Thursday, July 30, 2009

You Have a Business- Stuff Comes Up

Entrepreneur Chick tends to write about whatever is in front of her that day. Yesterday threw me a curve ball I didn't see coming, and couldn't have seen coming.
What was particularly frustrating that the nature of the event was such that it rendered me ridiculously unprofessional in that I could not keep my business appointments, of which several people- a woman from a non-profit group, MY OWN STAFF, two of my students, a man that I'd like to hire and other friends who came out to support me, and yet, I was not there.
What to do in an emergency? Well, here's what not to do. Don't get so frustrated that you throw your phone, like a two year old being told they can't have a cookie, against the wall! Funny thing though is that now my phone actually works better after it's been woefully abused, than before. Go figure.
Nonetheless, things unforeseen and uncontrolled, can and do happen and certainly, they can happen to entrepreneurs as well as anyone else in the world. I explained to all my contacts earlier today and they all forgave me. It's nice to be forgiven and understood.
One another note, this is very sad. A photographer in the Chamber with me was merely changing his oil and while in the garage, a coiled gun, (which you know the kind in commercial garages?) went off but hit him directly in the eye. He's probably going to lose his eye. Who would have thought? An innocent thing like changing your oil? No drunk driver or anything. And he's a photographer.
There but for the grace of God go we all.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Stay In Front of "Em Part Two~ Make an Offer!

When advertising, even all the best graphic design, color scheme, logos and branding will not add up to much without an offer.
If you do not make an offer, you might as well stuff your advertising dollars down one of these- as in the end, all will be for naught.
Why should you make an offer? Because when you make an offer, you've done three important things:
(1) Introduced your product or service at an introductory discount.
(2) By introducing your product or service at a discount, you've made yourself more compelling.
(3) Put a sense of urgency in the consumer by using your offer in a time sensitive manner- that will move that consumer to investigate you further.
Let me share an example from one of my companies.
When we advertise to a particular market that we'd like to hone in on- the reason why we do it is because my company knows that this particular consumer is primed and ready to buy.
We send a timely, awesome, (I think it is) unique mail piece to them, which is completely compelling in that there is a plain-to-see coupon in the back.
Why is a coupon important? I happen to know, that even though this is a business to business direct mail- the end user that will open my advertising is someone who, in their personal life, is a coupon clipper!
I have related to them deep where they live day to day. Also, the second thought that this customer of mine will have; 'Gee, and if I use them, I'd be saving the company money!"
Now, I'd love to tell you that quality is the only reason people buy from me; but I'm just not that stupid.
Is Mc Donald's the best hamburger you've ever had? Of course, not! But why did you go there? You had your reasons. Fast. Convenient. You only had a dollar. Ha.
People are loyal to one thing. ONE THING. Let's shout this point from the rooftops.
People are loyal to the dollar.
If your company is offering a way to save the consumer a dollar and still manages to do a superior job, you're in like syrup on a pancake! Pass da butter.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Stay In Front of 'Em!

The good folks at Vista Print live and die by this creed, I can tell you emphatically.
They will use a holiday, of course, to promote their products- but really just because the sun has happened to come up that day- is a good enough reason for a sale at Vista Print!
They understand the intrinsic value of staying in front of their costumers with new products and new services.
As an example, I checked one of my email accounts and in it I find that there's a "BIG 24 HOUR SALE" going on. Last week, it was the "BIG WEEKEND SALE". Before that it was, "THE VALUED CUSTOMER SALE".
Frankly, I don't think that Vista Print's products are anything to write home about, as far as quality goes, the local printer I use is much better. But when I'm ready to order a few items that do not have to be that heavy hitting- sure- I'm going to think VistaPrintVistaPrintVistaPrint; because they've done such a bang up job of staying in front of me.
It's easy to be in business when you happen upon something that works very well, to settle back in your cozy easy chair, cigar and brandy snuffer, and let your marketing work it's magic. After all, it worked before.
But the world is constantly changing; new ideas abound. New ways to market faster, better, leaner, emerge.
Stay in front of that customer! Learn to be on the cutting edge. Make the most of and capitalize upon existing trends. Sometimes, it's not necessary to re-invent the wheel- just get inside the car where the wheels are spinning!
Get in front of them, but always- without fail, make an offer.
The why and how to make an offer- continued tomorrow.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Catching "The Wave" Was Bound to Happen

When one sows into building businesses long enough, I guess, this will, if you are very fortunate, happen.
Your business is SO dog gone relevant, that it catches on like wildfire and you find yourself (after a load of trial and error) on the cusp of a wave.
Entrepreneur Chick says when this happens:
Enjoy it!
You earned it.
My grandmother used to say, "I'm just going to keep on, keepin' on!"
Apparently, this philosophy is a quite powerful in business too.
I am currently on a wave. Booo yah!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Building a System is How I Roll!

Yesterday, at a networking meeting- (I do not go to networking meetings unless they are Chamber of Commerce related, I went because one of my staff members invited me; and he's done SO much for my company, of course, I want to do something for him, in that he needed to invite seven people in order to qualify). I was struck by how awfully hard everyone was trying. Trying to get business. Trying to get business that they themselves, would have to execute in order to make a cash flow return.

I do not start or build a business that utilizes myself, me personally, my own personal time, to run. I build a system in which I plug people into. It's the system that works- not me. (Although I have to work initially, to build the system.)

What most (not all) of the people I hang around with do not understand is: I make money when I'm not working. They only make money if they work. There is a big difference.

Here is what I am NOT saying. "I am, therefore, better than they are." (As a person.) What I am saying; my business model, therefore, is better.

I can chose to work or not to work.

Last year, which was our best and most profitable year, I only actually worked in my business three times. That was roughly 12 hours of personal work. I worked a total of 12 hours out of 365 days, and made more than I ever have.

If you are an entrepreneur, and if you'd like more freedom- build a system that is leveragable, not a personality, which is not.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Could Your Staff Be Ruining Your Business?

