Hungarian Edgies taste success

Congratulations to Edgie business Taste Hungary (whose gorgeous website you should check out) for winning the Drinks Business 2014 Award for Best Contribution to Wine and Spirits Tourism. The founders of Taste Hungary are Carolyn and Gabor Bánfalvi, and we asked Carolyn about the makings of her success. Here’s what she had to say.

Congratulations on your ‘The Drinks Business’ award! How does it feel to have your progress acknowledged like this?

Thank you! It is fantastic. This award is huge for us, and totally unexpected as the other finalists in the category were much larger companies than us (and are also doing some great things). We’ve worked so hard over the past almost six years to build our company into something that we are proud of and that helps travelers discover Hungarian cuisine and wine. It’s nice to get recognition for our work and it shows us that we are going in the right direction.

How’s it going? What’s the latest for Taste Hungary?

We are doing very well….busier than ever! We have been working for the past year putting things in place to launch our newest project: our wine tasting room and shop in Budapest. We call it “The Tasting Table.” In Hungary when you visit wineries in the countryside the winemaker takes the time to personally welcome you at the table, and to sit around and pour you wine while discussing his story and his wines with you. This is always a very memorable experience for our guests, and we wanted to kind of recreate something like this in Budapest at our new place. We renovated a cellar in an old palace, which has a kitchen and a long table where our sommelier will be pouring wine and teaching visitors about Hungarian wine. In the evenings we will offer more structured two-hour wine tastings, special dinners, and other activities. In addition to this, we have a few more new tours in the works. We are also hiring a few people who can help us run the company so we have the time and energy to keep growing and pursue new ideas.

I’m curious about your experience with the Edgeware BYB course. Have you found the experience useful? (I’m especially interested in concrete examples of how you may have used the tools)

Useful would be an understatement. I really enjoyed the course, and all of the exercises that led up to the creation of the “one-page business plan.” Having come from a more creative (food and writing) background, this was a very helpful process as it helped me gather my thoughts and organize them into something that makes sense. Coming into the course I felt like my ideas about my business were an unclear and disconnected mess, but after going through the exercises I realized that everything was there, it just had to be organized a bit. Creating the one-page plan and seeing everything on paper helped me see how everything that we do—which may sound scattered at first—actually comes together and makes sense.

I have the one-page plan tacked above my desk, and I constantly come back and look at it and am surprised by how spot-on it is. We have put the value proposition statement on our web site, and I frequently re-read the plan when thinking about new tours and products, and to remind myself that we are always making progress. I would advise any business-owner to spend some time going through an exercise like this as it really has given us a good base from which to move forward.
Do the tools remain useful? If so, which one(s)?

Yes, definitely. It is all so useful. I am just looking at the action list that I made during the course, and the “how” section of the business plan and am amazed by how many little steps we have taken over the past year, which all add up to some pretty big changes and growth.
What are your main challenges, and your main joys? And what is your Perfect Future?

My main challenge is that the day is just not long enough! With three kids and a business, it is not easy to have a balanced life and to have enough time to devote to new ideas and projects (as well as keep my sanity). But the kids are also my biggest joys. And being an entrepreneur and building a successful business is also something that I cherish. It is just hard sometimes to make the two work together. It is difficult when I have ideas which I would want to pursue but not enough time to follow through with them. In my perfect future we will have our business so perfectly organized and well-run that Gábor (my husband) and I will be able to step back a bit sometimes and have people who we trust step into place and manage and run things just as we would (or maybe even better).

Any messages for Edgies ‘out there’? Wisdom from Hungary?

Find your passion, and do whatever you can to follow it. Our business grew out of our passion for food and wine, and the business has now become our passion. It’s so rewarding to have been able to have built a business and do work that is satisfying to us and allows us to live the kind of life that makes us happy.

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