Create. What can I say about creating? I love it.
Some of the businesses I have created have come because an idea popped into my head. Others, because of a natural progression.
The interesting dynamic about creating a business is; that past the first initial idea or spark, there's always something more you can do- developing and creating better operating systems.
Let's start first, with the spark.
I remember, as if it were five minutes ago, the exact moment I had an idea for two of my businesses.
One of my oldest businesses simply grew out of an existing one. I literally woke up one morning, still lolly gagging leisurely around in my bed- looked at the bedroom wall to my right, and, as if it had lettering which said:
"Start a new business. You already have all the materials you need."
Fast forward eighteen months later from that epiphany, the new business was doing so well, it quickly replaced the income my husband was making in corporate America. He quit, called me on my cell when I was in a business meeting with one of our clients, and announced, "I'm home!" That was six years ago. He hasn't looked back since.
Creation is powerful.
The second business- was just a thought that popped into my head as I was putting on my makeup. I remember thinking, ooooooh, that would be so cool! Boys and girls, I knew exactly nothing about that.
Stephen Covey, famous for his series of books- "7 Habits of Highly Effective People", relates to his readers that one should always, "Begin with the end in mind."
After my first initial idea, I see quickly, my end result.
All my actions from my initial idea, which serves as my skeleton, merely flesh out, my intent.
Just as the human body has operating systems; circulatory system, respiratory system, cardiovascular system, digestive system- and so forth- so also, does my business.
I have nothing against franchises, as I've stated. But I wouldn't buy one. Why not? Because they will tell me what to do. I will tell me what to do. I can function in no other climate.
However, that's not to say I don't emulate franchises, because I certainly do! That's the key to my success. I emulate franchises. I take the best that I know about franchises and franchise systems, and replicate those in my own show.
Let me tell you about my friend, Mike. Mike is one smart ass cookie. By the time he was 24, the guy owned twenty three restaurants in and around New Orleans! He was a multimillionaire and the kid wasn't even 25. Mike said:
"Well, I thought about buying a franchise. But you know, I couldn't do that. I'm the guy who creates the franchise and then other people buy the franchise from me! So, what'd I do? I started studying franchises. I wanted to create a fast food franchise. Here's what I noticed. I started to notice that all franchises have to have the menu board visible from the street. People should be able to drive by and see a menu board. This communicates the idea to them, this is fast food. See? Look at the menu. Also, those things are lit up! Have you ever noticed how bright a fast food joint is at night? They have them all lit up so you'll get the idea, if you didn't have it already, that hey, I think I'm hungry- look at that place all lit up! Then I noticed the windows. They all have windows from floor to ceiling. You have to have large windows. Why? Because people need to drive by and see something's going on all the time. There's some kind of activity. I'd tell my employees when you run out of things to do and no customers are in here, you go out there and sweep the sidewalk! Have something going on."
Mike, in conversation with me, blurted out: "You think like me." Yes. I do. Because I get the whole wave length he's on because I'm on it also.
So I have my spark. I have my initial business concept. Viability is something I'm going to find out along the way. How viable is my concept? Translated, is this deal going to generate some cash, or not? I'll find out as I go.
I'm not one to run to the bank or run to investors every time I've got an idea. If it's a great idea, I'll usually take equity out of an existing business, and start pumping some cash- breathing some life- into my poor little creature of a business.
Branding and Identity
To parlay all my plans into positive cash flow business, I'm going to need a business identity. This is where I have the most fun!
Using the year 1999 as a benchmark, I'd say anything before that year, it was vastly more costly for the entrepreneur to develop branding. What's branding? Your look as a company. Who are you, exactly, in the marketplace?
The key reason I use 1999 as a turning point, as it was about that year when technology became more readily available, and now, it's just ridiculous how low a start up costs can be, comparatively speaking!
Back in those days, a web site was astronomical! You couldn't run your business with a cell phone! Fax machines were still pricey. There wasn't any social networks to speak of. Logo development was another fortune. With the cost plummeting so low, it's easy to develop your brand these days.
I like to design most of the branding myself; but in the case of my newer business this year- while I had established the "look and feel", my printer, who's quite skilled, added to my idea; and because this particular icon is not privately held anymore, yet entrenched in America's psyche, man- did I come out of there smelling like a rose! My logo for that particular business is bangin' hot- I even went one better and make all my materials tactile, in that bling bling is attached to each one. My marketing piece literally makes you look!
Some people go to amusement parks for a blast, I create businesses!
Create, promote and sell. More tomorrow about "promote".