"Hire tough so you can manage easy", is the thought that repeats itself through most business books, essentially. We, who are business owners, can all give mental assent to that ideology, but essentially, are we putting into practise what we truly believe? When the rubber hits the road, what's really going on?
The first point of contact many businesses have with their clients, believe it or not, is still the lowly phone.
If that person who is "the gatekeeper" has little to no social and phone skills, the business owner can expect their sales and their reputation as a company to plummet. Maybe you have the best product or service out there. Maybe no one can do it better than you- but yet, if you've mistakenly placed Mrs. Whiggins in charge of compelling that consumer to fork over hard earned, cold hard cash, in this economy, you are going to be in a world of hurt as a company.
For example, let me give you two exact businesses with two completely different out comes.
As you know, Eliot (my Yorkie) was not well yesterday. I first picked up the phone to give the business to a vet who is in the Chamber of Commerce with me. His name is John. John owns his clinic and his receptionist answered the phone using the following:
"Hello. This is Blah Blah Animal Clinic. This is Diane. How may I help you?"
When I, with fear and trepidation, explained to Diane what was going on, she thoroughly listened to me, asked questions, and gave me the information I needed, pronto. She further instructed me not to hesitate to call back if I needed anything or had any further questions.
The only reason I did not book with John was because he was out of the office as it was late in the afternoon, nearly the close of the business day, and he was on call. I felt bad to have him be called back to the office- so I called my first vet who I had established before John joined the Chamber. Wisely, John has Ms. Dreamboat answering his phones. She made me feel valued, and isn't that what we all want?
Calling vet #1 was an entirely different scenario. This receptionist could barely muster up enough vigor to say, "Hello"! And you could tell even that much was putting her out! Part of me wanted to say, "Never freakin' MIND." But Eliot was really ill and I needed him seen right away.
The vet I finally got into see (even at yet another hospital because that vet #1 was also gone for the day) was absolutely wonderful, kind, reassuring, gracious and honest. Plus he spoke with the most darling British accent. I have to say though, his receptionist was only a tad better than the one who was a real stinker-oo, and if I was not in a pinch, I would not have booked!
Don Preston is a first class business guru. One day we were talking and he was saying, "The Mission Statement of the business has to be so clearly and thoroughly articulated to the staff, that even without you being there, they make decisions in keeping with the integrity of that mission statement. Everyone has to know the intrinsic value of the business and what it stands for and how to carry that out day to day."
I own a business who's tag line (as it is a business to business enterprise) states;
"Our REAL business is getting people to YOUR business!"
I have to say- this one particular client of ours has everything going for it. Fabulous location. Fabulous atmosphere. Fabulous product. What they don't have, tragically, is a staff that has a sense of urgency regarding customer's needs. We have seen people walk out the door upset; and you know they are not coming back! Plus, have you heard that when people encounter bad service, they go and tell TEN of their friends? "Yeah, you know that place? Yeah, don't go there."
So as fast as we get new people over there, their inept staff is losing them!
I'm reading the book anew- "When You Say 'Yes' but Mean 'No'- How Silencing Conflict Wrecks Relationships and Companies...and What You Can Do About It." Leslie A Perlow- Harvard Business School
That title is loaded with wisdom. There is a way, however, to be diplomatic and sensitive in dealing with problems. Because, if you are in business, you are going to have problems; solving problems is what you're paid to do. Certainly I am not going to go to my clients and accuse unmercifully, "Are you guys absolutely clueless!? Don't you see what's happening?! Are you going to let these goobers sabotage your company and then you can't pay back your SBA loan and wreck your retirement and your entire future? Do you want to live in the projects? Be on welfare? Oh my God!" (Well, I articulated that so easily, I hope I don't burst out and blab that to them.)
Entrepreneur Chick believes that these two things are non-negotiable.
(1) Hire people with integrity, a good set of social skills, and a good work ethic. Hire tough.
(2) Teach those people what you expect, with clear and easy to understand protocol~ which exemplifies who you are as a company and which sets you apart from your competitors. Give them superior training.
Anything less than this mindset is as precarious as Lindsey Lohan's sobriety on New Years Eve.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Business Can Wait- Eliot's Not Well

It's going to be okay. I want all of you to know that Eliot, my beloved Yorkie of twelve years (his birthday is Aug. 2nd, should you like to send a card) is sleeping contentedly in his blue stroller, as pictured. All of you have strollers for your dogs, no?
I don't know what happened. I came home from "Unity In the Communities" in which the tri-city area in which I live, comes together to support our area non-profits and also award the winner of "Non-Profit Organization of the Year", which deservedly went to CCA, or better known as Christian Community Action. A shout out to you guys! GREAT JOB. Check 'em out @
We do this ritual always, when we come home. Like the Baha Men would tell you- "Who Let the Dogs Out!?", and it's a mad dash to get Emerson, our Boxer, duly pottied and Eliot, who has fumed the whole time about being locked up in the bathroom- "Emerson. Check and see what time it is now. I think Mom and Dad should be back any minute."
"I can't tell time."
"You stupid idiot. If you can't tell me what time it is, when I get out of here, I'm going to pee in your dish like I did when we first got you."
Oh, how Eliot loathed Emerson. I've never seen anything like the out and out vindictiveness with which he was treated. He'd pee, every day, in Emerson's dish. OR, his other favorite was to poop. Whichever. Just to consistently communicate his message: You-Know-I-Hate-You-Right?
One particular movie featuring Kathy Bates, had me examining more closely my own psychosis regarding Eliot. You see, I always know what Eliot is thinking and can, at any given point, articulate it to you in fluent EliotSpeak. Kathy Bates had squirrels, all these squirrels in cages, and she could do the same thing! We're not crazy, we're just "in touch". Ms. Doolittles, that's all.
Eliot's "thing" to do when Tony leaves is to hop excitedly off the couch, spin around four or five times, and bark with this extreme sense of urgency, "Get up!Get up now! Do something for me! We don't have much time! I need some cheese! Hurry! The black man might come back! Get up! Get up!" That's exactly what he says. I know these things.
Eliot didn't want to take his favorite treat in all the world, which is a slice of cheese. I knew something was wrong when he refused his cheese.
He hurt his neck somehow. Emerson might have finally have had enough and secretly pummeled him- I don't know.
He's had his shot of pain meds and the doctor sent me home with more oral meds for the following days. You can understandably see why I'm not concerned about anything more than Eliot- at the moment.
Eliot: Shhhh. Don't tell the black man.
Me: I won't. Want some cheese yet?
Eliot: No, but maybe tomorrow.
Me: Okay.
Eliot: Okay.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Branding is Almost Everything

The deal is that I'm not supposed to be working on Sundays. I'm not supposed to be even thinking about work or talking about work, on Sundays. (Because of the mental break and because it's our agreement.) However, I was innocently just sneaking off to the computer to check my Twitter account, when, before I knew it, one thing lead to another and I began reading one of my favorite Dallas Morning News columnists, Cheryl Hall. (Who, ooopsie, writes about business. M'bad.)

I was all caught up in this completely compelling story about branding and this completely compelling guy who's company specializes in just that. Branding.

Personally, I adore branding. I get such a rush from the creation of a "look" for my companies. I love the whole thing. The layout, the logo, the website, the business cards, the letterhead, the envelopes, the t-shirts etc.

This whole creative process could be one of the reasons why, and I confess, I am such a serial entrepreneur- and unrepentant at that. Luvs it!

