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Community Highlights: Meet Brittany Yates of Grind On The Go

Today we’d like to introduce you to Brittany Yates.

Hi Brittany, thanks for joining us today. We’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
I started my business in 2011, I founded a nonprofit organization. As I was working on developing the organization, I frequently visited a French bakery/coffee shop. The coffee shop was open 24/7 and I would go late in the evenings and stay until 3 or 4 am.

One thing I found interesting is that during this late night and early morning hours, the coffee shop would be filled with people working. I’m an introvert, so I never talked to anyone one-on-one. However, just being in the space together and seeing other people focused inspired me to work. After working in the space for a while, I realized that this space alone inspires you to be productive.

I’m a visionary, so I like to see things before they happen. Once I knew I would own a coffee shop and coworking space one day, I set up a coffee area in my home. The area included a Keurig, a table, and four chairs. I envisioned people coming in and doing what I love the most, enjoying coffee and work. In every place I’ve lived, I’ve set up a coffee station since 2011.

A few years ago, there was an incident with employees not being able to wear “Black Lives Matter” shirts at their jobs at a coffee shop. This really triggered me that people were being denied their freedom of speech and rights. This also motivated me to launch my brand, Grind On The Go.

During the pandemic, it was confirmed that starting on the mobile and online route was best for my coffee and tea brand. When everything shut down during the pandemic, many businesses suffered terribly. Some tried to quickly pivot to offer online products and services. While sadly some businesses had to close forever.

This showed me that focusing on growing online sales and community would allow me to build a somewhat pandemic-proof business. Then our mobile food truck was stolen. Our initial plan was to offer breakfast and lunch items on the truck in addition to our signature drinks.

But once it was stolen, this was further proof that pivoting online was the best route to go. I then also worked with my team to make sure we focused on our messaging on providing motivation to those on their “grind.”

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
It has definitely had some challenges! The main business struggle was everything was on backorder during the pandemic. Some things that would once take me a week to receive now took three months!

It was an overwhelming experience, to say the least. Another challenge was when our food truck was stolen! We trusted a business to do the build-out and then it was stolen by the mechanic. But as entrepreneurs must do, I learned to focus on finding solutions instead of focusing on the problems.

I’m also in the process of developing a small business grant for entrepreneurs. These challenges are just a few that I and entrepreneurs face daily. I want to be able to provide financial support to our community.

Appreciate you sharing that. What should we know about Grind On The Go?
I am currently a Ph.D. student. I attend the Chicago School of Professional Psychology in Washington, DC. I’m obtaining my degree in organizational leadership and although I do have a heart for coffee, business and entrepreneurs are my true passion.

My main goal is to help businesses and the coffee shop meshes well with it. I decided to get my Ph.D. to help small businesses develop their leadership in order to create a better working environment for staff.

This is definitely essential during the Great Resignation, where employees are prioritizing work culture and life balance over a paycheck. In my professional career, I have been a consultant since 2012, where I focus on helping small businesses run more effectively and efficiently.

Networking and finding a mentor can have such a positive impact on one’s life and career. Any advice?
Finding a mentor is essential. One key consideration when searching for a mentor is to find someone who is doing well in the areas you’re looking to develop in.

For example, if you want to grow your business to six figures, then you should be aligned with someone who has already achieved it, or who is on the path and close to it.

Another key aspect of finding a mentor is making sure the relationship is mutually beneficial. Just like all relationships, it should not be one-sided. Think about what you’re great at and how you can be an asset to a mentor.

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