I had the chance to interview Bonita Inza of BBforME. Inza has become a well-known expert for driving customer satisfaction and loyalty at some of the nation’s top brands like Pottery Barn, Williams-Sonoma, T-Mobile, Vera Bradley, and Lacoste. We sat down to get her take on starting a business, scaling it up, and marketing it to wellness entrepreneurs.
Mucklai: Thank you so much for your time Bonita. Can you briefly share your background with us please?
Bonita Inza: I’m currently the Co-Founder and CEO of BBforME, Inc. Our vision is to inspire people to look and feel good by making it easy to explore and book, remember, and manage a wealth of beauty, fitness, and wellness services. Our current product, BBforME, is a client scheduling app that to connects independent beauty, fitness, and wellness professionals with their clients and visa versa.
My personal passion for creating customer-centric experiences was shaped by my early retail career, where I developed a meticulous eye for detail, and a keen understanding how people respond, interact, and shop within a physical environment.
Mucklai: How did your previous corporate experience enable you to capture the attention of your customers?
Bonita Inza: After a 30+ year career focused on understanding and creating great customer experiences, and working with many brilliant technology innovators, it’s exciting to be building a new experience from the ground up. I have the benefit of having a lot of experience, as both a business person helping to build and sustain multi-billion dollar businesses, and as a consumer who has booked countless beauty, fitness, and wellness appointments on my own personal journey to be my best self.
We have built and continue to build BBforME based on learning about the real needs of our providers and customers. Both are critical. I get to collaborate with my amazing co-founders to bring these ideas to life. We are all experienced business executives and innovators who understand how important the customer experience is.
Mucklai: What if any advice would you give to first time entrepreneurs?
Bonita Inza: Starting your own business or company takes courage, commitment, and resources. Before you start, get really clear on the problem you’re trying to solve, and clarify your objectives. You should be able to summarize your idea in a succinct statement, about what your product or business will do for your customer. Get feedback on your idea and learn as much as you can about the market, and the competition.
Additionally, you’ll want to identify the key resources you need to get started. Then, whatever timeline and budget you have planned, double it. The reality is that things just take longer than you plan for. You need to make sure you have the time and resources to stick it out, while you learn what works, and what doesn’t work. Be flexible and re-prioritize as you go. Your plan is a guide; learn and reproject often. Listen to your customers and your inner self, as well as your mentors and those around you.
Finally, whatever you do, be sure it’s a project that you care about. Being passionate on a personal level will give you the energy you need to push forward during the times when things are pushing back at you.
Mucklai: What is your firm focused on these days?
Bonita Inza: BBforME is focused on developing the client/provider relationship. For example, our Discover listings feature independent beauty, fitness, and wellness professionals, as well as the unique services and events that they offer. The BBforME proprietary platform simplifies and automates many of the tasks that professionals, who are truly entrepreneurs at heart, are trying to manage on their own, like appointment scheduling, client reminders, and payments. BbforME is eliminating the need for multiple disparate and often hand-written systems.
Mucklai: What do you think are the future trends in technology and wellness and why do you think they are important? What do you see your involvement being with them?
Bonita Inza: Some things never go out of style, like one-on-one relationships. Technology is not changing that, but it is changing how we connect and get information. The increasing clutter on the internet and noise of social media has created more confusion and frustration. Both consumers and providers crave a trusted source. We really understand this, and it’s at the core of our mission – connecting the consumer to the independent provider; the one who’s actually making you feel and look better. That’s why we created BBforME. We are building the ‘go-to’ platform for beauty, fitness, and wellness. We are your trusted source, so we designed BBforME as a mobile app first. Our marketplace is completely self-contained and advertising free. Simply put, we’ve listened and cut out the noise, while simplifying the process for everyone. I believe that booking a massage should be a relaxing experience – not a stress inducing one.