Ben Jenkins is an interesting person. He went to college on a baseball scholarship, yet also majored in art. He said his two polarized group of friends from high school (as you know how everything is diametrically opposed to everything else in high school) did not speak to one another.

Rather than choosing between the two seemingly opposing camps, he blended them both, and it looks as though that inevitably served him well, especially professionally. Ben was not an "either or" or One-Trick-Pony sort of man.

What I like best about this guy Ben is: he GETS IT.

Even the name of his company- One Fast Buffalo- makes you want to know more about them. One Fast Buffalo; ha. Very clever. I've spent a lot of time in Oklahoma and I can tell you for certain, buffalo are anything but speed demons. Their whole purpose for existence is to leisurely meander their day away going from one patch of grass to the next.

(Oh, give me a home where the Buffalo roam
Where the Deer and the Antelope play;
Where seldom is heard a discouraging word,
And the sky is not cloudy all day. I digress.)

Back to Ben. He says,

"Authenticity is huge. It's the only thing that truly differentiates you."

To which I respond with everything in me- hel-freakin' lo! You said it. Hallelujah and pass the plate.

I can tell you exactly why Entrepreneur Chick has enjoyed the success we have had as a company. (Companies.) Because we are exponentially better than our competitors. We deliver more. We are out there more creatively solving our clients problems and we are sincere about our desire to do this. I completely get Ben's assertion.

Furthermore, he had a keen take on this point that has bugged me for several months now, even over a year, which is:

"The point of branding is to create a little mystery."

In a business meeting last year with one of my informal Board of Directors, I was pressed to give my business the "correct" name.
Steve asked pointedly, "Okay, but after the name "Blah, Blah" what does the company do? What would you put there? How would you describe it?"

Nothing wrong in what Steve was asking me- but the thing was, as I stated in a later email to him- "Why should I put all the eggs in the mix? Let them figure it out." But Steve wasn't feeling this at all.

Had that meeting occurred with Ben, I think he would have understood me better.

Yesterday, I was so impressed with Ben Jenkins and his company, I just had to Tweet about it.

Amy (VoteforMike) called so excited. "Guess what? You know Ben Jenkins who you tweeted about? Guess what? I know him! I went to high school with him! Talk about your degrees of separation, huh?"

It's a small world- and I know I personally like being closer to people who seem to know what's going on.

Check out the Buffalo @

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Okay, That Was Weird...

Normally, I wanted to use Saturday's, besides catching up on chores around the house; as my "Quote of the Week" day. However, this was just so odd, I wanted to share it with you.
Amy, who reads me every day already knows this because we spoke on the phone earlier- (Big huge shout out to Amy for all your and Mike's and Bailey's support regarding our business, but you guys know I don't talk directly about my businesses here on Entrepreneur Chick, but thank you SO much! And Amy, I will get on those updates, promise.)
Yesterday in my post, I was discussing about how Rick, the owner of the funeral home, was explaining how they deal with a body after being deceased for several days; WHEN-
Three patrol cars, the ambulance, a firetruck and the medical examiner came to my neighborhood last night to remove my poor neighbor, who I did not know, from his home- as he had been deceased for several days.
Weird. That's just weird. Don't you think that's weird?
And since were are on the subject of weird; what in the world do you think this means, if anything?
For over six months now I'll look at the clock. 12:12, 5:55, 3:33, 11:11 or 1:11 or 10:10. ALL THE TIME- as in daily, this happens to me. When I feel compelled to check the time, more often than not, that's what time it is.
I looked it up online, because I was beginning to be frankly, freaked out.
Someone said they are your angels talking to you- okay... well my angels are telling me that it's "10:10 and 4:44..." they haven't said much otherwise.
It occurs so much I began telling Tony- "Hey, it's 12:12 again."
Do you think that's weird? I think that's just weird.
What does this have to do with business? Nuffin'.

