Why the Chipotle Brand is about more than Burritos

Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. is a company that I have been following for the last few years. I originally was fascinated with the founder, Steve Ells, and his story in creating the restaurant. He was a culinary expert who wanted to use his Chipotle concept as a stepping stone to later create a “fine dining restaurant”. However, he had so much success with the initial stores that he fell in love with what he had already created in the Chipotle brand. This entrepreneurial journey caught my attention and led me into the stores to establish my own experience.

A few burritos and bowls later, the main reason that I fell in love with the brand is the food. I absolute adore my regular order “a bowl, brown rice, black beans, fajitas, chicken, medium and mild salsa, corn, and lettuce.” I have been getting this consistently once every few weeks for a few years now. The food is fresh with organic ingredients and naturally raised meats. As advertised they prepare simple ingredients, using classic cooking techniques without adding sugars, sweeteners, or artificial flavors. The brand quality matches its marketing “food with integrity”.

Over the last few months the company has caught my attention again for a different reason. They have been battered by an E. coli outbreak that has forced Chipotle to close stores in 9 states. E. Coli strains can cause serious food poisoning if consumed from a contaminated food product. An unexpected twist for a company that focuses so much on their quality of food.

This led me to think, will people stop going to Chipotle? Should I stop going to Chipotle?

I visited my local store to find out and what I found was incredible.

Not only were people still taking advantage of this fast casual dining experience, but the line was out the door.

The reason, not only does Chipotle care about the quality of their food, but also the quality of their diner’s experience. I believe that Chipotle will take the measures necessary to resolve their E. Coli issues in a timely manner. They have already closed stores where an outbreak was evident and updated their processes to prevent future instances. They will continue to work on their core mission, to create food with integrity, while still keeping their diner’s experience in mind.

It is in the various dining situations that the opportunity for Chipotle truly exists. The company provides a social experience for various demographics, nationalities and genders. They have a fast dining experience servicing lunch and dinner to their communities. By providing quality food, with the focus on that food, they have created their own culture. A culture that fits the needs of coworkers looking for a lunch, a couple going on a dinner date, students reviewing their homework project together, gym buddies fueling up after the gym, a business mentor taking an intern out, families traveling with kids, two friends grabbing a drink, and much more. Chipotle allows for a personalized experience with a simple quick setting environment.

Chipotle has become a phenomenon. As an entrepreneur, and business minded person I appreciate the simple décor and emphasis on quality of its main product. I admire their customer following, and their actions doing something that will directly hurt their bottom line for those customer’s best interest. Despite the recent negative press, the company is a great American founded business. I believe they will continue to work hard through hurdles and continue to find success. Although they have had recent troubles regarding their food, Chipotle is a brand that is more than just food. It is about “Food with Integrity” and also servicing their customers with integrity.

Who wants to meet me for a burrito bowl?

Four Points in Turn for an Intern

As the current year draws to a close, we begin to think about the upcoming year ahead and what that might demand for our businesses. A common consideration for businesses is the potential to hire an intern. An internship is typically a short term relationship between college students and an organization. The internship consists of an exchange of temporary services for experience between the intern and the organization. Internships can be a positive or negative experience, for the intern as well as the organization.

Let us consider the following four points in turn on how to maximize the benefit of an internship.

1) Interns are valuable –

Interns are human, value them as humans. It is one thought to have an intern help you with menial tasks such as making copies, getting coffee or filing documents, but the task you expect them to complete will directly dictate their feeling of self-worth and their contribution to your company. Try to create an environment where the intern is contributing to basic tasks in an efficient manner, but also feel they have the chance to make a difference.

2) Educate them on real job functions –

Interns usually do not have real life practical experience. The internship is a great way to teach them processes and real world application of the information they have only read in textbooks. The ability to correlate what they have been taught in a school learning environment and how to apply it in the workforce will help the intern and the organization. The intern will benefit from learning the process and job skills, while the organization will benefit from a fresh perspective of someone new to the organization.

