Learning Entrepreneurship Firsthand At A Young Age
Ian Hill has learned entrepreneurship firsthand, growing his company, Ian’s Wicked Good Donuts, from a hobby into a thriving business that allows him to save money for his college education. As Ian shares below, he has made decisions about investing in equipment, finding new customers, and sticking to a budget.
Ian tells his story below:
"Our company’s origin can be traced back (although we didn’t realize it at the time) to a convention my mother and father attended in Atlanta, Georgia some years ago. There, we saw our first Lil’ Orbits Mini Donut Machine that seemed to be VERY popular with the attendees. Not so long afterwards, a similar used donut machine was listed on eBay and, after a family discussion, we purchased it. That purchase in June of 2007 created the Ian’s Wicked Good Donuts Company that you know today.
"Following a family trip to Ohio to bring it home, we began the process of trial and error to find the best way to consistently make Wicked Good Donuts. We initially had the neighborhood kids taste-test our donuts. We sold our very first donuts at the Tilton-Northfield Old Home Day at the end of that month. Soon after, Ian’s Wicked Good Donuts were regularly sold at two of our community’s popular restaurants, and the word began to spread.
"After a year of trial and error, learning both the machine and the donut-making business, we came to the conclusion that, in order to meet up with demand for our donuts, we needed a machine with greater capacity. In July of 2008, we did our research and purchased a BRAND NEW Belshaw Donut Robot machine and sold our first machine (for more than we had originally paid!). The difference the new machine made to our business profile was astounding! Our customers were excited (and perhaps relieved?) to see such an increase in production capacity, and the staff was greatly pleased with the reduction in time spent fixing and repairing that we had wasted with the old machine. We now had the ability to service our restaurant and orchard customers with a much larger and more consistent supply of our larger-sized donuts.
"As for the mini-donut production (which is what attracted us to the donut business in the first place), we now had the ability to keep up with any demand our new niche market, campgrounds, might put before us. That year we worked to redesign the configuration of our mobile donut trailer to let us demonstrate to the youngest donut eaters at the campgrounds, just how the donuts are made. A large viewing window with the machine set up on a low shelf made the act of making donuts more of an attraction rather than just a retail shop. The campground management greatly appreciated this approach, and we have been instrumental in increasing the number of families that arrive a day earlier just to wake up to the smell of fresh donuts. Campgrounds have been a great market for us to expand into even though we still have our original regular restaurant customers. We have also added two private schools in the area that use our donuts for fundraisers.
"My parents’ goal in this venture was to help me find something to do in the summer, but it has turned into so much more. This entrepreneurial venture has taught me about business and helped to pay for my college. Not to mention that we’ve had fun as a family doing both. Our success is evident in the 'wicked good' donuts that our customers all know and love. Yes, it’s sometimes difficult to roll out of a nice warm bed to fill customers’ orders, but seeing people’s faces when they try an Ian’s Wicked Good Donut for the first time makes it all worthwhile."
Ian Hill has captured the opportunities of hard work and enterprise in America and he is still only 16.
One of the best lessons we can pass on to our children is the value of hard work. Experiences like Ian’s in New Hampshire should be a part of every young American’s education.