Friday, July 17, 2009

3 Things Mortuary Science Can Teach Us About Business Ownership

Apparently going to the funeral home this week has made quite an impression. One of the things that struck me the most was how my happy-go-lucky, jovial and basically entertaining business associates became instantly transformed into fainthearted and serious tourists when we were actually inside the austere and unforgiving "prep" room. Eric and Michelle's, but especially Eric's countenance completely fell, and it seemed, as he stared both motionless and speechless at the simple yet efficient white sheet draped prep table for the bodies; that there was such a transformation on his face- I wouldn't even know him if I passed him on the street. I mean he shut completely down.
Business ownership is a lot like that transformation. You didn't know it was going to be this way; now you don't look so good.
As I have described, the new funeral home was more likened to a four star resort. But all of that ended toot suite when one entered the preparation room, or "prep" room. This is where the very unglamorous business of making death look as much like life as possible, begins.
Conceptually, starting and owning a business can appear, on the surface and to the novice, as the ultimate. However, as any thinking person will see; there's many different things that present themselves eventually to that well meaning owner. Here they are in short order.
(1) It Smells Bad. I know these things because of my friends who also own a funeral home. They brought me into their prep room and, because I knew them well, felt more embolden to ask indelicate questions.
"What are all those fans for?"
"Because," explained Rick matter of fact, "A dead body smells. Especially when you're working with cases where they have been dead awhile. The fans are placed at varying levels in here because smells actually have different weights. They sit or hang on the air differently. Less dense or more dense. We have the fans to help remove some of that smell, which can be overwhelming."
When we, as the viewing audience, watch an autopsy on C.S.I. and the like, what the audience does not take into account is how bad it smells. It's pretty gross.
The smell, therefore, can be surprising when one actually experiences, first hand, the prep room.
Owning a business is the same way. There's going to be a number of things you do not know about yet, which will not be so pleasantly appealing. Should you like to succeed, you will have to strive to the very best of your ability to find a workable way around these things and to place your "fans" to your best advantage.
(2) There's A Lot Of Blood. Well, there wouldn't be if they simply left the blood in the body of the deceased, but if you are to be embalmed, out it must go. We can liken this loss of blood to loss of cash flow- those unexpected items and events in which you're going to have to lay out much more cash than you ever, ever anticipated.
While working with an investor a few years ago, we presented our total start up cost for the business, meticulously itemizing everything; I'm telling you everything
painstakingly accounted for. We had page after page of these items; everything from legal costs and paper towels in the bathroom to phone systems, insurance, and web design. The works. (Okay, when I say "we" I mean, "Tony". )
Steve laughed, unimpressed and unfazed and said simply:
"Now triple that number."
Steve is a successful businessman for over 20 years. He's a national leader in his particular industry; with offices in Florida, Austin and Dallas. Because of his stellar track record, he's not someone I would question. When he tells you to triple it, you triple it.
You can have blood loss, and a lot of it. Are you ready for that? Did your plan take that into account? Can you really handle it, or do you just think you can? Once you're actually in business with your shingle on the door, we will most assuredly find out.
(3) "I Think I Am Going To Faint": Though the students in the mortuary science school rarely announce it. Ken, my friend who I have mentioned is an instructor there, told me when he was showing me their prep room, that he has learned to develop a very good eye over the years as to who's going to be "the fainter". Or, "We're going to have a fainter, catch 'em."
Ken explained, "Though some of these kids come to us from literally generations of families who have owned funeral homes, when they actually get in this room and see that blood being drained out by the embalming machine- sometimes they just can't handle it. I've had a lot of kids just drop out of the whole program altogether because they just can't get over it. They just can't cope with it."
When cash flow is tight, when customers aren't flocking, when it's not so easy- are you going to faint? Give up your resolve? I've had to chose a few times between paying my staff and paying my bills. Which do you think I chose? I paid my staff. Without my staff, where would my business be? My business is built on people. Great people. Without my people I am nothing at all!
I have become, at times, very, very frustrated but never so much as to give up the ghost and actually quit. I am unemployable. I've called my own shots for far too long. I can't imagine someone saying to me, "Be here at 9:00 a.m." That's a problem for me right there. I can't do it. So I just better suck it in and not faint.
This is an interesting story about my friends who now finally own their own funeral home.
Rick and Melanie actually met, of all places, at a funeral home. She was a licensed funeral director (who had gone through Ken's school) and Rick was a chemical salesmen; as it takes a great deal of chemicals in that business, by the way.
Over the years, Rick rose to a prominent position in his company. Six figure income, expense account, health insurance, the works. Meanwhile, Melanie discovered, much to her chagrin, that people tend to expire at the most inopportune times- birthdays, holidays, three o'clock a.m. She had had enough and opted to stay home. After all, Rick was doing well.
Before the economy tanked as bad as it has this past year, we counseled Rick and Melanie about once a month and helped them walk through the launch phase of their business. At this point in time, Rick had lost his job.
Though we, Tony and I, knew very little about the funeral business, there's static rules of business that apply to everything, irrespective of what you do.
The interesting thing about their case was, they had a very wealthy investor with gobs and gobs and money- but he just wouldn't commit. I told Rick, "Look. You have to get this guy to poop or get off the pot. If he sees you are going to carry out your plans with our without him, he'll probably get on board."
"Yeah, yeah, I know you're right. But he's just so nice to me and he takes me out to breakfast and you know, we play golf and..."
"Rick. Make him poop or move on."
"Well, I was thinking about just trying to get my old job back or just getting a job with someone else because this is getting pretty tough."
"And then what will happen if you do that? Do you not think you are going to be back in the same boat as you are now?"
I'll never forget that look on his face. Utterly startled. I didn't intend to be mean; but I had to tell him the truth.
It was only a few months later when we went to their ribbon cutting in their absolutely phenomenal state of the art facility! I was so proud of them. It gave me great, great pleasure to see their success.
Rick knew about the smell, he knew about the blood, and he knew he might faint- but he went for his dream anyway. How happy do you think he is today?
A real entrepreneur will suck it in and just do it.
So it's gross and you might get sick- you won't die.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Work Da Room, Baby! A Long Account of a Too-Short Evening

