Meet Lisa Josefik, Owner/President of LENTILICIOUS
This is her story…
Tell us about your business.
A women-owned business, we make delicious lentil meals in three flavors (Mediterranean, Coconut Fusion, and Red Chili) that are nutritious, balanced, complete, and simple to prepare. Lentilicious is a “one of a kind” product. There is nothing else like it on the market. It contains lentils and our blend of herbs and spices. No rice, quinoa, or additives. It can be served as the main course or as part of the meal. To prepare, add water and simmer for 7 minutes. One bag serves 4.
Our affordable product is designed for people who have a limited budget (like the underemployed), who have dietary concerns, who can’t cook, who don’t have time to cook, who don’t have much of a kitchen, and for lentil fans. Lentilicious is a high-protein, high-fiber, gluten-free, kosher meal. It is an excellent dietary choice for vegans/vegetarians, diabetics, heart disease patients, campers, backpackers, or anyone trying to lose weight.
Please tell us what being a business owner means to you and why you became an entrepreneur in the first place?
Being a business owner gives me the opportunity to take the idea of providing a product that improves the well-being of others and making it happen. We run our business based on our beliefs of how we should serve others. I became an entrepreneur because I had to feed myself. During the economic crash of 2009, I lost my job. I had worked in both the corporate world and the medical world and had always wanted to own my own business, but I had been too busy making money for others. I turned a negative into a positive and built Lentilicious USA.
What or who has been your greatest influence in business and why?
My grandmother. She, along with my parents and grandfather, worked hard and taught me there was not one job small enough that I couldn’t do. My grandmother probably doesn’t realize it, but she set the standards for me as an entrepreneur. She was a cook and she cleaned. As a child, I would be with her when she scrubbed floors for one family, then after she finished, she would put on her apron, and together we would walk up the lane to another home, where she cooked for a different family. She was financially independent because of her hard work and because she thought no job was too small. I learned from her that to make a business successful, I, too, have to believe no job is beneath me. As CEO, I deliver my product, make sales calls, do store demonstrations, enter data, do accounting, empty the trash, hand-select my product’s ingredients, and more.
My grandmother is 96 now, and she still cooks for people in her complex just for pocket money. To me, she is still a successful entrepreneur. She is amazing.
What would you say is your greatest professional accomplishment to date?
Developing a nutritious, affordable meal that benefits others and building a business from scratch so we can put this much-needed product in the hands of many.
What’s the best advice you have received in business that you wish to pass on to our readers?
Not-so- good times doesn’t always mean the end. It can be the beginning of a wonderful new start. Step up for new opportunities. Listen and ask lots of questions. Stay true to who you are as a human being. Look people in the eye, smile, give a firm handshake, and ask about who they are and what makes them tick. When networking, don’t be afraid to help someone out because it’s the right thing to do and not because it will get you brownie points.
What has been the most effective marketing initiatives or programs you have used to promote your business?
We’ve done well with cold-calling and having face-to- face meetings with potential clients. We’ve also relied on social media and word of mouth. Because we are small and have a limited budget, we have found our “back to basics” business approach makes people pay attention to us. Also, Lentilicious is so good that once people try it, they want it.
What one thing have you learned as a small business owner that has served you well over the years?
Be ethical and treat everyone equally. When you say something, mean it. When you make a promise, fulfill it. Honest communication is important.
Are there any resources or tools you’d like to share with other small business wners that have helped you run your business?
Go back to basics! Face-to- face communication works. Get out and meet people.
Use the phone to help build relationships. Do not rely on emails or just handing ut business cards.
Do you have any new projects coming up? If so, please tell us about it.
We have been named an “American Small Business Champion” by SCORE, nd we are working hard to be crowned this year’s Grand Champion.
Lentilicious will be attending the following festivals:
o National Lentil Festival, Pullman, WA
o San Francisco World Veg Festival, San Francisco, CA
o Natural Food Expo East, Baltimore, MD
o Southern California Veg Festival, Costa Mesa, CA
o Central California Conference of Seventh Day Adventists, Soquel, CA
We sponsored Sharon Palmer, speaker, at the June 9, 2016 Nutrition ummit in Los Angeles.
We participated in the 2016 Continental/Pacific Regional National Association of College and University Food Services (NACUFS) conference in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho.
We’ve seen our online sales increase through social media.
What do you do for fun/relaxation?
Both of us go camping most weekends with friends and family, and we take Lentilicious with us. I also like to bake and dance in the kitchen.
What is Number One Business Goal you plan to accomplish over the next year?
Find investors who are willing to wait for a return on their investment, but who provide expert advice that helps us meet our goal of expanding into the nation-wide retail market.
You want to write a book on Australia to America: How Two Women from Different Continents Built a Business
Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?
Feed your soul. Don’t let your business consume you. Keep your business and private life separate so it doesn’t overwhelm you. Define the lines and stick to them. I work four days a week and use Friday as a clean-up- from-the- week time.
I shut down around noon and go camping. This feeds my soul, so that when the next week arrives, I’m productive.
What’s the best way for the readers of WE Magazine for Women to connect with you?