Small Business Entrepreneur BBQs for Success

Before launching RowdyDow bbQ in 2007, Angela Keaveny knew she was destined to start her own business. Today, almost four years later, her idea has evolved from a 25 year-old family favorite to a recipe gaining national consuming success.

“While I had an idea, I didn’t have a plan or strategy that could develop it into a business,” Angela says. Her initial learning process “involved at least a thousand phone calls and dozens of meetings” to move from concept to business. “I didn’t know what I didn’t know.”

 Initially Angela assumed she would sell RowdyDow bbQ directly to consumers using social media as the primary connection. However, as she researched food and business issues, she realized that she should work with experienced food service distributors and management companies that would help her take it to market.

RowdyDow bbQ is now in restaurants, bars, casinos and other venues in greater Chicagoland, Wisconsin and Virginia where Angela’s family originally developed and nurtured the recipe. It’s served at concessions inside Chicago’s Soldier Field during Chicago Bears football games and at Chicago’s Shedd Aquarium. Consumers can also  find it online – fully seasoned, smoked, sauced, porked, and packaged bbQ that’s ready to heat and eat.

 “It has,” as Angela explains, “the look and feel of true southern bbQ, slow smoked pork, chopped and ‘kissed’ with a vinegar sauce but with a sweet twist. It’s kind of like the best of the south meets Kansas City.”

Before launching RowdyDow bbQ, Angela’s career includes being a teacher, technology pro and stockbroker, the job she stayed at for a few years while establishing her new business. “I didn’t really appreciate what it takes to start your own business…the time and due diligence.” Angela says. “I just keep moving forward as we focus on our goal of being recognized nationally as the best-selling BBQ brand.”

Like other entrepreneurs, Angela is not only learning about the complexities of business ownership but also about what motivates her. 

 “I wanted to control my own destiny and help people, my employees and our community.” In the process, Angela more fully appreciates her tenacity, her love of connecting with people and her ability take an idea to the next level. “I have a better understanding of my tolerance for risk and my boundaries. I accept what I’m not good at, I’m finding my comfort level, and I appreciate myself and my potential.”

 What about her family, particularly her father, whose interest and ongoing experimentation with BBQ created the recipe? “Dad was excited that we’re taking it to the next generation. My family and friends have been extremely supportive and weren’t surprised that I have the entrepreneurial spirit.” Angela says. “Their encouragement is great and motivating.”

If you are wondering how the family BBQ recipe became “RowdyDow,” well, it’s a real word that means “hubbub or uproar.”

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