Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Drivers Behind Growing Demand for Organic Food in the United States

In addition to his prolific fundraising activities that have generated more than $100 million for numerous charities, Neal Zeavy supports new businesses as an angel investor. In 2016, Neal Zeavy invested in Nic’s Organic Fast Food, one of the first fast-food chains offering 100 percent organic produce. 

According to Nielsen data on organic products, organic food sales in the United States reached more than 20 billion dollars in 2018, a nine-percent increase year over year. Interest in organic products has become more mainstream as more consumers consider factors such as sustainability and ethical sourcing when making purchases. The demand for organically-grown fruits and vegetables is particularly high amongst Millennials, who are more environmentally-conscious about their food choices. 

The largest segment of organic food customers are concerned about the pesticides or toxins in conventionally-grown produce but are not deeply knowledgeable on organic farming practices. Most members of this consumer segment rely on organic certification labels administered by the USDA to make purchasing decisions. More sophisticated consumers may prefer to buy organic produce from small, locally-run farms.

Monday, April 15, 2019

Nic’s Organic Fast Food in Chicago

Fundraiser and serial entrepreneur Neal Zeavy serves as the head of development of Nic’s Organic Fast Food, a restaurant that he also co-owns. Neal Zeavy has been instrumental in the restaurant's expansion to several strategic locations in Chicago.

In 2017, the first Nic’s Organic Fast Food opened in Rolling Meadows after receiving certification from Quality Assurance International, an agency accredited by the US Department of Agriculture to verify organic standards of food. Since that time, Nic’s Organic Fast Food has opened two additional locations, one at Woodfield Mall in Schaumburg and the other in The Loop in downtown Chicago. The restaurant will open its fourth location soon in Evanston. 

Everything on Nic’s Organic Fast Food menu, from burgers and fries to ice cream, is made from organic ingredients that are sourced locally. Customers can also order online and request delivery through Postmates, Ritual, or Uber Eats. Within the next three years, Nic’s Organic Fast Food plans to open 50 locations in major cities in Arizona, Colorado, California, Florida, Massachusetts, New York, and Oregon.

Friday, April 12, 2019

Three Tips for Starting a Business with a Side Hustle

Neal Zeavy is the co-owner of Nic’s Organic Fast Food, a certified-organic restaurant with a drive-through and delivery services in Chicago. Mr. Zeavy also manages Zeavy Development, a commercial real estate firm that acquires and develops properties across the United States. Neal Zeavy enjoys being an entrepreneur and exploring new business opportunities in different industries.

While being a full-time entrepreneur has its perks, not everyone is brave enough to leave their job, risk losing their savings, and start from scratch. A good way to test the waters and see if you have a future in entrepreneurship is by starting a “side hustle,” a (usually) part-time job on the side. Here are three tips for building a successful business from a side hustle:

1. Treat the side hustle as a functioning business.

A side hustle is a business and not a hobby. Even if you have a full-time job, the best way to gain traction on your side hustle is to set specific and measurable goals and create a detailed plan of execution. Set aside a number of hours a day or week to devote your time and energy to the side hustle, and stick to your schedule. 

2. Test the product or service with a small targeted audience.

Find out how a few targeted customers will respond to your product or service before you invest more money, time, and energy into it. Use the customers’ feedback to improve your offering. The sooner you can create a product or service that solves customers’ problems, the better your chance of success.

3. Spend money on resources based on demand.

Hiring people and buying supplies in anticipation of demand can set you back financially. Study the growth of your business and spend money only when you have customers who will pay for the product or service.

Monday, March 25, 2019

Three Signs Your Business Is Ready to Expand

Serial entrepreneur Neal Martin Zeavy divides his time among several executive-level positions, including as the president of not only Zeavy Development, but also NZ Consulting. More recently, Neal Zeavy joined Nic’s Organic Fast Food as an angel investors and a co-owner. The first certified organic fast food restaurant in the United States, this Illinois-based company plans to expand to California and New York.

