From Entrepreneur to Engaged Community Advocate
Entrepreneur Bincy Teodorescu discusses how her no-fear mindset has helped her launch successful businesses and become a financial resource for the community around her.
0:00:06.5 Lynne Jarman-Johnson: Money, I’m Home! Welcome in, I’m Lynne Jarman-Johnson with Consumers Credit Union. From finance to fitness, we have it all. And today we are featuring another one of our awesome business members. We love to bring you stories of success, but also stories of people who have really put their all back into the community. Today we’re talking with Bincy Teodorescu, and she is an entrepreneur, a financial advisor, a business owner, and a community advocate. Bincy, thank you so much for being with us today.
0:00:35.6 Bincy Teodorescu: Thank you, it’s nice to be here.
0:00:37.5 LJJ: So you know something Bincy, I love following you on Facebook, because you have so many positive posts about all of the different things that you’re involved in. Let’s start from the beginning. Tell us a little bit about you and what your passions are right now.
0:00:53.7 BT: Right from the beginning, I was a single mom and pivoted from a pre-med program to computer engineering, worked in that field for five years, and then decided that I wanted to own my own business and really, it was based out of a need. My daughter was struggling in school, and I wanted to help her. And I started doing some research, and she found the program that I have very helpful, and after a few months of being a student there… My daughter being a student there, I would learn that… I don’t know, I have a business sense and I just said to myself, “I could do this, and I could do a better job than this.” [chuckle] Yeah and one day, at night, I was online searching more about the program that I was involved with, and on the bottom right, it said, “franchise opportunity is available.” I clicked on it, submitted my name, and within a day or so, they reached out to me and said, “You have to take a test before we could talk to you.” And so I have to go to Detroit, took a test, pass, and then started the training program with them. And the financial commitment at the time was pretty low, so I cashed out my 401(k) to start this business. Not recommend as a financial advisor, but the return on that investment has been pretty phenomenal, so I’m not going to complain.
0:02:14.9 LJJ: So that program is called what?
0:02:16.8 BT: Kumon.
0:02:17.8 LJJ: So, Kumon, and you’re still running Kumon?
0:02:21.3 BT: Yeah, yup. 16 years now.
0:02:24.4 LJJ: 16 years! Your daughter is doing phenomenally well.
0:02:28.1 BT: She’s doing well, yeah. Yup.
0:02:29.9 LJJ: Oh, my goodness. Congrats, Bincy.
0:02:31.5 BT: Thanks, thanks.
0:02:32.1 LJJ: You know when you look at what has happened with COVID and the world of education right now, has that increased people’s interest in Kumon? Has it increased people’s interest in online learning? And what’s the difference?
0:02:46.8 BT: So, our program is actually a very paper and pencil program. I found it a little bit challenging to administer it in the beginning, but what we did was, because of COVID, we really had to pivot. We couldn’t have the students in-house anymore. So what we did was, one of my assistants stayed back and worked, and she processed the work for the students. Families would pick up the work from the center…
0:03:10.4 LJJ: Oh, my goodness.
0:03:12.0 BT: Yeah, we did that throughout. So, we never had a down month. Then I would and my staff would do Zoom calls for students that were struggling. The families that didn’t struggle, they were fine, they said, “We’re fine, we can handle it.” But the families that had children that were working two to three years about grade level, they needed more coaching and five, six of us stayed on Zoom and worked our behinds off. [chuckle]
0:03:40.8 LJJ: And that’s, I think, the greatest fear right now is the falling behind, that I think now is even a bigger fear due to the fact that some people are not… It’s just not in their nature or talents to be able to learn online; it’s a different way of learning, as you just said.
0:03:58.1 BT: It is, and I don’t know if we’re going to see the immediate consequences of it, but I think longer term, a year of learning and a year of solid learning is being missed, and the families that stayed with our program, the kids are actually a year above grade level right now.
0:04:16.9 LJJ: Wow, Bincy, that’s great, congratulations.
0:04:19.9 BT: Thank you, yeah. So, there’s two mindsets when it comes to parenting, right? There’s the reactive mindset and the proactive mindset. And the families that are proactive reached out, found extra help and online or whatever, and the reactive mindset is kind of waiting to see what’s going to happen. And I’m a very proactive mother, and I want to encourage all parents to think a little bit differently because teachers can only do so much.
