Monday, January 2, 2012

Brainstorming New Ideas and Starting a New Business (in under 30 minutes)

Brainstorming and creating a business over a cup of coffee:

Hey all, I know I haven't posted much during the holiday season, but I'm back in the swing of things now.Just yesterday I had a simple idea for a business structure, and I thought I would share with you all how I was able to bring it from simple idea so working business in about 30 minutes to an hour. The steps are fairly simple, but many people are too afraid to follow through with them. Therefore, the first thing I'll do here is abolish any type of fears that you may have.

  1. you won't lose money unless youinvest money: its very seldom that someone is sued due to a badbusiness structure. Its common if you start a multi million dollarbehemoth and don't hire a CPA, but If you're running a sock storeand someone decides that your socks aren't socky enough and sues youfor it, you can only be sued for the value of the socks (betterknows as a RETURN) moral of the story: accept returns and stay outof food service.
  2. People want to buy things from youin good faith: if you offer a money back guarantee, then people willuse it IF THEY NEED TO, people don't want to be sleaze balls,especially to a small business owner, that unamiercan, I've had manyproducts with money back guarantees, and you know how many peoplehave leveraged this option? Zero.Don't worry about the money back,but give it to people, because they like security. Also, if someoneis on the fence about a product, telling them that they can returnit if they don’t like it for a full refund is usually a hugeincentive.
  3. It's not sinful to make moneyeasily. People should be able to start small businesses and make acouple dollars on the side guilt free if they so desire. Giving it ashot, figuring it out and letting everything fall into place as youwork out the bumps is not something to be scorned for. My wifeconstantly hates on me for my “get rich quick schemes” which Idon't understand, as I was under the impression that one had to paymoney to some plaid suit wearing freak and then call a disconnectednumber for weeks for it to be a get rich quick scheme, but Idigress.Now that I'm showing (small) returns on some of my ideas,she's little more quiet, don't worry about haters.
Now that that is off all of our chests, lets talk about the semantics of starting a small, product based business in under 30 minutes.

  1. Brainstorm ideas for products.Think about three different things here IN THIS ORDER: Who is mytarget Market, what do they want to buy, and why will they pay forit? This is very important. Start with a market you are wither apart of (the best) or you understand. A 40 year old man sellingshoes for new moms that is successful is a fluke at best, don't fallfor it.If you like soccer, sell soccer stuff, if you like skiing,sell skiing stuff. Then think of a product that is hard to find orof low quality and target that. Find a need and cover it.
  2. Test for current availability onGoogle. Type in as many different permutations you can think of forfinding the product on Google. If the front page is filled withsites that cater to that item, forget about it. If not, continue.
  3. Find the product for sale fromwholesalers here area few options, my favorites are on top
  4. Set up a free open bid for theitem on eBay. This is a test bid, to see if people will pay areasonable price for your product. Generally you want to look for a3-5 times markup, to help with bulk payment and shipping fees(especially if its coming from china) but 2-4 can work depending onprice of the product.
  5. Invest or divest based on interestand numbers. If the price is good, go, if not, back to step one.
  6. Creates a website on www.webs.comwith the following parts
    1. product
    2. testimonials
    3. blog
    4. money back guarantees
  7. Set up payment through Paypal.Just follow the steps.
And there you have it folks, how I started a small business in my underwear on new years day.I'll have the website public after I finish testing, but it looks promising! Wish me luck.  

Monday, December 19, 2011

Still Working!

Although the restaurant has met its untimely demise thanks in large part to the personal problems of the owner, I am still working hard toward my CPA certification. This next semester will mark the end of my college career, and I will officially have the 150 credits necessary to be a Certified Public Accountant!

In other news, I'm currently looking into some new Internet businesses to start up. Speed reading is selling off and on, but I'm hoping to find something else that will be even more lucrative. My initial idea needed quite a bit of capital to start up, and I'll need to back burner it. I have the patents and blueprints, so I'm almost ready to get into production, once the money shows up.

In all, I'm still giving advice to my clients, for a fee of course, and studying for the CPA exam keeps my quite busy. I'll write more as it comes up. til next time.

Monday, November 28, 2011

The Barbecue joint is closing down...

Tough day for us hustlers...

Day started off with my laptop breaking (NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!) then as i proceed to use my wife's laptop, i drop it and BREAK THE SCREEN! rrrg.

afterwards, the owner calls me and tells me the barbecue joint has got to go. I'm not suprised. here are the mistakes made:

1. he attempted to open a business with no market testing.
2. he was trying to create demand instead of fulfilling a demand people already had.

two biggest and most common mistakes in business.

