Archive for the ‘Business Start-Up’ Category

Homeless yes – stupid no

July 23, 2010

I’ve been chuckling about this story for a couple of days now.   Still not sure quite how to frame it.

Last weekend a 29-yr-old homeless guy in Penryn, CA broke into a bar that had gone out of business.  He bought a six-pack of beer across the street, got into the vacant bar, put up an “Open” sign and began serving customers.  With that initial six-pack income being reinvested he was open for four days before the police got wind of what was happening. But at that point he had over $1300 in cash and merchandise.

Placer County sheriffs arrested Travis Lloyd Kevie on charges of burglary and selling alcohol without a license.  He had been serving about 30 customers a day the Sheriff’s Department said. 

There has been global attention on this story.  The small town residents say there has been so much publicity the bar could reopen successfully now.  The owner is more amazed than upset.

I think I see a movie and a book deal in the wings.   Check out the video linked above.

So what do you think?  Should this homeless dude be locked up for being a criminal?  Or would you give him an opportunity because of his ingenuity and boldness?  What could he have done to engage his creativity without doing something illegal?  What do you think he’ll be doing in the near future?

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Confused and Stunned – awesome!

July 2, 2010

Is now a time to try something new – perhaps something you’ve never done before?  Or should you sit out the “recession” and wait until “things get better.”

“The times when everyone is confused and stunned can present an enormous opportunity because no one’s really doing anything,” says Dell Computer founder Michael Dell.  “I think this is the time when the seeds of really successful new businesses will be created.”

Designer Kenneth Cole says, “When things are going well, people want to do what’s working and more of it.  It’s only in difficult times that people are open to creative alternatives.”

Mark Cuban, entrepreneur and owner of the Dallas Mavericks, points out that some of the greatest businesses were built in recessionary times.  “Money is easy to find in boom times, which leads to far too many businesses getting out of the gate that don’t deserve to be started.  When money is scarce, better ideas face less competition and better execution can lead to greater success.”

Whether it’s changing career paths or starting your own business, there’s never been a more opportune time than today.  July 1st marks the beginning of the second half of 2010.  And what better time to claim your “independence” than on July 4th.  Recognize you are in the driver’s seat, break ties with the mother country if necessary and begin your personal revolution. And remember, “things” get better when you get better.

Are you a Linchpin?

June 6, 2010

Okay – I’m going to assume that anyone who clicks through to this is familiar with Seth Godin’s book titled Linchpin.  On June 14th there will be meetups all over the world for those who consider themselves Linchpins.

In this new world of building one’s own brand we all understand the power of networking.  The events taking place on June 14th are a great example of connecting with like-minded people whose skills likely compliment your own.

There are now 772 Linchpin meetup locations registered.  We’ll be hosting one of those here at The Sanctuary in Franklin, TN.  If you are in this area and consider yourself a Linchpin, feel free to join us.  Wherever you happen to live, check out the Linchpin meetup near you.  All Linchpin Meetups worldwide

Don’t miss out on a free opportunity to grow your network – and your business.

American Idol – you can do it!

May 25, 2010

Okay, here’s an example of the power of this 48Days.net community.  On May 11th, on our weekly telemember call, I had 48Days.net member Chad Jeffers as my guest.  As Carrie Underwood’s guitarist he called in from Austin, TX that night.  We talked about his rise in music and his newly released book, 25 Notes for the Successful Musician.

Another member, Brian Griffith was listening to that interview.  The next morning he contacted me.  As the owner and designer of Anthology Gear Wear, he just wondered if there would be any way I could get one of his amazingly beautiful straps in Chad’s hands.  I simply connected the two – and here’s the potential of this community.  Brian has sent Chad one of his straps – and Chad is going to be using it tomorrow night when former Idol winner Carrie is performing on the season finale of American Idol.

In a note I received from Chad he said:  “The last time I played a particular guitar on the Grammy’s a few years ago, the luthier (builder) received 10 orders the next week!!  Hopefully I’ll have a strong impact for Brian.”

How would you like to have your product seen by the estimated 22 million viewers expected for the Wednesday night show?

Not all of us make guitar straps or play with Carrie Underwood.  But the real question is — what creative ideas are you using to actively increase the marketing exposure for your business?

Sweet CeCe’s

May 17, 2010

We live in Franklin, TN, a quaint little town with rich heritage and eateries. Recently a new place – Sweet CeCe’s popped up in a space that has been used unsuccessfully by several sandwich, coffee and ice cream businesses.  So I cringed when I saw yet another “yogurt” place open there recently.  And frankly I thought here goes someone else’s failed dream.

Friday night Joanne and I were cruising through town at and I suggested we at least try this little place.  After parking we walked past Ben & Jerry’s (5 customers present) and Starbucks (8 people inside).  We approached Sweet CeCe’s and I thought there must be some kind of party going on – people were everywhere, with a waiting line of about 20 people.  Being curious – and awed by what we had seen – we visited it again Sunday night at about 10:00 PM.  Being a balmy evening probably helped.  But there were over 50 people standing around outside enjoying their Sweet CeCe’s cups.  Inside there were another 30 seated and approximately 40 in line.