3) Treat them like real employees –

Interns should be considered part of the team. Regardless of the title given to a person within the organization they should be treated as a real employee. The length of the internship may be predetermined but the intern should adhere to the same rules, policies and procedures as everyone throughout the organization. Additionally, the staff that is in charge of managing the intern has an opportunity to use the organizations resources to lead and improve on their delegation abilities through the internship. The intern should be seen as a respected employee within the company.

4) Create value beyond work experiences –

Interns are looking for job training in a specific industry that will allow them to make a decision if that industry is right for them. The short term relationship will be able to give the intern feedback on work performance but also suggest ways to improve resume, develop work ethic, understand professional culture, comprehend community impact and help shape them into future employees, if not for your organization, another. An organization has the ability to provide this feedback and also potentially hire this trained intern.

At the end of the internship, a job is not always guaranteed for the intern. However, by keeping these four points in mind it will create a beneficial experience for the intern and the organization during their time together. Add value to the intern and in return have them create value for your organization.

If you like this article, please share and recommend. I appreciate your time and it means the world to me.

Never Stop Believing in YOU

Two years ago I went for a bike ride along the banks of the Connecticut river. It is amazing what the beautiful scenery does for your mind (or at least mine). I remember at this point I wanted to achieve more success. I was disappointed things were not happening fast enough. I wasn’t really sure what the definition of that success meant and I can honestly say I still don’t, but I wanted it. The lesson I learned since that bike ride was I needed more patience. I needed to focus on me and not on the “competition” that was surrounding me. I needed to improve on what I could control and let go of those things I couldn’t. Most importantly I needed to reflect on what I wanted and begin to define it. I needed to believe…I needed to believe in myself.

Please share or tag someone that will benefit today from reading this. I know I needed the reminder.
#alwaysbelieve #peaceofmind #reflection #success#now

Practical Advice for Career Practice

What do you want to be when you grow up?

Ironically, my answer in first grade at Holy Name School was a businessman. However I must confess, when our librarian Ms. Heinz asked the class that question in 1988 I really didn’t know the answer. Baseball player and doctor were already said by other classmates … and … businessman did sound cool.

We are asked from a very young age what exactly it is we want from our careers. We are influenced by our family, friends, and own values. We begin to form our opinions and thoughts to this question through school, after graduations, during our first jobs and for some, right up until retirement. This question is flat out scary.

Your career is your journey through learning work. It is where you will spend countless hours in decision making for rational, social, and psychological factors.

How do you pick one thing you want to do for the rest of your life? The task of knowing if you like something without trying it is close to impossible. Even if you have the theory down, you still need the physical resources, practice and education to break into most industries. Very few people have the insight needed internally and externally about a given industry to make an educated decision. Not to mention the difficulties that could arise if an industry changes, or more importantly your preferences change.

At some point you have to make a decision

Here are 3 pieces of practical advice to help determine if an industry is right for you.

1) Talk it out — Reach out to 3 of your friends, family, or people in your existing network. Ask them to grab a coffee, drink, or take a short walk with you. Use the experience as a time to explain what you are interested in and gather their thoughts. Target people who you already trust in opinion and also people that have real life experience. Talk out your thoughts and gather feedback that you can later apply.

2) Get Involved — Look into joining 3 groups in your local area related to the industry that interests you. Networking from the beginning will help establish relationships and also your reputation. Surrounding yourself with like minded people, who are already involved, will help answer your questions and address your concerns quickly. You will be able to observe behavior and see if it relates to your interests and values. These are the people that you will be working with regularly and dealing with throughout your career. Get involved and see if it is the right fit for you.

3) Educate, Educate, Educate — Read 3 articles, journals or books related to the industry. Write 3 responses or journals related to what you have read. Educating yourself to everything about the industry and also learning to express your thoughts regarding it. Reading will help you get perspective about industry leaders and their thoughts on various topics. Reading various sources will broaden your scope and help you make your own theories about industry topics. Writing responses and journals will help identify if you like talking and discussing the topics related inside this industry. The more that you are able to read and write about a given topic the easier it will be to identify if you love it. Education will be the power to make informed decisions about the industry.

