Anyone who knows me knows that I’m a successful entrepreneur. When I was a teenager I did shirtless yard work for some of the hotter moms in my neighborhood. Picture one of the sultry hunks you’ve seen on your Aunt’s romance novels, take his hands and his hair (if he had a flat-top) and put them on a bronzed Jerry Lewis, but with a better voice. I was hurling rocks, hauling dirt, maybe pouring water over my head here and there just to keep things interesting. I couldn’t get insurance, because according to the insurance companies, my business was “too hot” to handle. At least that’s what I knew they would say. Didn’t matter. Insurance is for people who believe something bad will happen to them. And that is what I call a “failure mindset.”
Then I started a window cleaning business a couple years ago. It had revenue well into the four figures within the first year. No Google, but still a pretty big deal.
So given my experience with starting businesses, I thought it might be helpful to do a few lessons on the topic of how to start and run a business for any aspiring entrepreneurs out there.
Decide what kind of business you want to have. Starting a business is about one thing:
If you have Passion for something, you can “PASS” “It” “ON” to other people. Then you will have a successful business. Brainstorm about what you are Passionate about. For example, me personally, I love sharks and chocolate. Ok, let’s go with those. Now we’ll use something we in business call “The Process of Elimination” to decide which idea is the best. Sharks are notoriously hard to work with and it’s hard to find buyers with the necessary martial arts background to handle them, at least the big ones, so let’s do chocolate. Chocolate, chocolate, hmm, what’s a business with chocolate I could do? Make chocolate? No, Hershey’s and Switzerland are already doing that. They have a “niche” on that market already, if you will. That’s fine. How about building things with chocolate? That might work in colder climates, like North Dakota and Russia, but it would melt in most places. Also, even in cold climates, chocolate is generally weaker than steel and wood and might not pass the building codes. Ok, don’t get DISCOURAGED because that would be a “DIS” to your “COURAGE”. How about making bumper stickers with chocolate jokes on them? Hmm, don’t jump right into it. Analyze it for a second…
Ok, I love it. I’ve always been a big fan of chocolate humor.
The next step is to name your business:
Ok, so I’m going to do chocolate humor bumper stickers. What should we name the company? It’s best to come up with a play on words here, or to spell it uniquely. For example, if you were an animal psychologist specializing in cats, you could name your practice Serious Susan’s Lame Cat Counseling Business, LLC, but that’s boring, and even if you’re the best cat shrink in the world no one will bring their kitty to you. You can step it up a notch by naming it Crazy Cats, which is better, but people won’t notice your billboard at 70 mph because it is the 12th time that day that they have seen those two words spelled exactly that same old way. But if you do Krazee Katzz!!! people are going to notice. You can also use any special qualifications you have in the name. So it might be Krazee Katzz, Ph.D!!! or Lance’s Blue Tooth Fitting, G.E.D.
So, what do we name our chocolate humor company. How about Coca Confessional or DBC (Death By Chocolate)? Uh oh. Hold on… Yep, I have it. Sinful Snickers. Snickers is a type of chocolate and also a type of laugh, which is a word play, which lets customers know the company is run by college grads. Let’s raise the ante a bit; Sinfl Snickerz. That’s the one.
Stay tuned for Lesson 2…