Mike Nichols, independent sales representative for World’s Finest Chocolate, answers the questions for today’s Small Business Snapshot.
What is the primary purpose of your business? Fundraising for schools, music programs, churches, sports teams, dance clubs, cheerleading and scouts.
What is your business background? I earned a Bachelor’s in Communication from the University of Alabama, have two decades in the beverage business in Georgia, Tennessee, Texas and Alabama and five years in sales training.
Why did you start (or purchase) this particular business? I was looking for a role that would allow me to mirror my wife’s school schedule and allow us to travel summers with our young sons. World’s Finest Chocolate offers territories with no startup costs, phenomenal support and the ability to grow your business in an exclusive territory.
What makes your business unique? World’s Finest Chocolate is unique for many reasons. Since 1949 World’s Finest Chocolate has raised over $4 BILLION dollars for education. We are second in total fundraising only to the Girl Scouts. While the chocolate is made in Chicago, we maintain a warehouse in South Atlanta whereby chocolate can be delivered anywhere in my 10-county area in 1-3 days.
50% profit. We are known for our high profit margins and still provide an opportunity to make 50% off every chocolate bars. Candles, wrapping paper and cookie dough deliver lower margins.
No money upfront for public schools.
“No chocolate left behind.” While it occurs rarely, I always possess the ability to pick up and credit unopened boxes. In other words, World’s Finest Chocolate customers don’t get stuck with product they can’t sell.
In short, we make fundraisers more money in less time and with less hassle for the good of the community than any other fundraiser.
Time is the single component every fundraiser must consider and maximize. An afternoon carwash or bake sale consumes an entire Saturday, tremendous resources and often raises less than 10% of what a 2-3 week chocolate sale can raise.
The key to our sales is intentionally getting a single box of chocolate into the parents hand to take to work once or twice a year. This maintains the novelty of the chocolate, keeps students safe from door-to-door selling and works. We worked with over 30,000 schools last year and everyone enjoys and embraces a World’s Finest Chocolate bar once or twice a year. To that end, anytime is a good time for a World’s Finest Chocolate fundraiser.
Here’s a few examples of some fundraising successes from 2017-2018:
Primary school - $7000 in 10 days (they actually ran out of chocolate after 3 days).
Elementary school - $7250 in 14 days. They sent boxes home over Thanksgiving and ordered 100 more upon return.
Middle schools - several middle schools exceeded $9000 in 15 days.
Middle school band - $15,000 in 15 days. Music programs deliver some of the strongest fundraisers across the country.
High school groups - There are over 50 organizations in most High schools. Students need money to pay fees and participate in experiential trips. A chocolate consumable is exactly the same as soft drink or chips as it is sought out daily.
Churches - A church in a neighboring state raised $11,000 in 20 days.
Life skills - with every school kickoff we are able to interject fun & games and reinforce what our teachers teach daily. Intangibles like “attitude determines altitude,” delayed gratification, cheering for others and embracing failure are critical life lessons that students need to see professionals and mentors espousing. Sharing our life lessons and failures is much more powerful than acting as if our lives are without pain.
When I was a child my parents always said, “Nothing good happens after midnight!” While I often heard them say that it became very cliché. It was only when I heard a friends’ parents say it that my antenna went up and validated it.
What do you enjoy most about your chosen profession? Delivering what I say I can deliver. Working hard and playing hard!
What has been the biggest or most interesting challenge to overcome as a small business owner? Patience. It takes time to get your foot in the door. Getting 9-10 “no’s” per day can be discouraging. However, it makes one “yes” worth all the effort. Additionally, most everyone has sold World’s Finest Chocolate, so usually a light goes off and they recall their wonderful experience when they were young and look forward to selling it again
Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers? I’m local and proud of the 10 counties I have in Northwest Georgia. After moving away for over 20 years I believe I have great perspective and have a better heart to serve in our community. Please call or email me as I’d love to just get to know you and be on your radar whether you do a chocolate fundraiser or not.
Business name: World’s Finest Chocolate
Owner(s) name(s) and official title(s): Mike Nichols, Independent Sales Representative
Business Age: 1949, 69 years
How long have you owned it? 1 year
Business location: Home-based, Rome
Time at current location: 1 year
Previous location if moved in last year: Fulton County
Telephone and fax numbers: 404-680-0845
Number of employees: 1
Web site: worldsfinestchocolate.com
Hours (if open to the public): When schools are in session.
Email Address: firstname.lastname@example.org