The goal should be to identify an industry that you are interested in and determine if you want to make it a career. These are 3 simple practical ways to gain exposure to an industry. They will help clarify your thoughts and educate you about what the career really entails. The low risk exposure to the industry will help determine if you love the industry but not a specific job or if the industry is completely wrong for your individual goals. Follow your passion, your values, and your skill set to put yourself in situations where you can find success. At the end of the day, you are the ultimate decision maker in your career.

Now, what do you want to be when you grow up?

Kids don't care on the playground! (And if you want to network, you shouldn't either)

One of the main things kids are inherently good at is introducing themselves to other kids on a playground. If you leave a group of kids together on a local play scape for a few minutes they will believe they are best friends very quickly. My four year old is the master of this art. She will walk up to any boy or girl of any age and start talking to them as soon as they touch the rubber surface. No fear, no insecurities and no real worries about the outcome. Kids just want to play.


As adults we lose this desire to interact with other adults that are strangers (and sometimes non strangers.) I am amazed how many times I am alone with other adults, in a store line, walking down a sidewalk, or riding in an elevator and it is hard for them to even make eye contact, let alone say hi. This is even more apparent at the very same playgrounds where the kids are playing and the parents are sitting and watching your kid interact with their own, but won't even introduce themselves.

Along the journey from four year old slide spinner and thirty year old on-looker we lose interest in interacting with strangers.

I believe overcoming this behavior could be a distinct benefit in business for the following reasons:

Business benefits

1) Foster potential business relationships (you never know when something good might just happen) 👊💰
2) Improve your ability to talk to strangers (critical for sales)👥👫👥👬
3) Enhance your communication skills (listening and talking, specifically listening)👂👌👂👌
4) you may just make someone's day (a simple hello can go a long way, and human interaction can feel good) 👍👍👍

Networking can be done outside
Of networking events! Every interaction is a potential opportunity to grow as a business person as well as a human being.

Kids on a playground have one goal in mind, and albeit a simple one, they just want to play. They realize very quickly that the best way to figure out who wants to play is by saying hello and interacting with one another. Using the same logic in the business world may just help you reach your own goals that much quicker.

Thank you for reading and sharing. Have a great day!

Ways to stand out from the crowd with your Crowdfunding.

Crowdfunding is one of the newest ways to fund your potential business startup. It is the practice of funding a project or venture by raising money from a large number of individuals. This is alternative financing compared to traditional mediums like Banks, Venture Capitalist, or Angel investors.This is a REAL way to put your idea into motion, by raising money for your project without giving up equity and without having to pay back debt.

 The crowdfunding industry has exploded over the last few years with billions of dollars being invested worldwide. The top crowdfunding online sites right now include gofundme.com, kickstarter.com, and indiegogo.com. As a result of this boom, these platforms have also become harder and harder to stand out on.

The following is a list of 5 tips to help improve your campaign and attract backers.

1)     Make it personal: Always ask yourself the question, why i am doing this? The idea should be something that you are passionate about and something that you want to share with the world. You are ultimately in charge of the process and its success.

2)     Tell your story: Grab attention of potential backers with the story of your project. Use videos and pictures to capture the eyes and ears of funders. Use storytelling to bring out emotions of people that relate to your project and directly impact them.

3)     Use free social media and advertising: You need to extend your reach, audience and awareness. Have existing links with media content to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube and company website so backers can follow your story outside of the funding page. Use media content to get people excited for the launch of your project.

4)     Have a live event in middle of campaign: Continue to get people excited AND involved. Think of strategic partnerships that may add value such as local businesses, professional athletes, and talented musicians that can be part of an event during the fundraising process. Reach out to notable investors or individuals related to your project to have at the live event. Use the live event to create more media content to share your story.

5)     Follow up with backers throughout the process: Getting a donation or funding is great, but have gratitude for it. The people that help create your project with you should be valued and most importantly kept informed. If a backer is promised a reward, follow through timely. As project meets goals or launches update them and continue to thank them. A backer should be considered a lifelong customer relationship.

