Tiffany Johnson

Woman sitting on couch near plants

“It’s so important as a business owner to understand your cash flow. I think Business Blueprint has helped make that possible.”

Tiffany Johnson

Real Business Blueprint customer who was aware that their testimonial may be featured by American Express™.

Juicing up the community: One entrepreneur’s fresh-squeezed success story with American Express Business Blueprint™

Tiffany Johnson is a seasoned business leader in her community, renowned for her impact in helping underserved small business owners get on their feet. Over the last decade, she created a $150M Black Business Accelerator, founded her “eCom House” initiative to empower multicultural entrepreneurs, and joined the board of a Seattle-based nonprofit. Yet Johnson’s own entrepreneurial journey began in a setting far removed from all the boardrooms and corporate meetings.

“It all started at my community gym,” she recalls. “One day I was there with my mom, and I happened to be talking to her about how I should maybe start making juices again. And would you believe it: I looked over and there was a sign that said, ‘Juice Bar opportunity.’ It just felt like it was meant to be.”

Inspired by this unexpected sign, Johnson soon embarked with her husband on building the business of her dreams: Fresh Squeeze Juice Bar, a fusion of health, community spirit, and innovation based out of that very gym in Puyallup, Washington. Setting up was straightforward enough: She reached out to the location, provided her financial statements, and got approved for her first American Express Card, the Blue Business Plus Card. By June 2023, they were up and running. Just a few months after opening its doors, Fresh Squeeze has grown into much more than a spot for nutritious beverages: It’s a beacon of community engagement and youth mentorship.

“Our mission is about serving healthy drinks,” Johnson says proudly. “But we also want to enrich and empower. Community is deeply embedded in the work that we do.” Serving the seniors and millennials who frequent the gym, today she has five employees, several of whom she helps fund through the juice bar’s new scholarship program. The juice bar also participates in volunteer initiatives, including collaborations with organizations like a foundation for military families, reinforcing its commitment to giving back.

Harnessing American Express for business growth

The business’s relationship with American Express played a pivotal role in propelling Johnson’s venture forward. “We couldn’t have done this without our Cards,” she shares. American Express not only provided the financial flexibility necessary to jumpstart the juice bar; it also enabled Johnson to purchase the necessary equipment to meet health department standards. “I hadn’t realized how expensive commercial equipment could be,” she admits. “But now we’re revenue positive, and it’s thanks, in part, to our relationship with American Express.”

Despite this initial success, however, Johnson still faced a hurdle common to entrepreneurs: managing cash flow. Grasping the intricacies of money in and money out is vital for any business, especially for a growing one like Fresh Squeeze. Johnson realized that while she had the necessary capital to sustain her business, there was still a need for a more comprehensive solution to manage her finances effectively.

A powerful platform for managing cash flow

This is where American Express Business Blueprint™ came into the picture. Johnson discovered this free, online cash flow management platform at a conference she’d helped organize for Black leaders in e-commerce, at a critical moment when she was looking to optimize her business’s operations.

Designed to make cash flow management more efficient, Business Blueprint provides a single location where businesses can see a current snapshot of their account balances across their American Express products, like Business Cards and American Express® Business Checking. Customers can also link external business cards and bank accounts to the platform’s dashboard to get a more detailed picture of their expenses and revenue all in one place with a single login.

The platform became even more powerful when Johnson used the personalized cash flow insights. Expense alerts and account balance projections from the platform can help her anticipate future cash flow needs, which gives her time to plan for potential gaps. Plus, she can explore more American Express products that are designed to support the growth of small businesses like hers.

Johnson says, “Part of my plan was always to manage my cash flow a bit better and clean up my books.”

“Business Blueprint has really given us a solid overview of what’s coming into our business, and what’s going out,” she adds. “We can work backwards from there to refine a few of our processes.”

In addition to providing a comprehensive view of her cash flow, Johnson found another valuable use for Business Blueprint: optimizing her inventory management. A key challenge in the food and beverage industry is managing inventory costs effectively, a task that Johnson admits she once found mystifying. “One of my priorities was figuring out our spending on inventory in specific areas,” she explains. “I wanted to identify where we could cut costs without impacting our sales.”

Business Blueprint offered a solution through its detailed expense categorization. This feature allowed Johnson to analyze her expenses by different categories, giving her a deeper view of where the juice bar was allocating its funds. Now, she can strategically decrease overhead costs in certain areas without compromising the quality of her products or services.

“Business Blueprint helped us approach this challenge,” she explains. “So, we can maintain profitability while continuing to grow.”

Looking ahead, Johnson is optimistic about the future. She plans to explore other American Express products for small businesses. Tools like the American Express® Business Line of Credit can help fuel the next phase of growth for a business if they apply and are approved for a business line of credit. “There are some things that we are interested in doing to scale, like having our own retail supplements,” she says, “and we’re looking to do fresh meal prep for the gym community.”

Her journey behind the juice bar counter is a testament to the power of passion, hard work, and strategic partnerships. With the continued support of American Express and the insights provided by Business Blueprint, it is clear Johnson’s business has plenty of fruit yet to bear.

Business Facts

Year Established: 2023
Industry Type: Food and Beverage
Location: Seattle
Number of Employees: 5
American Express Member Since: 2023

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