be a great experience living there. However, people considered me a foreigner in the very beginning. So, it took me some time to make myself accepted even though I am a sociable and friendly person. I had to roll up my sleeves and work under others.
When did you decide to run your own business and make a name for yourself?
After having my second daughter, Carlotta, and making a lot of sacrifices, I said to myself: “It’s time to turn my life around and give a better, brighter future to my daughters”.
You wanted to realize your dream of “having your own business” - How did you start?
I started by running a bar, one employee at a time, through robust internal development programs. I analysed the area, the local market, and the business opportunities they offer. After careful consideration, I made my own strategies while continuing to work hard.
Well, we think the lessons we can learn from your vision is amazing because after your first bar, other businesses followed. You have taken your business from one bar to two hotels, one pizzeria and one catering company in a short span of time. How did you make it possible?
It’s almost impossible to launch and run a successful business if you don’t know your numbers or understand your costs, or don’t know where the hidden costs lie and exactly how many customers you have to serve to make a profit. Last but not the least, you have to expand your network and get surrounded by trusted collaborators who really believe in and share your ideas.
I understood the significance of branding. It’s actually a reflection of what the business stands for — its values and customer promise. Get your branding right and the employees will embrace your vision and carry it through to their interactions with clients. Customers will always know what to expect from you.
What if we say “value” and “loyalty”?
At the centre of everything you do, ask yourself: What value does this offer our clients and how will it drive loyalty?” You have to be a specialist. Fortunately, I have always been a specialist. It’s my thing. I am successful when I am really focused. I’d spend time becoming the absolute expert in a field. I wanted my business to reflect the same character. I don’t believe in doing too many things simultaneously if there’s a lack of value and loyalty.
What’s your key?
Perseverance - the only thing you can do is persevere! I even had obstacles to overcome, agreements cancelled at the last minute (which was devastating); people firmly standing in my way, push-back from the locals along with negativity. Yet, you can’t let it hold you back or allow that to affect you! There will always be obstacles. By persevering, I got where I am today.
How did you feel when you got negativity and push-back from people?
Entrepreneurs don’t take ‘no’ for an answer. When one door shuts, they find another. It isn’t always smooth sailing, but if you are willing to keep pushing, you’ll achieve your goals with grit and determination.
Are your collaborators happy to work with you?
Well, it is not easy to work with me. They call me the Iron Lady. I can appear tough at times, but it is just because of my determined attitude towards achieving goals. I always get my collaborators involved in the project. If your people are happy and engaged, exceptional customer service follows. It’s important to have a purpose but starting a business is not easy. It takes a lot of time and dedication to maintain if you’re not working towards the achievement of a higher goal.
What is your key to success?
Purpose! If you have a purpose that drives you, you can weather any storm. Starting a business is mentally, financially, and emotionally challenging. A purpose will keep you on track even when things are at their toughest.
What’s your plan for the future?
My plans, you mean! I have many other projects to realize with Massimo (my life partner), my loved ones, and collaborators. It is slightly premature to start talking about such things but I’ll keep you posted.