Hear From a Supply Chain Expert

Hello All! After hearing from Benjamin Warnisake in my first article with all things brand, I decided to switch it up a bit and hear from the supply chain specialist. She took a more calculated approach that was a nice contrast to our previous entrepreneur. Take a look at what Maribel Quezada founder of Repair Café had to say in her interview bellow!

Interview with Maribel Quezada
1. What are the top 5 applications you use the most? 
Most of my clients still use Microsoft Office Suite so the basics are Microsoft Word and Excel. The others are Expensify, Xero, and the emails (i.e., Repair Café private email and gmail although I am moving away from it).

2. When you really need to focus and get work done, what do you do? 
Getting my brain “into the zone” is crucial. If possible, I find a small conference room or small meeting space and give myself one to two hours to complete the most critical part of the project. Thereafter, I can work just about anywhere by putting on ear buds and tuning out the noise.

3. What does a typical week look like? 
I just did an Anchor broadcast on preparing for each day and preparing for a project so that was a good Segway into this question. Every morning begins with a review of each projects’ timelines and any looming deadlines. I have a S.C.R.U.M. and project management mind-set and like to understand what I need to accomplish by the end of the day first thing in the morning, and I like to ensure that whoever I am working with has the same understanding so that we are working toward the same goals. Next, I review parked emails from the night, as well as reviewing the new ones from that day. Everything urgent is immediately addressed; the others are relegated to calendar items or tasks for later review. Telephone calls are made to address burning issues, check in on projects or set up meetings. I try to schedule conference calls for mid-morning so that I have freedom of movement to travel to meetings, as necessary. I set time aside at the end of the day to respond to emails rather than multi-tasking throughout the day because I find that I am more productive if I am focused.

4. What book should other entrepreneurs ensure they have read?
I recommend “Losing My Virginity” by Richard Branson for inspiration and articulating the value of branding, and "The Effective Executive" by Peter Drucker for emphasizing the importance of the time management and working toward common goals.

5. Any podcasts or TV shows you suggest for your fellow entrepreneurs?
“The Entrepreneur Effect” on cranberry.fm, “Scully/The World Show” on PBS, and my podcast on Anchor called “Bel’s Bigly Ideas,” which discusses my experiences as a new entrepreneur and supply chain and operations management consultant focusing on start-ups and small businesses.

6. What helps you be your most productive in a day?
Setting time aside for specific tasks and not getting side-tracked. Twitter is a huge distraction for me because it is primarily how I get world news these days, as well as how I undertake a certain amount of outreach, but I close the app and only go back to it when I am at an official stopping point.

7. What other Chicago groups or associations have you found useful?
From a foundational standpoint, I found The SCORE Association “Counselors to America’s Small Business” useful, but once I filed the paperwork and became a legal entity, I realized I needed to get out the word on my own. I have a long history of corporate work experience so using social media for branding, personal or otherwise, is a fairly new concept. Only recently I have been working with Freelancer’s Union, The Entrepreneur Workshop, and Chicago Startup Founder 101, as well as many of my LinkedIn contacts to move things along.

8. Using just 3 words, what piece of advice would you give to a new entrepreneur? 
Remain Open-Minded