Crowdfunding has created a unique opportunity for fundraising in today’s economy. The internet has helped drive this financial model even more, but Crowdfunding is not limited to the online arena. These tips should be considered in all areas of fundraising and in business operations.

Now is the time for you to stand out from the crowd and crowdfunding is one more tool to help you do just that.



The 3 Things I would tell my 15 year old self

Fall is almost here and with it the start of a new school year. High school is one of the craziest periods in each of our lives. Many of us met our best friends there, decide our career paths, and grow from kids to adults. Everyone has there own unique high school experience and I was no different.

The following are three things I would advise myself if I was starting my sophomore year of high school in the next few days

1) lesson one: Relax. Pimples suck and everyone wants to "fit in" (whatever that means) but try remember to breathe. High school is a journey, but a short one in the grande scheme of life. Have fun with your friends, test your boundaries( within legal limits) and put yourself In situations that allow you to grow. Don't sweat all the little details and enjoy the moments as they happen. The decisions you make will impact your future but they will not be the sole definition of who you are
2) lesson two: Do your homework. Yes this really means do your homework. This is a period of your life to learn. You may not get straight A's and you may hate certain subjects that you don't think matter but it's about putting in the work to find this out as soon as possible. If you are lucky enough to figure your passion and career path early great but otherwise use this time to learn. Teachers are assigning homework to help you not them. You will find that some things you learn won't matter but you will also learn those that do. Knowledge is a great asset and being prepared is another. Do your homework to help you figure it out
3) lesson three: high school is complicated just like life. If you think you will find perfection you are wrong. High school has bad teachers, bullies, and bad days...just like life after high school. Take time to realize an A- is not a bad thing (neither is a C if you earned it) Understand that not everyone is going to be your friend and not everyone is going to like you. You may fall in love and you may get your heartbroken but you will live.

High school had lots of lessons and experiences that shaped who I am today
I was hard on myself...looking back as my "wiser" twice as old self I would take five minutes to go through these three lessons with my younger self
Please pass this on to a younger (or older) student who may need it
And good luck this school year !

Start Believin'

We all believe in something. Right now is the best time to start believing in yourself.

The American rock band Journey, originally released the iconic anthem “Don’t Stop Believin’” in 1981. The song has outstanding lead vocals, incredible keyboard riffs, and a memorizing chorus. This is a timeless classic that tells us the importance of keeping the belief alive. The song rocks and the message is simple, do not stop believing. This awe inspiring song is telling us not to stop, but exactly how do we start?

How do you start believing in yourself?

Throughout our lives we form our belief system based on our experiences and interactions. We have core beliefs that we use to lead us through our day to day lives. We also have the influences of others — friends, family, and our community that change our beliefs. We believe in Higher Powers, Santa Clause, the Easter Bunny, Tooth Fairy, Professional Athletes, Musicians, Artists, Teachers, Parents, Friends, Family, and the list goes on. However, we are always so hesitant to believe in ourselves.

The following ideas are key ways to increase the levels in which you believe in yourself.

  • Define who you are. Take yourself seriously. Ask yourself where you are now and who do you want to be. Describe the good and bad about yourself. Realize the good is really good and the bad needs to be worked on. Write it down so you can track your progress. Use social media to track updates and advertise when you hit goals. Identify the circle around you, enlist good people who you trust and will help you.
  • Change the way you feel about yourself. You should have confidence in who you are. Everyone hates a few things about themselves. Most people may admit it and some may not. Do not let negative internal views of yourself make you feel bad or consume you. Allow yourself to celebrate victories, both big and small, as you set your life goals. When you fail, do not see it as a loss, but a chance to learn and improve. Respect others and request that they show you respect. Treat yourself well.
  • Adjust your expectations. Success is a measurement of the mind. Whatever goals and efforts you set for yourself, have patience. As you work through this journey of believing, give it time. You will have setbacks, you will have progress, you will continue to grow. It is not a race but rather your life. Expect it to be how you want it to be, it is achievable, just give it time.

