Local entrepreneur looking to help others get their start

Published 12:00 am Saturday, April 13, 2013

By Kimberly Hopson

VACHERIE – Maitland “Spuddy” Faucheaux, 55, said he grew up working for entrepreneurs and knew at a very early age that he wanted to own his own business one day.
“All my life, I knew wanted to work for myself. Had no idea what I wanted to be — I just knew I wanted to work for myself,” said Faucheaux.
Faucheaux started his restaurant, Spuddy’s Cajun Foods, nearly 20 years ago from an old meat market that he purchased and expanded, but he didn’t go to school for restaurant management — Faucheaux actually has a degree in computer science from Nicholls State University. Faucheaux said he was a programmer for a number of years but left the field behind because programming was not as feasible or practical then as it is now.
“When I was a programmer they had the big mainframes. I don’t know if you ever heard about the big mainframes that took up three buildings this size,” said Faucheaux, recalling the early days of computer technology. “Somebody sat at the CRT (cathode ray tube monitor) and typed (the code) in, but the magic was happening somewhere else. Today, what we did on mainframes is done on PCs now, networking and all, and with servers. The mainframe world was starting to phase out and the PC world was starting to come in,” said Faucheaux.
After quitting the field, Faucheaux went to work selling paper and janitorial supplies — a big change, to be sure, but Faucheaux said that while working, he discovered a love for sales and developed his people skills. He waded through a number of different jobs before taking on his restaurant and finally accomplishing his dream of working for himself. Accomplishing his own dream gave him the idea to try and help others.
Over the years in the restaurant business, Faucheaux said people had approached him for advice about starting their own businesses, but many didn’t know where to start or what they wanted to do.
Regarding his experience starting his own business, Faucheaux said: “I had thousands of ideas go through my mind. And this was a problem, I didn’t know what I wanted. I had no idea and had no one to help me. And I thought, ‘You know, there’s got to be something I can do to help people.’”
Because of this, he decided to start his own franchise broker business, Franchise-Specialist. Faucheaux said franchises had always intrigued him, and he wanted to help people become entrepreneurs. Faucheaux walks each of his potential clients through the three-month process of finding and purchasing a franchise, acting as a buffer of sorts. He said he has a database of more than 400 franchises and will even help clients set up with a franchise lawyer. The restaurateur said that what he does doesn’t actually cost his clients anything.
“A lot of these up and coming franchises don’t have the funds to hire someone to do franchise development with their organization, so they’ll work with brokers. The brokers come in and do all the lay work for them. If you happen to sign up with that franchise, the franchisor pays me,” said Faucheaux.
Faucheaux offered five pieces of advice for all hopeful entrepreneurs. First, he advises that all future entrepreneurs shore up their financial affairs, with both credit scores and capital. Second, entrepreneurs should learn to deal with people to build up customer bases. Third, Faucheaux suggests that whatever type of business a person chooses to start it should be something he or she is passionate about or related to something the individual cares greatly about. Faucheaux said it is important to remain involved in the community and charitable in his fourth bit of advice. Last, and arguably most importantly, Faucheaux said that even entrepreneurs must take time to get away from their businesses regularly.
“This is a mistake I made. When you’re an independent business person, this is very hard to do, but you need that family time and that getaway time. You get so caught up in it, you get so gung-ho,” he said.
Faucheaux said that he has a whole database of information just waiting for people that seek his guidance. Ultimately, he said that his goal is fostering a solid foundation for new businesses.
“I’d rather lose a commission than have you go into something you really don’t want to go into. I don’t want to see anybody fail and I’ve seen people fail only because they didn’t prepare,” he said.