Showing transparency in your chain — from the origin — is one of the best things you can do as a company. No frills, just the truth. That’s what people want to hear nowadays, and what I want to hear as well.
Ramsey Smith, founder and owner of Virgin Islands Coffee Roasters has been working towards his goals of business and entrepreneurship from a very young age. He has known that a successful endeavor is lead by offering a superior product or service that customers can rely on for consistent offerings.
Ramsey and his wife Cathy, who also runs the company with him, have two children aged 5 and 8. As a family, they have all been intimately involved in the business since its inception. Ramsey and Cathy have been balancing 2 roasting locations and an array of various accounts spread across the Virgin Islands and Florida– while still keeping robust family life.
Virgin Islands Coffee Roasters was created by Ramsey and Cathy in 2012 on St. Thomas in the US Virgin Islands under the vision of bringing a Specialty Coffee to an underserved market. Ramsey knew adding value as the company grew was key to their success. Both the company and the customers would benefit from the growth and knowledge of the industry. The company now has two roasting locations.
Ramsey has proven over the years that hiring individuals based on their ability and allowing them to add value and creativity to the team, results in a growing dynamic organization. He has for years now proven that creating organized systems and procedures for his company and team allows them an infrastructure to grow.
It has been remarkable to watch as he grew a specialized company in a isolated geographic area under very difficult circumstances and even a succumbing to a major natural disaster. Through it all, the service and product have remained consistent which shows the strength of their vision and organization.
Where did the idea for your company come from?
It was either come up with a crafty name or just go ahead and use the Territory Name coupled with Coffee Roasters for instant delight- we chose the instant delight.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
Cup of coffee. Get the kids ready, fed, lunches prepped and dropped at school. Espresso shot. Following that — it’s at the roastery checking in with the team and our current weekly schedules. We have a set of tasks related to our calendar we follow as a company and it is followed throughout the week to stay on target. The day should be pre-scheduled and timed out for where you need to be — and when. Then another cup of coffee.
How do you bring ideas to life?
Dive head first into the research, pros and cons of a potential idea. You have to see the market value coupled with the initial cost, the ongoing costs and the profitability. Then, you have to take a look at your existing workload, and the workload of the rest of the company, to see when and if it’s feasible to tackle a new idea. Whichever department it falls into will be affected. So, you have to weigh the potential benefits or detriments to those individuals or teams existing time commitments.
What’s one trend that excites you?
Transparency in offerings. Showing transparency in your chain — from the origin — is one of the best things you can do as a company. No frills, just the truth. That’s what people want to hear nowadays, and what I want to hear as well.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
Reading. I read everything now, and it forces me to learn new things I would have glossed over in the past. It also has been a source of motivation.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Be more nerdy.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
Redwing Boots are the choice footwear for any occasion.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Consistency in adding value to your product and or service.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
Emphasizing that value is to keep or to gain. Think of a line that is either lateral or pointing up and never down. That is your life in terms of value. Anything that takes away from that trajectory is taking away from your life, product or service. We always see value in what we offer and try to add more value.
Selfishly, we want to produce more product because we love what we do, and it’s not just a job for us. Ultimately, our selfishness results into more people enjoying our products and services.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
When setting up your business, you want to make sure you have an out in what you invest into. We invested into a project and we didn’t set it up in way to have equity or a contract and ultimately shut it down after injecting capital, thus losing all monies invested.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
Ha, as an entrepreneur you can’t ever give out an idea because you feel that one day you could do any or all of your ideas.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
Food of some sort, probably. Love to eat good food served by people who enjoy where they work and what they do.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
Quickbooks. You can be as detailed as you want while getting to see in real time the health of your business.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
Fountainhead. It’s a fictional book about an architect who has unobstructed view of his ideals and will not bend to anyone who asks to contradict them. Be it your service or product, it makes you want to be the best at what you do and represent those values the character in the book exhibits.
What is your favorite quote?
Contradictions do not exist. Whenever you think you are facing a contradiction, check your premises. You will find that one of them is wrong.
- Consistency is key. Never do less for your customers. You’ve set the standard, don’t renege.
- It’s important to know how and why someone does certain actions as it can dictate their outcomes.
- Consider the amount of self help books that rely on patterns from daily life of successful people. Schedules really do help.
Steve (Stefan) Junge hails from Germany and helps with the day-to-day publishing of interviews on IdeaMensch. While he and Mario don’t share a favorite soccer club, their enthusiasm to help entrepreneurs is a shared passion.