Throughout our lives most are not formerly taught self belief. Most parents try their best, Schools do not offer a class in this life skill, colleges do not offer a major in it. However it is so important. We have amazing abilities as humans. Now is the time take control of your journey, establish your life goals and set your beliefs high. You will succed. It is important for you to start believin’ that.

If you found this post helpful it would mean the world to me if you recommended it or shared it with a friend.

A very special thank you to my friend Anthony Gomes for the incredible background picture. Check out his instagram.http://instagram.com/solitaryanimal/

Legitimizing your Lemonade Stand: 8 Steps to making your business legit.

You have the idea, you have the passion, now make it a REAL business.

Last summer while watching the news, I saw a young boy in Tampa, Fl have his lemonade stand shut down for operating it illegally. The boy was only 12 years old and had started his entrepreneur journey with a good old fashioned lemonade stand. He sold his lemonade for good profit and his business was booming. The problem arose that he had not taken the time to follow the steps to make his business legitimate. A neighbor filed complaints to shut down the boys business and police ultimately investigated his operation.

I am often asked the questions, “How do I get started with my business idea?”, “I have been doing X for awhile now, but don't know what to do next.”, and “How do I make my business legitimate?”Here are the steps that I have helped hundreds of start-ups with in regard to legitimizing their business idea into a small start-up business.


  1. Identify goals and establish a plan. — This should be the first step but rarely is for new entrepreneurs. Identifying your purpose in starting this business is critical for the long-term success. This will be the blueprint that helps create company culture, purpose, and expectations. Writing the goals and plan down is highly encouraged to track progress through your journey. This is an exercise that will get you started and show just how serious you are about your interests in this new business.
  2. Decide what type of entity type makes the most sense for your business. — Entity types include C Corporation, S Corporation, LLC, Partnership, and Sole Proprietorship, among others. The business structure will depend on the various circumstances involved in each business. Business owners need to identify criteria that fit their current and future needs. Each entity structure has various administration concerns, tax implications and legal liability. Do a little research to get a better personal understanding, and select one that makes sense for your business. It is worth noting that your entity structure may change as time goes on due to personal choices, taxes, shareholders, growth, or other business factors.
  3. Register your Federal identification number with the IRS. — This is one of the easiest steps and can be completed free online. Visit www.irs.gov and search apply for EIN or Employer Identification Number. The online application will walk you through various questions about your business and within minutes send you your brand new EIN!
  4. Register with your State authority, also with your town or city if necessary.— This step will vary based on your state and jurisdiction. These filings will make you a more credible business to your local customers. Registration includes obtaining DBA or “doing business as”, permits, licenses, and certifications. Registering in your state allows you to operate as a legitimate business without the possibility of being shut down.
  5. Organize the business and set up record keeping.— Keep it very simple! Organize yourself early and stay organized throughout the process. Eliminate surprises by keeping your numbers current and accurate.
  6. Set up your bank account with your new business EIN.— A bank allows you to deposit sales, write checks, and potentially apply for loans. Start off with a business checking and perhaps a business savings. It is important to form a strong relationship with a banker who has finance knowledge that can be of support to you as you grow your business.
  7. Find an insurance agent and acquire proper business coverage.— It is important to protect your new business as well as yourself from personal liability. A knowledgeable insurance agent will guide you in what coverage you need to protect your assets. They will identify whether it is a general business policy, workers compensation, or other form of customized insurance that fits your specific business needs. An insurance agent will keep your policies current and your business insured.
  8. Attack Social Media and Word of Mouth Marketing platforms —It is time to let friends, family and neighbors know that your business exists and the doors are open. It is time to share your business on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Linkedin, and Snapchat. Register a website with your domain that directs customers to your product or service. Spread your message. Let people know you are now in business!
“You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great.” Zig Ziglar

If you follow these steps it will not guarantee your success, however it will answer the question, “How do I formally turn my idea into a REAL business?” It is a start, an opportunity, and a chance to take your ideas to the next level.

Warning: Get ready to put in your time and effort with your newly legitimate business.

It is all so worth it!

If you found this article helpful it would mean the world to me if you recommended it or shared it with a friend.