LivePlan Customer Interview: A Restauranteur Turned Entrepreneur
The next LivePlan customer we’d like to feature is Rachid Tajiouti, CEO and Founder of Olive Oil USA. Rachid has combined his passion for his Moroccan roots – with his skill and passion for food (he’s a professional chef in New York City) – to create a business to business company (B2B) where he’s importing organic olive oil from Morocco into the U.S and selling it wholesale to other businesses. Rachid shares his story and how LivePlan helped him raise an investment of $3 million to launch and grow his exciting new venture.
What inspired you to start Olive Oil USA?
I’m originally from Morocco. I was looking at free trade agreements between Morocco and the United States and saw the incentives. I learned that Morocco is the sixth largest producer of olive oil worldwide! This inspired me to build a company importing organic Moroccan olive oil into the U.S. market.
What market problem are you solving?
I’m a business to business company (B2B). The product I sell is 100% organic and top notch. I offer better pricing and white-labeling. Those who don’t want to deal with trade and manufacturing don’t have to, but they’ll still get to benefit from offering a unique olive oil to their customers.
How many people do you currently employ?
Currently it’s just me and mentors who feel the way I do about the company. I’ll soon be hiring 125-200 people in the Unites States for sales, and 125-200 people in Morocco, where our warehouse is.
What advice do you have for entrepreneurs starting their own businesses?
You must love your idea first, or you’ll abandon it. You’ll think to yourself “I’m stressed, but I remember I love this idea and I have to keep improving it.” That is what has helped keep me grounded in Olive Oil USA. I love this product and the potential associated with it.
Have you found that writing a business plan has helped you in your business?
Absolutely! Before I had LivePlan I was going nuts because I needed to make charts, but then my friends recommended LivePlan to me, and it was a beautiful recommendation. There were no errors, just as I needed, so precise. It’s great that LivePlan produces an investor-ready plan. While I’m out raising investment capital I can feel confident knowing my financial calculations are all correct. It has been very useful.
Have you already raised capital for Olive Oil USA?
Yes, I’ve raised $3 million so far. My LivePlan business plan was imperative. Without it, the investors wouldn’t have met with me!
Wow! $3 million is great! Has that been your biggest success to date?
Honestly, I think the biggest success is that people are confident about my company and are talking to me about it. My next step is to get the product endorsed in New York City restaurants.
It sounds like you’ve always had an entrepreneurial spirit, is that correct?
Yes. I grew up in an entrepreneurial family and we were very successful. We owned 18 dry-cleaning companies all over New York City. I’m actually a chef by trade. I owned 5 Italian restaurants. I have since sold them to pursue Olive Oil USA.
What are your growth goals?
Currently, our olive oil can be found in stores throughout the country, but it’s sold under other brand names because we sell it bulk to wholesalers for now. Some changes will happen shortly and I’ll post updates here as they come. Everyone should have the pleasure of tasting Moroccan olive oil!