This month we’re putting the spotlight on Sprouts Kids Play / Music & Art, a Brandon, FL, area early childhood activity center owned by Janine Chapuis. Sprouts provides a safe, clean, and child-friendly environment for families with small children that fosters confidence and socialization skills. Parents and care-givers are an integral part of each and every class. Sprouts does not focus on finish products or grades, but instead celebrates daily successes and seeing each child grow in his or her own way.
Wife of an architectural professional and mother to three energetic children, 9, 7 and 4, Janine found inspiration to purchase Sprouts from its previous owner in her children. As Sprouts clients, Janine and her family were comfortable with the Sprouts message and brand identity and became the proud owners of their own small business. Sprouts was in existence for eight years before Janine purchased it and is now entering its eleventh year, working towards another eleven! With expanded programs, including Sprouts on the Road’ where the Sprouts program is brought to residential communities, Sprouts continues to grow.
Did you always want to go into business for yourself?
There was not a set goal to go into business for myself. However, I wanted to help our household finances grow. I needed a career which met my schedule, including dropping off and picking the kids up from school and kept our family’s quality of life. This meant considering careers with evening hours or Sunday hours were out. Purchasing a company which allowed me to do these things made the most sense.
What spurred you to buy Sprouts?
Sprouts presented itself as a great opportunity. I believe in the core of the Sprouts mission, and it allowed me to use the skills and experience I have as a mom – to help develop children into well-rounded, confident young people.
Were there times when you second-guessed your decision?
I am not sure second-guess is the right phrase. There have been times when things have not gone as planned or something took a turn we were not expecting; but, overall, the reasons we bought Sprouts are still as true as ever.
Things need to be kept in perspective. One bad hour or day or week does not define who we are. This is a long-term commitment, which will have peaks and valleys. Reminding ourselves of that is important.
What has been the most fulfilling part of owning Sprouts?
Sprouts is a great program that enables families with young children to connect with each other. When mothers and fathers sit with their children and create unique art collaboratively, or children work together in a group and build confidence, I take great pride in the fact that I helped that happen.
What has been the hardest part?
There is an ever-present intensity to owning a small business. As the owner, you are likely at the center of most decisions and are included at every level of the company profile. Finding time to take a moment for a breath is challenging but necessary.
What advice do you have for other would-be entrepreneurs?
Make sure you believe in the mission of your company. You need something to hang your hat on when times get tough or when things don’t go as planned.
What is your most important consideration when it comes to day-to-day business operations?
We strive every day to strengthen the Sprouts brand and to show people who we are. That means evaluating our current programs, considering new programs, and how all of these things support our Mission.
What three traits do you think an entrepreneur needs to be successful?
Creativity – Always think of new way to be stronger and grow.
Tenacity – Owning a business is not for someone who wants to be 9:00-5:00. Know that the late and long hours will pay off.
Self-Critical – Know how to judge yourself. Know that your skills may not always be the answer, and you may need to seek out help.
Thanks to Janine for this unique perspective on what it is like to own and operate a small business like Sprouts. Her insight reminds us all that passion is most often at the core of the most successful entrepreneurial endeavors.