Last night, at a "Cowboy Party" at Agave restaurant, I was reminded again about the importance and just plain fun of working a room and meeting new people.
As many of you know, I live in Texas, and a "Cowboy Party" does not necessarily mean everyone wore Stetson hats, boots and bandannas, but rather, members of the Dallas Cowboys were actually at the party, on hand to take pictures and sign autographs. As an aside, there was a Western Wearhouse here that actually went of out business not too soon after opening, as no one really wears any of that stuff here. Perhaps in country clubs, but not in the general public. (Just in case you come to Texas and want to look cool- don't wear that!)
Tony Casillas, a former Dallas Cowboy player was a defensive tackle who helped the Dallas Cowboys win consecutive championships in Super Bowl XXVII and XXVIII and is a managing partner/owner in this particular restaurant (Agave) and is also in the Chamber of Commerce with me- which is how we heard of the party.
After we got our table and were seated, and after enjoying the tremendously delicious buffet, margaritas and free tequila shots, I couldn't quite sit still because the real party was going on in and around the bar.
"Look at all those people I don't know!" I thought to myself. Wow. They look really fun. Wow, they look really interesting- and so they were.
There is a tremendous importance in business of meeting people and having people meet you. Here is why. First of all, it expands your universe and gets you out of your box. Secondly, there are people you need to meet that can help you and be an asset to you in building up your business, or in my case, businesses- and also there are people that you can help and build up their business.
I so enjoy coming home from any event, gala, party, mixer, or luncheon and taking all my cards from the people I've spoken to and arrange in order of importance or need. I arrange them, I guess, in how I can help them or how they can help me. Last night was no exception.
Many times I've written about how I enjoy being an entrepreneur merely because it's so much fun. I was just having fun the whole time, not being all "business-serious" in any way- if someone looked interesting to me- I'd just go over to them. (And everyone looked pretty interesting!)
First, there was Dan. Now Dan is quite a hustler. I've heard of him before through a mutual friend, but not have had the pleasure of getting to learn more about him. What I like about Dan the most; he's a real go-getter. Originally from Alaska, he's come a long way, both in his private and professional life these past ten years, from what I gathered. He and his amazingly effervescent, warm, intelligent and beautiful wife, Ariel, have come up with the most unique concept to help Realtors sell and close deals. It's going to be both a national and international success. I like his inventiveness and his ability to spot yet another opportunity and seize it. It's very, very good for me, being an entrepreneur, to be around people like that. You can check him out at:
Next, because one of my companies is throwing and staging a fashion show- I came across three people I invited to model in the show- and one young man, I took the time to encourage his modeling future and explain some of how it works and building his portfolio and getting an agent. He, I could tell, appreciated my input and was genuinely grateful for my advice and the fact that I noticed that he was just a naturally beautiful person who could go very far, should he like to capitalize on that.
Then, there was a cardiologist, Dr. Caldwell, who was just the most elegant, engaging and well spoken nice guy- also a friend of Dan's. (Everyone is a friend of Dan's, btw.) Dr. Caldwell apparently takes his own advice quite seriously as he is in excellent physical shape. No cholesterol in those veins, no-sir-ee, Bob. I asked him, "You know the wife on Cosby?"
"Well, I AM that wife!"
"Well, good for you!" he said. "That's important. That's good you're doing that." As my husband woefully does not eat properly a lot of the time. (Did someone say Mc Donalds?)
Amid the cookies, Pop Tarts, ice cream, Gummy Bears, and Fiddle Faddle making their sad journey down the conveyor belt, the grocery store clerk inquired, "Just how many children do you guys have?"
"Uh, none. It's just my husband- the eternal 10 year old."
We are making an appointment with Dr. Caldwell soon for Tony. I was glad to meet him because I've been worried. It was good for that health issue to be pushed to the forefront. I mean, you can't enjoy building your businesses if you're not here. Ya, know?
There was an ever-present group of women also at the party sporting jet black t-shirts with diamonds that strategically spelled out across their "girls"- "Save the Boobs". Cara was heading up the group and all were involved in breast cancer awareness and the breast cancer walk. One of my companies who does events in the area, wants to donate and sponsor them, so it was excellent for me to meet all of them and Cara in particular.
Let me tell you about Carolina.
"Well, you'd think I could keep up with a big black man, but I guess I can't," I laughed and she laughed with me- after I explained my mistake. I told her I realized her husband, was in fact, not my husband, only when I realized Tony didn't have a watch like that. Nonetheless, Carolina just started her own Mexican restaurant, and is someone I'd like to speak further to in the future. I applaud her vision and her "going for it" attitude. She's very well qualified to do own her own business now, after being so heavily involved in someone else's. Good for you, Carolina. Again, someone who is good for me to know. Check her out at:
Let me tell you about Manuel. Manuel's wife is well suited to one of my businesses I am hiring in at the moment. It sounds as if her skill is exactly what I'm looking for and we are arranging an interview for her in the coming week. I would not have had this opportunity to meet her, had I not gone to the party and had he not been there.
Then there's Brenda. Brenda was just a hoot. She's my type of woman. Full of energy and zest, a great dancer, and someone I'd like to know better. I told her she was classically beautiful, which she is. She told me she needed to hear it, that just now, she's gone through quite a lot in her personal life and is indeed courageously picking herself up and dusting herself off and riding the horse once more. Good for you, Brenda! (She's coming to our fashion show too.) Asked me if I knew anything about an alcoholic sociopath. I just smiled. We'll talk later. {{wink}}
Now, Tamara, who I didn't know, is Tony Casillas wife, and she's with a beauty magazine, which she was promoting throughout the evening and using some of her time for photo ops. She was so stylish and pulled together! She wore a striking royal blue fluttered hater top with a leopard print head scarf and tight white jeans and high heals. Totally striking and gorgeous. (I'd like to give her money and send her shopping, "Here, you figure out what I should wear, okay?") One of my companies goes hand in hand with what she does, so I gave her my card and she's going to pass the info along. Tamara was explaining to me how she didn't know exactly who to use and now she's glad to have me to call.
Then there's Ann, who was scared to dance salsa with me because she knows I'm an instructor- (more "was" than "am") but I know how to lead and can 'place' you on the floor so you're relaxed and you're having fun and I'm making you look good and like you know what you're doing. She's also coming to the fashion show and also will model. I remembered her and her girlfriend from last year- as they are personal friends of Lisa, who manages an upscale commercial property here in town- again, another Chamber friend of mine. Ann sweetly thanked me repeatedly for the dance. Awww.
Then there was Shannon, who is doing websites too, along with another business- and it was just delightful to talk to her and her husband, who's name is Rick and who is an excellent listener- which I told him I thought was so important and an under-rated skill. My own web guy could be stuck in one stage of development, so after speaking with Shannon, there's a good chance she can handle what I need done.
And it was fabulous Daniel was there. He's looking into hiring one of my businesses in his establishment. I took the time to speak to him about setting up a meeting next week. If I get it, this will be an important account. He didn't know I could dance like that- told him if he hires us, for just "five more additional bucks", I'd do a dance for him. He laughed and said, "Great, okay!" And then we had a conversation about which do you think is the best blue tooth? He says "Jawbone", just so you'll know.
Then there was Mr. Gonzalez and Mr. Montoya. Too funny. Mr. Gonzalez was not at all happy to hear I'm an Eagle's fan. Not happy at all. He got thrown in jail at one of the Cowboy games last year for assaulting the opposing team's fan for, I think, disrespecting him and being rude. He proudly showed me all the pictures he took of the new stadium, of the old stadium, and of personal pictures of him with various Cowboy players.
"Just who do you think that is, heh? Who's that right there? "
"Uh, well.. that would be.. I mean, that is....uh... uh... I don't know. Who is it?"
"Julius Jones! That's Julius Jones right there with me, right there! Don't you know Julius Jones?!"
Okay, kick me out of Texas.
"Why you wanna be an Eagles fan? Heh? Eagles are losers. Look at your husband right there. Your husband's a success. Your husband is a winner. He likes the Cowboys because they're winners. You should be like your husband."
I have to admit, he made a good case. Donavan, you know I love you.
Now, Mr. Montoya lives two doors down from, what's known in my neighborhood as, "The Halloween House." Everyone knows the Halloween House. My friend Cindy and I make the trek there each Fall because she likes to watch the little kids cry when all the "ghosts" and "ghouls" jump out of the shadows. Until the Halloween House I never suspected Cindy, who's very sweet and unassuming, is such a sadist.
Mr. Montoya wants to hire one of our companies for his private event and wants us to come over as soon as we can for chicken on the grill and excitedly and enthusiatically spoke about his brand new deck in the backyard. He was perfectly sincere about the invitation and we will certainly go see his deck and his grill and eat his chicken. He said we live so close, he could throw a rock and hit us- so my husband acted like he was mowing and had been hit by Mr. Montoya's rock, much to Mr. Montoya's delight- not knowing that my husband, in his past life, was a stand up comic.
In closing, how many connections would you say I made last night? Look at all those awesome people and all that awesome potential! I was doing no more than hanging out and having fun.
Entrepreneurs in da houz, go party BAY BAY's! :-)

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

"Play...It's the New Learn"~ How Brilliant Sky's Tag Line Means Money for Entrepreneurs

I met Jamie yesterday at a Chamber function and asked for her card. I was delighted to read the tag line- "Play...It's the new Learn."

As really that's how my transformation from a frustrated, dependent, angry, and functioning-well- below-my-capabilities-housewife-ish (at least that's what my therapist said) mess all started. It started with play.

As a child, I had always been good at dance. I religiously took tap, ballet and jazz. And I pretentiously wrote in my dairy in the sixth grade: "Dear Diary- had my dance recital today and of course, I was better than everyone else."

But those days were long forgotten due to the toilet bowl drama I had allowed my life to become. Getting through a day without picking up a butcher knife was pretty much my only, sad and forlorn goal. (I am not kidding.)

I read a book. And in this book, "The Artist's Way", it began teaching me to start doing small, positive, nurturing and encouraging things for myself. And so I did.