In other news: the free time I'll have now allows me to properly study for the CPA exam! I might be the only person alive excited to study for the CPA exam.... call me strange...

til next time.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

And the speed reading course starts selling!

2 sales in one week with no marketing. Don't understand it... Oh well.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

HBS MBA for $200, and Another Meeting With My Client.

Hey all,
Currently reading the Intelligent Entrepreneur, which is a storybook about 3 Harvard Business School Graduates who went on to create their own businesses, mostly during the dot com boom of the 90's. This book also has another interesting tool: it documents some of the more important things that Harvard Business School students cover in their classes, and why they all go on to get such high-paying, high class jobs. I've beaten it down to these items:

1. cover 3-4 case studies about different businesses every week (you can actually buy the same case studies that HBS uses on their website)
2. HBS students are forced to become friends with other super successful HBS students and alumni thanks to their rigorous schedule that FORCES them to stay together almost 24/7.
3. They all took their 2-3 week breaks and hassled the CEO's of some of the largest and most powerful business consulting and investment banking firms and DEMANDED that they were given a 2 week internsip.

So, in light of this information, which clears up the HBS magic of creating millionares, I have developed what I like to call my $200 MBA;

1. Buy their case studies and read them, answer the questions, and have a friend argue with you as to what they would to to solve the problems in the cases.
2. Call one super successful person or business person PER WEEK and ask them out to coffee: tell them you are working on a case study for your Master's program and you would like to gather some information about a person in a similar field. If they ask you which school you're going to, tell them you're taking one online (you kind of are....kind of) PAY FOR THEIR COFFEE (this is the majority of your cost)
3. Call your dream firm during their internship rounds (if you don't know when this is, ask the receptionist who answers the phone) And ask to speak to the CEO. Tell them what you're currently doing, and BLOW THEM AWAY with your knowledge of the company. Then ask for an unpaid internship for 2 weeks.

Total cost: $200-500 dollars.

Another successful meeting with my client, last night. All Went well. There was a concerted change in his demeanor, this time. He is starting to actually trust in my decisions, which is nice.  This has occurred because I haven't let him push me around or away from my goals or my ideas. I started talking to him like an expert instead of someone who is still asking for the glorious gift of his time and money.  He respects that, and my time, and I'm making it worth his while. Here are my notes.

Problem: people Don't know we exist! 
Solution: Marketing. And MARKET TESTING marketing:market toward: mid 20's couples. Affluent college students Williams: Posters around campus, throw a hottest wing eat off (sell tickets at cost to test) organize shuttles to and from campus Negotiate catering at their cafeteria Families Kids eat cheap/free needs to be PUSHED Sunday Night Football/wing discounts Call brisket sandwich a brisket burger? MARKET TESTINGSpecials test a burger test family discounts test college nights/ bigger discounts 
Problem: People Don't understand us
 Solution: Write an article about TRUE BLUE BARBECUEhistory styles etc. get in local newspaper, post on front door, on facebook etc. people need to understand the concept to want to come! 
Problem: wine spoilage
Solution: shrink wine list and have a weekly wine special (draw wine specials from overstock from Gramercy) Problem: Food Cost 
Solution:portion meats use more ice cream scoops, they're effective for portioning make an exact portion cheat sheet. 

Until Next Time

Dealing with haters.

Dealing with haters.

At my "necessary" job, I gave one of my business consultant cards to a colleague there. Apparently, on my day off, he was having a great time making fun of me with the rest of the staff, saying things like

a. "how can he think he has the experience?"
b. "I wouldn't hire him!"
c. "who does he have for clients? nobody I bet!"

The guy who told me this was really shook up by the fact that they would say this about me. I got a kick out of it for three reasons

1. Most Business consultants start work at: you guessed it, 23
2. They couldn't afford me, anyway
3. their boss is one of my clients!

about a week and a half later, two people CAME TO ME seeking business advice, friends of a friend from this little dis fest that these people had.

Where you at, haters?

I've never let haters get to me, even though I have experienced a lot of failure in my time. I've ran 4 businesses that have tanked, sold one due to an unsustainable business model, and now I'm here. You only learn from experience in a field like this, though, and that is exactly what those experiences have given me that many people don't have.

One client is starting a car shop and is looking for a business plan.
Another is a growing logging company looking for venture capital.

I'm stoked to knock this one out of the park. Lots of people would have stopped when their colleagues start bashing on them. I use this as a great way to put things in perspective. If their insults are founded in fact, then look at them and correct course (but don't ever tell them that!) if not, laugh at it.

til next time.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

So Tired.

But much is happening. will post tomorrow. goodnight world.