USA Weekly: Interview with Paul Ballard, Principal Owner at Ballard Brands and PJ’s Coffee of New Orleans


USA Weekly: Interview with Paul Ballard, Principal Owner at Ballard Brands and PJ’s Coffee of New Orleans

Jan 20, 2018 

Starting a business is a big achievement for many entrepreneurs, but maintaining one is the larger challenge. There are many standard challenges that face every business whether they are large or small. It is not easy running a company, especially in a fast-paced, ever-changing business world. Technology advances, new hiring strategies, and now, political changes coming with the new administration, all add to the existing business challenges that entrepreneurs, business owners, and executives have to deal with. Maximizing profits, minimizing expenses and finding talented staff to keep things moving seem to be top challenges for both SMBs and large corporations. We have been interviewing companies from around the world to discover what challenges they are facing in their businesses. We also asked each company to share business advice they would give to a younger version of themselves.

Below is our interview with Paul Ballard, Principal Owner at Ballard Brands and PJ’s Coffee of New Orleans:

What does your company do?

We are a gourmet coffeehouse franchise that demonstrates better beans, superior roasting techniques, and pure passion for the art of coffee-making matter. We craft drinks in the specialty coffee segment, both hot and cold beverages and are most well-known for our Cold Brew coffee that we’ve been making since the founder, Phyllis Jordan, perfected back in the late 70’s. We have franchise owners internationally and domestically. There are over 90 national and international PJ’ Coffee locations. We slow roast and grind our coffee beans in small batches to guarantee freshness, and have adopted the El Terrerito Farm in Honduras. The farm is supported by 26 families who work on the farm and harvest Arabica coffee plants. PJ’s Coffee has developed programs to ensure a higher-quality of life for Honduran farmers, while minimizing its environmental footprint. We are a brand that looks to constant innovation on what beverages are in demand.

What is your role? What do you enjoy most about your role?

I am one of 3 brothers who are the principal owners of Ballard Brands, the parent company of PJ’s Coffee of New Orleans. I’ve been with the company for 23 years now. Other than being passionate about coffee, I enjoy the sense of family community with our franchisees and our corporate support team the most. The family dynamic we get to share with each other in our work environment is the most important ingredient in our recipe for success within our business, and it is the most gratifying one. People want to come to work every day. They want to be there, and they want to give 100%in every task related to supporting every franchisee, not because they have to. Being one of the reasons that our team has a place like that to go to every day is the most satisfactory feeling for a CEO or President of any company.”

What are the biggest challenges in your business right now?

Our current situation as far as challenges are concerned is probably one of the BEST challenges an owner can have. Because PJ’s Coffee is quickly expanding more and more into new territories and breaking ground in new markets everywhere, it is creating a demand for us to grow our corporate infrastructure to accommodate the franchisees support requirements. That being said, we don’t just hire anyone to join our corporate support team. We have a standard as to who is in the eyes and ears of our franchisee partners out there looking to succeed with our brand. Our hiring process is very tedious in being sure that all the new team members who get onboard with us is just as committed as we are to maintaining our company culture and shares our company vision as enthusiastically as we do.

If you could go back in time, what business advice would you give to a younger version of yourself?

I’d advise myself to spend less time participating in, and conducting meetings to allow more time to dedicate to productivity. I would tell myself to listen more to my inner instincts in certain cases, and put more time into strategic planning. Most importantly, I would advise myself to place more focus on celebrating the successes and not hang on to the failures so much. I feel as though I learned so much from all the trials and errors and successes in my younger years in business, I wouldn’t change much as far as the risks taken to get where I am today.


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