I'd always liked to dance. So I turned on the radio in my room and just did that. I danced. I danced to all kinds of things. I'd dance for hours. And that's exactly where, though I didn't know it at the time, I began making money.

I was playing, but I was learning. In fact, I liked to dance so much and was a quick study about it- that's how I soon after became a professional dance instructor, ballroom and hip-hop. Adults only. (Except for a lovely and creative girl from India, Katya, because her parents took so many lessons from me each week.) But I did not stop there.

I used that skill to start another business. And I did not stop there. I used what I learned from that business to start another business. And I did not stop there. That business was so interesting, it spun yet- another business.

My whole life changed, because I started playing!

For me, and perhaps for all entrepreneurs, but I can say definitively for me, when something is fun and I'm having a grand time, money is always around the corner. I can find a way to take what my interests are and the fun I'm having, develop a system, market my business, develop a mission, train my staff and just keep on building from there.

All of my business were started because I thought that looked like an interesting, fun, unique idea and let's see how far I can take it.

I read that exceptionally troubled mental patients do not begin an arduous time of intense therapy sessions; but rather, they are taken outside and given a big, red bouncing ball to play with. The patents begin to play with this ball outside with each other before they do anything.

When I'm stuck in life- rather than beat my head against a wall trying to figure out what I need to do and should do and ought to do- instead I start playing.

Playing has been the only reliable way I know how to sustain both my sanity and my bank account. I'm sure it will work for you too. Give it a try and see if something pops.

What do you like to play?

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

I Got To Be In a Hearse Today- But Thankfully, Not in the Back (Yet)

This just shores up the reason why I love a Chamber of Commerce so much! I had no idea that I'd get to do this today. I didn't wake up and think to myself, gee, just what sort of outfit should I wear when I sit in the hearse?

Because we are Ambassadors for the Chamber, and as ambassadors one of our primary responsibilities is to welcome new businesses into the Chamber by way of ribbon cuttings and plaque givings and so forth; today was the day we welcomed a new funeral home into the Chamber; which is not something we get to do often.

But what was really cool, for Entrepreneur Chick anyway- was the grand tour they gave us of the entire facility (as it is brand spanking new and uh... they've not even had their first "customer" yet). It was an amazing place. You couldn't even tell you were even in a funeral home. They had state of the art everything! Actually, it more closely resembled a four star resort in the mountains. Cozy fire place, soaring vaulted pine ceilings, hulking overstuffed easy chairs; calming music and soothing visuals in all rooms; serene fish, a waterfall- and - everyone in our group was thoroughly impressed. It was too bad you couldn't come back just to visit; but I suspect they rather like it when you are coming to actually visit someone or, if you are the someone everyone else is visiting; if you know what I mean.

My friends also own a funeral home and I've always been drawn to the business. As a matter of fact- a "funeral event planner" was something I was interested in two years ago; but after the Malibu Rum and Cokes wore off that bleak January afternoon- after I had made my business card design (very lovely candlelit affairs) that I realized two things.

(1) How do I get paid? (Looks as if the existing funeral homes were already doing a good job in event planning. Therefore, they'd not take kindly to giving someone else the business.)

(2) No leverage. When I build a business, I build always with the idea of leverage in mind and having a staff. Perhaps you could in fact staff it- but as I said; the Rum wore off.

But I must admit I did have a great time entertaining the idea. It's a very big deal now; funerals are not, well, your father's funeral anymore. The baby boom generation likes to have more control of how the will go out; not just the standardized One-Size-Fits-All-Psalm 23-of-Yesteryear. Bless their hearts.

Once, I even went down to the Dallas Mortuary School (or something close to that) as my good friend was and is an instructor there. He taught me how to make an ear our of wax. Why would you want to make an ear out of wax? Because, sometimes in cases of disfigurement, and the family would still like the body to be viewed- you use wax. Ken is an amazing master of this art and very few people in the United States can put people back together like he can.

He told me a story once, a bizarre story, in which the funeral home caught on fire! Now, you see, these people had their father laying in state in the funeral home. The family was understandably horrified by the prospect of their father, though deceased, having been such an unfortunate victim. Lamentably, the funeral home, also understandably, was mortified (couldn't help it) that they would be sued out the wazoo and lose their business. So they called in Ken. After several long and skillful hours, Ken worked his special magic.

When the adult children of the father had come up to view the casket, they began to cry and they said, "That's Daddy."

After Ken was done teaching me to make an ear, I carefully placed my treasure in a box and took it delicately home to Tony.

"Look! I have something from the mortuary school in this box!", I said excitedly.

Tony visibly stepped back four or five paces- "I know I don't want to see it but I know you're going to show it to me anyway, huh?"

My ear, which I was oh so very proud of, stayed frozen in our ice box like the last scoop of vanilla ice cream available in the entire universe. I kept that ear until I moved. I didn't want to throw it away. But what was I going to do? Put in on Ebay?

One Wax Ear- Slightly imperfect. As is. Make offer.

On a final note, sometimes I visit my friend's funeral home, and when I do, I like to stand under the cosmetic lights in the state room before I leave and plump up my hair and say, "Am I beautiful? I'm beautiful, right? Tell me I'm beautiful."

Okay. I'll get out more.

Monday, July 13, 2009

What My Mother Taught Me

I have not mentioned my mother at all when I write. I think I know why, maybe.
Because it's painful to think about her sometimes- a tragic thing happened to her, as I knew it would.

In school, I'd hear a siren and would become horribly worried that something was wrong with my mother. I'd tell myself it was someone else probably, and to quit worrying like that, but I clearly remember sitting in my third grade class, obsessing that something was wrong.

And the time she made me cry at my dance class because I'd be worried about her when she'd drop me off, "Where are you going to be when I'm dancing?"
And she said, "None of your business."

Something did, in fact, finally happen. Which some time, I might say what it was; but I don't want to say it today. Maybe another day.

But my mother was a tough, drop dead gorgeous beautiful woman who was one first class act. You didn't screw with my mother. It was always a bad idea.

Though my mother did not own a business, what she did own was the mindset of someone who does. She did have the creative mindset of an entrepreneur.
The two best things my mother taught me were:
(1) Be Creative!
(2) Have some damn back bone!

She taught me you don't let anyone push you around for any reason.

I know for a fact that I could not do what I have done, in life or especially in business, if it were not for that kind of steely determination and grit I learned from my mother.

My second grade teacher told my mother, "I know Marilisa can speak because I've heard her on the playground."

When I was a child, I was horribly shy. I wouldn't say a word to anyone. I was afraid of people. Finally, by the time the eighth grade rolled around, I figured out that people didn't bite, and if they did, I'd bite back! Which my mother taught me.