What’s the deal?  Every business has to have a “unique selling proposition” (USP).  At Sweet CeCe’s you draw your own yogurt, add you own fresh fruit toppings or any of a wide variety of goodies, then have your treat weighed and pay by the weight.  There are no prices shown for anything – you simply make your concoction and pay by the weight.  The menu is very limited and not unlike plenty of other establishments.  But their USP draws like a magnet.

Do you know your USP?  Whether you are an employee, physician, dentist, pastor, teacher, web designer, author, artist, musician, human resource director, professor, politician, or entrepreneur, you must know what makes you remarkable.  Without that, your success will be mediocre or non-existent.

What would you name this Eagle?

April 26, 2010

Yep, name this Eagle and win a prize package.  A few weeks ago I realized that the massive cedar tree closest to my barn office was not turning green and was clearly “dead.”   My landscape advisor confirmed that while we have no idea what happened, it was definitely never going to turn green and thrive again.  I was blown away at the loss of this stately feature here on our property.

But how often does the “death” of one thing give birth to another?  Have you ever had a dream die only to discover that in redirecting your thinking and efforts you released something even better?  I have walked with people through the death of many jobs and businesses where together we have uncovered new opportunities that would have never been seen if the old position would have continued.

I love the challenge of turning trash, disappointment or disaster into something great.  The result is often surprising and the beginning of a new season in life.

I had contacted Terry Brasher (http://carvingsforchrist.com/) to come out and put her unique artistic skills in motion.  She agreed with me that there was an eagle just waiting to be released in this old “dead” stump.  What you see here is the result of three days of her amazing talent using chain saws and chisels.  The color you see is 100% natural – nothing added.  The wings were the first two lowest branches on the tree.  The stones the eagle is resting on were another set of protruding branches.  The “dead” tree is now a beautiful addition to our country Sanctuary.

This is such a spectacular feature and representation of a valuable life process that I want a name for this Eagle.  You may have a word that somehow captures the symbolism of the transition from death to life – or of birthing something wonderful.  Or something that reminds us of the majestic qualities of the eagle.  You may know Latin or Italian or some other language that has an appropriate name for what we’ve always used as part of the 48Days logo.  Just use your imagination and creativity.

Here are my prize packages:

  • 1st place – $50 credit toward any 48 Days product, $100 discount on any 48 Days event this year, lunch with Dan & Joanne (you have to get here) and a personal tour of the Eagle
  • 4th place — Autographed copies of 48 Days and No More Dreaded Mondays
  • 5th place — Autographed copies of 48 Days and No More Dreaded Mondays

I claim no objectivity for this process.  I will simply choose what strikes me as unique and meaningful.  If the same selections are suggested, we will go with the earliest submission.  Send your suggestion to eagle@48Days.com.  Last date for submissions – May 10th.  I’ll announce the winning suggestions in the May 18th newsletter.

Incidentally I’m standing beside the tree simply to give you a perspective on the size of this carving.  And yes, people have already made reference to the “bald eagle” next to the tree so you can skip that.

So let your creativity begin: Send your suggestion to eagle@48Days.com.

For-profit or non-profit?

April 26, 2010

On December 3, 2009, the Philadelphia City Council voted unanimously to pass a bill that creates a new sustainable business tax credit of US$4,000 for B Corporations—certified socially responsible companies (1). The decision could be a sign of what’s to come: new legislation that provides incentives for businesses to operate in a socially beneficial manner.

There are so many variations of us who are doing “ministry,” ethical capitalism, green, organic, fair-trade, eco-capitalism, humanitarian, social  entrepreneurship or just serving customers well.  I’m not sure how much benefit or restriction the legal structures provide – or inhibit.

We’re seeing some new categories emerging around the world.  In the UK, the “Community Interest Company” (CIC) enables an organizer to run a business for the benefit of the community rather than for the benefit of the owners of the company. In the US, the latest innovation is the low-profit, limited liability company or L3C, which simplifies compliance with IRS rules for yet another hybrid structure.

I met Tom Szacky recently – founder of TerraCycle – what an exciting business.   Totally for-profit, yet they are changing the world in the way we view “trash” and they’re raising millions for charities.  I think we’re seeing a positive correction from the American corporations that have been raping their communities and customers.  The internet has made everyone more transparent with fewer opportunities to hide behind skanky business practices.

Bottom line – I think the legal structure we choose is less important than having a worthy mission to fulfill.  Your mission will drive how you do business, regardless of what’s in your corporate charter paperwork.