Below are three signs your business is ready for expansion:

1. You have loyal customers. No matter what you are selling, a steady flow of customers indicates that there is a steady demand for your product. These customers not only reward your business with a recurring revenue source, but they also promote stability and are a great indicator that you’re ready to grow. Customers may also be requesting that you open another location, thus reassuring you that the successful expansion of your business is highly probable.

2. You need extra space. As your company grows, you will need more workers and space to accommodate growing demand. This is great, but it may result in your current space being too small for your operations. If you find that you are bursting at the seams to handle your current volume, it’s time to consider expanding to an additional location to balance the demand.

3. You’ve enjoyed steady profits. Businesses sometimes experience sudden surges in profits. While this isn’t necessarily bad, a brief increase in profits does not automatically mean you should expand. Instead, make sure you’ve been enjoying steady profits for at least three years before adding another location. Since these profits are more long term, they are more indicative that your business model is working and that you’ll be capable of recreating it elsewhere.

Monday, March 18, 2019

Commercial Real Estate Trends to Watch for in 2019

Neal Martin Zeavy is a co-owner of, and an angel investor in, Nic’s Organic Fast Food, the first certified organic fast food company in the United States. Additionally, Neal Zeavy serves as the president of NZ Consulting and Zeavy Development, the latter of which acquires and develops commercial real estate around the country.

For those involved in the commercial real estate industry, 2019 will bring plenty of new challenges and opportunities. Following are just a few of these expected trends:

- Brick and mortar will grow in popularity. In recent years, many brick and mortar stores have fallen into obscurity. While larger retailers may continue to go out of business, brick and mortar stores will grow in popularity in 2019 due to the increasing practice of online companies moving into retail spaces.

- Federal Reserve will make things harder. Shortly after the recession, the Fed began buying up bonds to increase the money in the market and drive commercial real estate investment. While it still hopes to maintain economic stability, the Fed will start selling its bonds at attractive rates. In turn, this will leave less money for real estate investing. At the same time, the Fed plans on increasing interest rates for investors, a practice that’s echoed by many Wall Street and other central banks.

- Suburbia will see more millennials. As an increasing number of millennials reach their 30s, they are showing more of an interest to live in suburban areas. As they shift, trendy retailers and other entities will move with them in an effort to attract talent and reduce rent costs.

- Opportunity zone programs will increase. In 2018, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act created what’s known as the Opportunity Zone program, which promotes economic development in underserved communities by offering developers a large tax break for building in such areas. In 2019, the number of these programs will likely increase.

Monday, February 25, 2019

Fast Food Gone Organic

Monday, February 11, 2019

A Few Common Metrics Observed in Commercial Real Estate Investment

Neal Zeavy, a serial entrepreneur based in Seattle, Washington, serves as an angel investor and co-owner of Nic’s Organic Fast Food, the nation’s first certified organic fast food restaurant. Beyond this, Neal Zeavy also serves as the president of NZ Consulting, a raffle fundraising consulting business, and of Zeavy Development, a commercial real estate development and investment company with properties in states such as Illinois, Virginia, Missouri, and Maryland.

When investing in real estate, there are multiple financial metrics that investors will come across. One of the most common metrics used in commercial real estate investing is net operating income (NOI). This metric is an essential part of real estate investments since it includes the total annual income generated by a property, including rent, parking, and laundry. The property’s operating expenses are subtracted from this income, which gives investors an idea of how much a property generates after operating costs are covered.

The capitalization, or cap, rate is another common metric in commercial real estate investment. Responsible for determining the value of an income-producing property, the cap rate is created by dividing annual NOI by the current value of the property. Investors use this metric to find a good average between nearby properties and to figure out what their potential returns will be in the future. Normally, investors prefer high cap rates since they are associated with higher returns on investment.

Finally, there is the cash on cash return (CoC) metric. One of the easiest metrics to generate, CoC, also shortened as CCR, measures the ratio between the down payment of a property and its annual cash flow. With the CoC metric, investors can project the return on their investment.