I wrote last time about playing cards- once, when I was about eight, she sat on the edge of my bed at night giving me a pep talk. She was forever giving me pep talks because I always needed a pep talk. (As I was so shy and withdrawn as a child.) People who know me now find this very hard to believe.

She told me, "Listen, I was invited over to my friend's house to play bridge. So I went over and I pulled up my chair with total confidence. I shuffled those cards like a pro. I acted like everyone was going to lose. I was going to win. I dealt those cards like no body's business. And guess what? I didn't know the first thing about playing bridge! But I acted like I did! That's what you've got to do. You might be scared. You don't show it. You have just as much right as anyone else to win, and don't you ever forget it."

My poor mom though. Really. I'd love to tell you that I always took her extraordinary advice and was just this amazing child and super trouper; which is, sadly, not the case.

I'd just exasperate her. We'd pull up to my elementary school and I'd feel the tears welling up. I'd try my best to hold them back but couldn't. I just didn't want to go to school. There would be people there and kids there and I've have to... {{{{{gasp}}}}} talk to them.

She'd pull through the semi-circle drive that all schools have, reach across me and open my car door and say, "Get out of the car, you Titty Baby."

Well, somebody had to set me straight. I don't know what I'd have done, if she didn't.

Around our house, we have a saying when someone tries to be mean to us or take advantage of us, or basically is just an ass to us. "Oh, you've got me bent!"

What we mean is; "You're confused! You think you're going to push me around? You've got another thing coming."

Elizabeth, though the term "Ghetto Girl" was not in vogue yet; was one Pushy Ass-Ear ring-High-Heeled- Shoe-Weave-Takin' -Out- And-Oh-It's-On-Now! broad. The first Ghetto Girl. Even if she was from Oklahoma. She said, "In life, you've to to toot your own horn because, sure as hell, no one's going to toot it for you."

This has uniquely equipped me to be an entrepreneur.

She preferred being called, "Liz".

Monday, July 6, 2009

If You Want to Succeed at Business, all You Have to do is be Good at Gin

I didn't say "drink gin" but that doesn't hurt either sometimes! But really, you gin drinkers- what do you see in it? It tastes gross and makes you feel awful. Even the high priced stuff is awful. If you have any ideas for me about a decent gin drink that doesn't make you feel terrible the next day- I am completely open to suggestions. In the meantime...
If you want to succeed in business- simply learn to play a killer game of gin- because it's exactly the same thing.
You are dealt seven cards over which you have no control. Sounds pretty much like life, huh? (No control over who your parents are/were, where you were born, what year you were born, who are your bothers and sisters- I met a woman this week, her uncle was Lucky Luciano!) BUT, yes you do have control! (I love the title of a the book, "The Power to Influence Anything".) Do you just tap the deck and let the dealer go on with it? Do not do that.
If it is not your deal, you have the final "cut" of those cards. By freakin' golly, CUT THEM. You never let anyone decide anything as long as it's in your hands to do something about it, got it? You cut those cards one last time until you feel good about it. That's the intuitive nature of being an entrepreneur. You can't explain it sometimes, but you see how to corner a market better than other people are doing it. You "feel" when you know that you've got it right.
There you sit. Your cards are dealt. Take a sip of your coke, eat a few chips and let's look at your hand. Here we go...
You've got a few kings, one jack and a pair of aces. You have to ask yourself immediately- what assets do I have? What liabilities do I have? How can I turn what I've got into something more? How can I turn what I've got into something more and at the same time, minimize my risk (by offsetting my liabilities) and still have a better plan to win then the competition?
Gin is just exactly like business. It's always a game and everyone plays better if they realize it's always a game. If you get all caught up in risk and loss and money and money and money and I might loose money- you better get the hell out of the game. You can not be risk adverse to be an entrepreneur. You can not be risk adverse to win a game.
Back to our cards. Do not be enticed, drawn away with, or beguiled by those kings, queens and jacks. Oh, I know. They look all colorful and royal and exciting. But look at them for what they really are. If your opponent goes "out", you are going to be left holding those hefty heffers and each one is going to cost you ten points each!
Kings, queens and jacks are not for the first part of a winning game. Don't even go there. Kings, queens and jacks are, at the beginning, big boys you should not be playing with. (Unless you end up with three of a kind- so be it. OR, you happen onto the third needful card to complete your set if your opponent drops it early or you draw it early). Do not be enticed by their charms. Kings, queens and jacks are, in business, liabilities that will cost you dearly. GET RID OF THEM NOW, WHILE YOU HAVE A CHANCE. They are what does not pay you squat to have in your possession. They are, when you are building a business and you simultaneously go after: the big house, the fancy car, the plasma screens, the European vacation, the boat, the load of clothes, and the perpetual dinning out. That's just fine for when your business is really raking it in and you are out of the beginning of the game. If you think you are going to get away with that kind of behavior early on, let Entrepreneur Chick tell you straight up- you are not being wise. Not wise at all. You're going to be left holding the bag and wondering just what happened when the creditors are calling and demanding to be paid back.
Back to our game. Dump the big cards and keep going after, what is not so attractive at first, maybe a pair of twos or threes or some un-enchanted and unglamorous set of clubs- keep building your asset columns little by little, see? And you're going to toast your competitor.
The "rounds", we can liken to years. Years you've been in business. When you've been in business for a certain number of years, your tolerance for risk can increase and you can play with higher volumes or numbers, but don't ever forget the principle is still the very same. It's a game. Play to win. Get the liabilities out while at the same time, you are building your assets. Keep doing that. Just that. That's pretty easy, isn't it?
After ten years, what do you think your score card will look like?
Let's talk frankly about return. If you expect an earth shattering return in the first, second or third year of business, it's just not a realist thing to do. Like anything else, it takes T-I-M-E to build something of value. (Unless you're dealing crack, and from what I hear, that has a fairly good return. Ha.) You will make plenty of mistakes. If you are paying attention, you will learn from them, not repeat them, do more of what's right, less of what's wrong and see a great result and return at the end. Is not that what you'd like? A great return?
Just keep doing what you know to be right. Slow and steady. I promise you it will pay off in spades.
If you want to play gin with me sometime, and if you win- my favorite thing to do is show you the one remaining card I will always have left. One ace. One point is all you are ever going to get from me.
I used to know what it's like to give out more points in the end. But I found out it's just as easy to intentionally win, as it is to unintentionally lose. Those who understand what I just said, will understand what I just said.
Your deal.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