Finding Your Pot of Gold

April 20, 2010

Gold was discovered in California in the spring of 1848.  By May of 1848 reports were flying that “there was more gold than all the people in California could take out in fifty years.”  28-year-old Samuel Brannan opened a small supply store at John Sutter’s Fort, right in the heart of the gold rush.  Brannan purchased a little vial of gold and traveled the hundred miles back to San Francisco.  As he stepped off the train, he swung his hat, waved the bottle and shouted, “Gold! Gold! Gold!  By the middle of June, three quarters of the male population had left town for the gold mines near Sutter’s Fort.

Brannan never looked for gold, but selling shovels, picks and supplies to the wide-eyed miners made him California’s first millionaire.  His store was selling as much as $5000 a day (about $140,000 in 2010 dollars) in goods to the miners.

Did all the miners find their “pot of gold?”  Not a chance.  Most of them wasted time and meager resources only to return to their original homes, poor and discouraged.

So where are you looking for income opportunities?  In the last ten years thousands of people jumped on the computer bandwagon, believing that programming, web design and software development were the only real sources of wealth.  As you know, not everyone going in this direction has become wealthy?  But are there associated opportunities with this area of focus – absolutely! 

In the last ten years the number of massage therapists has quadrupled.  (Our massage therapist comes to our house every Friday afternoon.  People who work on computers all day are prime candidates for massage.

I have a friend here in Nashville who produced a red “panic button” that fits over any key on your computer keyboard.  She has now sold over 100,000 at $1.50 each.  A convent even ordered 10 PANIC buttons.

I have talented young musician friends who are not trying to be the next Alan Jackson but are generating significant income selling guitar straps, personalized drum sticks and a book on How to make it in the music industry.

Is it possible that in your own search for “gold” you are overlooking the opportunity to become a millionaire by selling picks and shovels?

Secure but miserable…

March 22, 2010

Here’s a question that’s very similar to others I receive about ten times a week:

Dan, I have been working at a job for about 2 years, and I’m completely miserable.  The pay is decent and also the benefits/yearly bonus. But I just can’t stand the job.  I have an idea for a great business that I would love but I’m terrified of leaving the “security” of my regular “job.”

Being secure in something where you are miserable is an oxymoron and an illusion.  If you are miserable you are not providing your best work.  And if you are not providing your best work you are not as valued as you may think.  Your misery is very likely obvious – and thus, management is probably already looking for ways to cover your responsibilities.

Your real risk is not in leaving to try something new but in thinking you can just stay where you are and keep things the same.

Here are five tips for having the courage to start your own business:

  1. Recognize “risk” is the sense that you are not in control.  Preparation reduces risk dramatically.
  2. Start with your passion – build the business idea around that.
  3. Share your idea with everyone.  No one succeeds alone.  Find people whose skills compliment your own.
  4. Recognize that enthusiasm is contagious.  Your enthusiasm will act as a talent and money magnet.
  5. Create a clear plan in advance.  You can’t hit a target you can’t see.

Sometimes the biggest risk is in not taking one.

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“Excellence is the result of caring more than others think is wise; risking more than others think is safe; dreaming more than others think is practical and expecting more than others think is possible.”

Is this a scam?

March 3, 2010

Here at 48Days we field a lot of questions where readers want to know if something being promoted is a scam.  Just today someone wanted to know about a Robert Kiyosaki business idea.  The dictionary defines “scam” as to obtain money from somebody by dishonest means.

If someone asks you to send $4000 as a processing fee so he can release his uncle’s money from Nigeria and share the windfall with you, trust me, you’re being scammed.  But most ideas are not that easy to read.

If you see a training course to teach you how to write your own book and after spending $495 you didn’t get a deal from any major publisher, were you scammed?  If you spent $1250 for a windshield repair business and never even recaptured your investment, were you scammed?  What about if you went to an investment training seminar and then proceeded to lose your own capital?  If you purchased a business opportunity to do medical billing – which included you buying an expensive computer system, and then you found out the only key to success in this is being able to market and sell your services, were you scammed?

I have purchased thousands of dollars worth of seminars, workshops, training programs and business opportunity products over the years.  I consider this an integral part of my ongoing learning process.  Yes, I have a library of “millionaire” tapes that provided little useful information, “business opportunities” that consisted of photocopied government forms, teleclasses where there was too much background noise to hear the presenter, and hot cashew vending machines that quickly produced moldy products.

But I have never considered that I was scammed.

The real key is to see the learning that takes place for you in this process.  Not every college course offered any real value – but it was part of a larger process to help you clarify your best options.  I recently worked with a young couple who had just sent over $20,000 to an invention company that promised them wealth and fortune.  We know they will never see any return on the very ordinary ideas they submitted.  But my counsel to them is that some people are sitting in classrooms spending $20,000 a year hoping to get a good idea here and there, and some people are getting their “education” in other ways.  Either way, it’s a legitimate way to be moving toward the right idea for your ultimate success.

Bottom Line:  There’s less risk from getting “Scammed” than there is from doing nothing.