Tyla-Simone Crayton, who is just17-year-old, is the founder and CEO of Sienna Sauce. Her chicken wing-style sauces sold in over 70 retail stores across the United States.
CNBC announced in 2019 that her company generated $192,000 in revenue. Crayton, who has gotten investments, continues to grow her brand and has no plans of slowing down.
Crayton learned a lot building her business and from people she met along the way including billionaire, Mark Cuban. Here are key advice Crayton has for other small business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs.
- Ask questions and continue to learn: Crayton created her sauce at age 8 and starting selling it at age 14. She says, “Never be afraid to ask questions. Sometimes we get caught up with our pride and things like that, but never be afraid to be vulnerable and ask questions because it’s OK to not be the smartest person in the room. You can always learn from someone else. There’s so much knowledge on the internet. If you don’t know something, Google it,” she says, and if that doesn’t work, buy a book that can help.
Mark Cuban’s advice to Crayton: “Business is a sport, you’ve got to compete. But most importantly, you’ve got to recognize that you’ve got to learn all of the time. A great entrepreneur is always learning because things change all the time… That means taking classes, whether it’s in school or online, on finance, marketing and accounting.”
2. Find a mentor: Crayton advices getting a mentor. By having a mentor, your business will grow faster and it will help you feel like you’re not struggling on your own. Your mentor doesn’t have to be an entrepreneur in the same industry as you, she said, because “even though we’re in different industries, we do all go through the same thing.”
3. Listen to your customers: Crayton advises listening to customer feedback. She says, “Our customers kept asking for new flavors. That’s why we have three flavors today. When you listen to customers, they tell you exactly what they want. That’s really been important to the growth of my business. So, of course, we’re going to listen to see what they want next from us.”
4. It’s OK to change course: “[People] always ask, ‘What do you want to be when you grow up? What do you want to do?’ They always make you choose one thing. But we have so much time.”
And with that time, trying something new or of interest can lead to success – even if your background is mainly in one industry versus another.
“Don’t feel guilty. Don’t feel like you’re unfocused because it’s your life to live. Whatever you do, make sure that you do it to the fullest. No matter what you do, just put your whole heart into it,” she says.