The Balancing Act is Ongoing and Important

There are a few things that I do each day, that I have to do each day, if I want to feel good and thrive. If I reject any of these for just a day or two, I quickly feel the pain of bad decisions.
It occurs to me that, for an entrepreneur, there's two "balancing acts" that are in play.
The first act has to do with one's personal life.
The second act has to do with one's professional life.
I am much more strict with myself in terms of my personal life than I am regarding my professional life, oddly enough!
I wrote a few posts ago that I do not believe there are really six most important things to do each day- these daily rituals that I'm going to share with you now, are important enough that I've written them down- but do not write them down each and every day.
My Personal Life- The Balance I Maintain to Keep Me on Course-
There are five rituals I keep every day or every other day. These are things I've deemed important and that help me function optimally. These are things that are in place because I'm looking at the long term aspect that they each help produce, as well as the short term aspects that helps me sustain a healthy life.
My 5 Rituals:
(1) Read the Bible.
(a.) Proverbs for that day. If it's July 2nd, it's Proverbs Chapter 2. And it's pretty neat that there are 31 chapters total.
(b.) Pick up where I left off in the Old Testament. (Numbers 14) (Those Assyrians were some terribly MEAN people! They'd even torture the children of their enemies- I do not like Assyrians. Nope.)
(c.) Pick up where I left off in the Psalms- 24.
(d.) Pick up where I left off in the Gospels- Mark 9:30
(e.) Pick up where I left off in the New Testament- II Corinthians. 5:1
Keep doing that until I can't anymore. (Sickness, death, the rapture!)
(2) Eat Right
(a.) Boiled egg & teaspoon of peanut butter for breakfast.
(b.) Boiled egg & teaspoon of peanut butter for lunch.
(c.) Fish and vegetables, sushi or noodles for dinner. I don't eat red meat. It's fattening and I think everything takes like a shoe. Yuck.
(d.) Eat nothing past dinner!
(e.) Two glasses red wine- evening.
(f.) Drink lots of water.
Don't be alarmed. I am not starving myself. I change this up when I go out and I go out a lot! Luncheons, galas, mixers, cocktail parties, dinner with friends- but overall, when I home, that's how I eat. My system purrs like a kitten doing this- and I never struggle with my weight.
3. Work Out- I set the timer for 30 minutes and lift weights, dance and work on my flexibility. I usually work out to videos I've downloaded. Pussy Cat Dolls are a favorite! Heh, heh. "When I grow up I wanna..."
4. Skin Care- Always remove makeup and put on my goop at night. Goop: whatever "they" say is the best skin care on the market right now. I change my goop about once a year.
5. Shower- at night. Because if you know me at all, you know I'm not a morning person. All the Starbucks in the world injected right into my veins each day, will not make me a morning person. I practise this ritual because this way, when I wake up, I'm already done with that chore and I have the rest of the time for hair, makeup, and wardrobe. (Yawn.)
My Professional Life- The Balance I Maintain to Keep me on Course-
(1) Keep building my asset column (businesses) and systems (a predictable structure inside each business that is executed the same way each time) to employ people who are more talented and smarter that I am. I succeed because I find people much better than myself. Before too much longer, what is brought in through my asset column will far exceed what's going out. I will bring in more than I spend. I will consistently see a surplus.
(2) Stay educated: when I read, it's usually for business. Though I've not listed all or any of the business books I've read on my profile. Right now, I'm reading a book by Bruce Painter called, "The Giving Zone" as he came and spoke to our Chamber of Commerce luncheon last month. It's okay, not earthshaking, but I paid for it so... I have learned a couple of principles I have been thinking about for a few days.
That's it. That's all I do. That's my balancing act.
So many times people will say to me, "Wow. You wear a lot of hats! Wow. You must be really busy! Wow. Do you ever sleep?!"
To be honest, I'm moderately busy. I'm as busy as I want to be. (Which is moderately busy.) I think people confuse the fact that because I own more than one company- I must be really busy. No. The systems that I built into each company are busy, I, personally, am not. It's the systems that are working- not me. I structured my businesses to perform that way intentionally.
I do not take my personal time to do anything in my businesses, unless I am working on building a system!
That's it!
I'm going to the park now!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Opportunity Can Happen In the Most Unexpected Places~ Which is Why I Still Love Being an Entrepreneur

I personally, didn't buy a franchise. I personally, wouldn't want to buy a franchise. I have absolutely nothing at all against people who do- but for me, I like to see what's going to happen if I think up something, create it, stand back see if it works.
When one buys a franchise, most of the attraction to that endeavor is because the kinks have been "un-kinked" and the cash flow has some reliability.
Those type of things look pretty safe to me; and therefore, I am left cold and uninterested. I've learned I can not plug my extension cord into someone else's socket.
I'd rather come up with an idea and do everything it takes to brand and market that idea, than to have all that "done" for me. But that's just me.
Last year, a completely simple yet amazingly profound thing happened to us.
My husband had merely gone to the front of a particular facility, owned by our client at the time, to drop off some more of the material that one of our staff was using there.
No big deal. Nothing earth shaking about that in any way.
However, here's what happened:
The owner of the business across the street was in delivering some items to our client- as aforementioned.
This business owner, casually turns to my husband, who, mind you, was leaving, and inquires; "I have a question to ask you. I was wondering if you guys can do Blah, Blah, Blah for me?"
"Of course, we can do Blah, Blah, Blah," my husband confidently shot back.
Gentle reader, we had never done Blah, Blah, Blah. But when presented with a scenario that seems like a good deal with a good cash return, you better bet your booty we will figure it out!
And so we did. Come to find out, "Blah, Blah, Blah" was extremely popular and more importantly profitable in the East Coast. Not only that, Texas, where we live, has not even begun to brand this particular idea in the market place.
Say it with me kids: "I see an opportunity!"
Over the next several weeks and months, we started researching intently and creating an identity for, let's call it, The Three B's. (Blah, Blah, Blah)
I had such a great time coming up with the name, the logo, the verbiage, the website, the marketing piece (but we also have a great graphic designer and printer) and so forth. Some people take drugs to get high. I get completely over-the-moon ecstatic when I create. Just love it. I thrive on it. I feel myself coming to life when I do it.
The Three B's, as it turns out- is not any small idea. Over time, and not much time- this one idea will gross ridiculous cash flow. It's already in place. It's already working. It's going to out-perform our existing company even! (Who is the parent company- the new company,The Three B's, being a spin-off.)
Again, not to down people who prefer to buy franchises- I'm just saying that I like not knowing what's going to happen and then making something entirely unexpected- happen.
As I've said before, I'm lousy at administration and office work because, well, it's administration and office work. (:::::twirls hair::::::....rolls eyes::::: yawns:::......) But after I've created something of value- I'll leave it to those who have possess those skills far better than I. (My accountant, my bookkeeper, my attorney, my general manager, etc.) So in a way, I have my own, built in, mini-franchise going on.
If you are like me, or you like the idea of jumping onto something as it presents itself- really listen to what people are saying to you and asking you for. It very well just might be, as in Charlie's case, The Golden Ticket.