Founded in 2009 in St. Johns, Florida, Body Water LLC is the brainchild of veteran Sherman Williams. After seeing fellow service members struggle with hydration while deployed, Williams took the steps to create a product to help others stay hydrated. Body Water is the second place winner in this round of Nav’s Small Business Grant, and took the time to answer some questions about their business.
What makes your business unique/different?
I have created the healthiest functional beverage in the world, that supports health and beauty, like no other beverage being sold, while being diabetic-friendly, kid-friendly and taste great.
What do you love most about your business/having your own business?
I love that my product helps people, and the testimonials prove that all my sacrifice, hard work and bias I’ve experienced has made it all worth the pain and hardships
What’s the most challenging thing about running the company?
Honestly being black in American in business, not entertainment has broken my hearts on the redlines, and hidden policies that contradict all that is said out loud and on paper regarding being fair with no bias to true support of an American that happens to be black in America.
What’s the biggest challenge your business is currently facing?
Discrimination towards getting the financial support required to be successful. For example I am currently have an approved SBA loan pending with Accion, but the process is now entering the 13thmonth of review, which I’ve still not been awarded the funds approved.
What’s the most rewarding thing about running the company?
Making a difference in the lives of everyone, who are misled regarding the need for electrolytes and importance of water. We can go 3 days without water, but we have replaced H2O with other forms that degrade our health, and no one really cares.
How did you get the money to start the company?
I didn’t get any financial support. I worked two extra jobs, while in the military to pay for my dream and cashed out my insurance policy as well.
How do you manage cash flow in the company?
I have a CFO who manages the cash flow, of the company regarding the need to attend tradeshows, to expand our reach to different industries seeking a healthier option with taste and purpose.
Have you used any form of financing (credit card, line of credit, business loan, etc.) for your business?
I was forced to utilize credit cards, after being redlined by every banking or financial industry I applied for regarding my business.
How will you be using the prize money from Nav?
The prize money is needed to survive, and make a difference. A product is obsolete without proper branding and marketing required to boost the awareness, and drive the demand.
What I’ve Learned
What’s the smartest thing you did when you were first starting out?
Focusing on being apart of Whole Foods Market, which would solidify my beverages worth, and credit worthiness of being healthy. I’m now sold in the South Region of Whole Foods (GA, NC, SC, MS, TN, AL) or can be requested at any whole foods in that region if not carried.
What advice would you give to a new entrepreneur?
You need faith when pursuing your dream or passion, when no one really cares. Trials and tribulations are apart of life, but within this life you will experience a different struggle if you’re a black American. This shouldn’t be the case but you have to ask yourself these three questions.
Will I be able to handle the discriminatory practices of the America I love?
Will this idea make a difference in society to help make changes in your community?
Will this idea compromise your morales or integrity, forgetting the struggles experienced by black Americans since 1600, but still present today?
What could your business do with $10,000? Check out Nav's Small Business Grant now to find out how your business could win interest-free financing.