Who: Krystal Harvey
What: Harvey is business and operations manager for Caliendo Foods & Imports, LLC. The Delray Beach-based importer of meats, cheeses, pastas, tomatoes and custom-blended signature items, specializes in importing container-sized loads from Italy into the United States and other regions.
Back story: Harvey's career in Italian food and imports began when her "boss had to reinvent himself," she said. She joined Anthony Caliendo as assistant in his mortgage and real estate business ventures in 2003.
But by 2007, it was time to change gears. The real estate market was slowing and the company had shrunk from more than 100 employees to about 5 people.
Harvey stayed on — tying her future to her boss, not the economy.
Caliendo turned to family and friends for ideas and connections and began importing and distributing Italian cheese. After all, says Harvey, it was about selling, building relationships and networking, "things he'd already been doing in the real estate industry."
Harvey stayed focused on administrative tasks and operations. Starting with just a few accounts and products, Harvey ensured sales were completed, orders fulfilled, shipping tracked and followed up with contacts and documentation.
"We were fearless, but we were also realistic and a little afraid," said Harvey.
Working with Caliendo to create a business generated momentum, said Harvey. "You can't not be optimistic working with Anthony," said Harvey.
Caliendo's entrepreneurial streak began years earlier when he built World Gyms with Arnold Schwarzenegger; he also worked as a stock broker. "I draw from his energy," Harvey said.
She also recognizes their respective roles. "He directs me to do things and my job is to get it done."
"It's up to me to be intelligent, resourceful, creative, and adaptable and be in constant sync," said Harvey. "Our successes reaffirm his mission, goals and objectives." But they get there together, she says.
The take away: Boss/employee dynamics rule no matter how small a business is, says Harvey. It's still an organization. Owners and employees must show mutual respect, define their roles and acknowledge the team.
In a small business, supporting roles are big, says Harvey.
High-level planning sessions. Harvey and Caliendo map out strategies, such as finding prospects through food industry expos and partnerships. They develop additional ways to serve their clients. For instance, Harvey assisted her boss in pitching Florida school districts to serve one of their pizza products at lunch, landing a deal with Palm Beach County School District.
Prepare for the unexpected. Sticking to a routine allows for wiggle room when you need it, says Harvey. Keep up with paper work, pay the bills and answer the phone.
Be a self-starter. In a small business, no one is there to micromanage you, says Harvey. Have the self-confidence to share ideas and solve problems. Take the opportunity to learn new things about the industry. Ask questions.
Cindy Kent can be reach at email@example.com or 954-356-4662. Follow her on Twitter.com @mindingyourbiz
Small business profile