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3900 North Causeway Blvd., Ste. 1300
Smoothie King Franchises, Inc. is a privately held, New Orleans-area-based franchise company with more than 750 units worldwide. By creating each smoothie with a purpose, Smoothie King makes it simple and pleasurable for guests to achieve their individual heal... more.
Barry Edwards, President
President Creative Presentations - Barry Edwards President of Creative Presentations
Barry Edwards has sold his company Creative Presentations to Integrated AV Systems, LLC in 1999)
Barry Edwards Many entrepreneurs start their own companies after seeing potential business opportunities from their employers. Barry Edwards, President of the Louisiana-based Creative Presentation, Inc. saw an unclaimed yet promising niche in the computer industry that his employers failed to see. Though young, inexperienced and without capital, he took the leap of faith and started his own company specializing in visual communication systems. While working as the top salesperson at a computer franchise, Barry attended the Computer World tradeshow and was impressed with the presentation equipment on display. It was 1990, and presentation technology was at its infancy. The industry was brand new. "The equipment was really poor at that time," he recalls. "Pictures came out in eight shades of gray. But I knew this was going to be a good technology. And I just know that it was going to take-off." Excited with his find, he went back to his office and tried to persuade management to purchase a line of computer projection equipment. Barry believed in the strong potential of the presentation products. "I knew I was going to be a good seller (of this technology)," he adds. Unfortunately, the management did not show any enthusiasm for the potential opportunity. "The company I was with did not believe that I could do it," he says with a sigh. The rejection of his proposed idea only added to his growing frustrations with his employer. "I was experiencing difficulty back then with the way the company was operating," he remembers. Barry operated the business by himself out of a 10 x 12 room in his home, working about 12 hours a day. He took care of the baby while his wife went to work. "My wife was working full-time - that was important because if she wasn't, we couldn't have started the business." He knew the disadvantages of working at home, so he took pains to make his home business appear like a solid and well-oiled business. "That is one reason why I incorporated: I wanted to make my company look big." Given the nature of his business, he understood the importance of image: letting potential customers know that he works alone might be the kiss of death for his fledgling enterprise. His customers expect after-sales support, and clients may not touch him with a ten-foot pole if they know that he is a solo operator. To camouflage this fact, "I did not use the title of President. Barry says. "I used the title of Sales Manager. Because if I use the title of President, they would think that this is just a young kid: he might fold up shop anytime soon and he doesn't have any support. The Sales Manager title gives the impression that I am reporting to someone else and that I had more support." Another strategy that he used is to sign up for a Mailboxes Etc. business address, instead of using his residential address. He also made sure that he comes to his clients, not the other way around to prevent them from discovering the simplicity of his business operations. Receiving phone calls from clients became an interesting act of role-playing. As he relates those days, Barry put all of the profits back into the company, investing in more demonstration equipment, expanding product lines, and eventually attracting some extraordinary individuals. Barry Edwards Creative Presentations After a year, he hired his first employee, not in Louisiana, but in Dallas! As a company, Barry has chartered a new course that places less emphasis on the products and more importance on service. The company has developed new capabilities in the area of integrating various high technology audiovisual products into boardrooms and conference centers. Looking back, Barry has proven to be a skilled risk-taker who has demonstrated an intuitive ability to recognize unfilled needs in the market. His eye for innovation spills over as an asset to all areas of the business, as he is continually seeking out and listening for new ways to improve life for the company's clients and team members. Barry emphasizes the importance of research: "You've got to research the industry; you've got to know the industry. Barry Edwards has come a long way. Starting from scratch, "doing everything on my own without outside help; and growing it at this point with no large capital investment" is his greatest business accomplishment. Barry has a tremendous amount of energy, which is balanced well between his entrepreneurial and technical abilities. That is, his talent lies both in successfully starting ventures and following through with the focus and attention it takes to sustain them at a level of excellence. In May 2000, the U.S. Small Business Administration awarded him the Small Business Person of the Year for the State of Louisiana. He also received Top 20 Finalist for Entrepreneur of the Year honors for 1996 and 1999; and became a Nominee for Entrepreneur of the Year for the years 1997 and 1998. He was also honored by City Business as one of the 40 Faces of the Future of New Orleans. The award honors 40 young professionals whose success in businesses and organizations are setting the pace for the future. From a $10,000 loan to an $11 million dollar business in less than 10 years, leaving his job was the best decision that Barry Edwards has ever made. Barry Edwards: How a Work-at-Home Dad Transformed $10,000 into $10 Million Barry Edwards saw an unclaimed yet promising niche in the computer industry. Learn how he transformed $10,000 into $10 million in less than 10 years
Stories of Successful Small Business & Home Based Entrepreneurs
Starting a Business is a Leap of Faith -- Barry Edwards, President, Creative Presentation, Inc.