0:04:50.8 LJJ: Absolutely.
0:04:51.6 BT: There’s only so much. Yeah.
0:04:53.6 LJJ: So, what else have you got on your plate?
0:04:56.2 BT: When COVID happened, I was actually quite nervous because I didn’t know how the tutoring center was going to do, and I had switched my financial advising practice to a different firm on February 1st, and…
0:05:10.8 LJJ: Oh, my goodness, and then the hammer comes down in March.
0:05:14.8 BT: Yeah, and I was just basically onboarding, learning the system. I’m an independent agent, so I have access to a lot of companies, and I was just understanding the process when this happened. And then I was like, “You know what, I’m done. There’s no way I’m going to survive in this business,” because now we’re all at home, and any time I needed the help… I needed any help, I had to reach out to people, and I didn’t even know who to reach out to. It was really nerve-wracking, but it ended up that I did really well because I just said, “I’m just not going to let this stop me.” So, I just started researching, studying, trying to find all the right people to help me. So, the financial advising practice kind of stabilized, and I was writing business and helping people. I did a lot of coaching, the first few months. I did financial coaching for the first three months, heavily. And then, I believe in September an opportunity came my way to become a franchise owner for a Big Apple Bagel franchise, and Ben and Joy became my partners.
0:06:23.6 BT: I actually met Ben and Joy over Zoom at a biz networking event. He reached out to me and he said, “I need to talk to you. You’re in the financial space. I would love to have some coaching.” So, we met one week. Decided that I was going to help them. The following week he reached out to me and said, “Bincy, would you sit down with me? I’m going to talk to a Big Apple Bagel franchise owner. He’s looking to retire.” And I said, “No promises. My weeks are booked.” For some reason, that Friday afternoon when I was supposed to meet him, my day just got cleared up. And I said, “I’ll stop by, Ben.” And we talked and negotiated and got a really good deal on a franchise.
0:07:08.3 LJJ: So here we are in the middle of a pandemic, in the middle of a time when many restaurant owners are so… facing a… such a struggle. And you are going, “We’re all in. We’re jumping in.” That is incredible.
0:07:26.9 BT: Yeah. I was not necessarily looking to open up a business, or partner up, at the time. But one thing I know is that you always look for opportunities. And a lot of us are very fearful and don’t make decisions because we’re always afraid, what could go wrong, right? And for some reason, I don’t have that in me. I am the type of person that’s like, “Okay. If it goes wrong, it’s okay. I learned. I’m going to move on.” So, I just have a really different mindset. I’m not a fear-based person. It can get me into trouble sometimes.
0:08:12.1 LJJ: I tell you, for us and our community, we cannot thank you enough for jumping in with both feet. Because your focus is always on helping, Bincy. It’s always on being that servant leader. And that’s something that Consumers pride so much. And we’re so happy to help you, too, through business partnerships that we have with you. And I just wanted to say thanks, and just love hearing your story.
0:08:37.7 BT: Well, it was so helpful. You guys did a fantastic job with the Big Apple Bagel onboarding process. We literally had three weeks to get everything together. And November 1st, ownership takeover happened.
0:08:54.4 LJJ: Just like that.
0:08:54.8 BT: Literally just like that. Customers didn’t know. No one knew. Everything, from business licenses to insurance to banking accounts to merchant services, all needed to be set up in a very short period of time. It kept me busy.
0:09:11.3 LJJ: Our business team can’t thank you enough for trusting in us, too. So thank you, Bincy.
0:09:17.1 BT: Yeah. Really, really appreciate it. Yeah, I’m excited about the partnership and I know it’s going to be a long-term relationship.
0:09:24.9 LJJ: Bagels in everyone’s future, people.
0:09:26.9 LJJ: Okay. Thank you so much, Bincy. Hey, I’m Lynne Jarman-Johnson. “Money, I’m Home” with Consumers Credit Union. Jake Esselink, thank you so much for your production skills. We hope everybody has a great week. And if you have a great story like Bincy’s that you’d like to share or help us learn about, please send them our way. “Money, I’m Home” with Consumers Credit Union.