Discussion in 'Tin Foil Hat Lounge' started by MorisWebb, Nov 10, 2017.
What are the main steps in creating a successful business? Share your experience!!
In business, as in life, the first step is to introduce yourself. Make yourself known to the community in such a way that they see you as someone they would want to do business with.
Kinda like how we suggest you make an introduction thread in the introductions forum... kinda.
New Member Introductions
And why the heck is this in the tin foil hat lounge?
Because it's spam?
Might well be spam, but for anyone trying to get out of the city, suburbs, east or west coast, establish a retreat or just move to a safer area if TSHTF, it is a critical question. Unless you are very wealthy or retired on a good pension, you need money to live on, to stock up on preps and infrastructure, to purchase land, structures etc. The majority of the "small" businesses I see started are doomed from day one and are money traps that will destroy what resources you have accumulated. You either have to find a niche market, may be pasture pork, small engine repair, snowplowing route, etc, or work for someone and you will do much better as a machinist, teacher, etc, than working for Mikey D or his cousins. If you look at small down towns and old strip malls in New England, you will find numerous craft shops, antique shops, small restaurants and coffee shops, thrift shops, dollar stores, etc all slowly going under as the people who own them spend many hours a week trying to keep them going. The one saving grace is that so many people no longer know how to do anything and painting, small housing repairs, roto tilling and garden prep, plant starts that don't come from a mass merchant pre loaded with the latest diseases, decorative plants outdoor plants , organic local grown food, etc are all viable ways to make some extra money if not a sustainable living.
Still a good question in that many like the concept of being self employed or owning their own business now days.
1. Have a product or service that is marketable.
2. Brand yourself and expose yourself. But limit that exposure to why your product or service is best served by you. In my case I expose myself too much but, there is 1/3 of my life that stays strictly private.
3. Brand your product or service, yes selling yourself is more important than putting your product front and center. I build my business image on being the grumpy, will say anything without filter whether you want to hear it or not and being 100% honest in everything. It doesn't hurt that I have well above average products.
4. Make the business customer inclusive. People like being a part of the product they are buying. "Hey my feed back and suggestions went into the development of this Sausage or Menu item!" And they buy with pride.
5. More sales at a lower price earns more than less sales at a higher price. More so when you have one of the best if not the best products in the local area.
6. Treat your loyal long time customers like platinum bars, new regular customer like gold bars, occasional but dependable customers like silver bars and flaky here today and gone tmrw customers like copper pennies. Those Platinum and Gold bar friends/customers that spend $5,000-$10,000 per year with you year in and year are your back bone, the Silver bar friends/customers are the gravy on the biscuit and the Copper Customers are just a pain in the ass more often than not. Someone that is going to spend thousands per year with me is always going to bet the best deals and more often than not a 5%-20% discount. They are customers that have been with me 5-20 years and you can count on them.
7. Never Ever lie to any customer, better to lose a sale and be honest than to feed a line of BS and and have that spread. Always honor your agreements written or verbal.
My qualifications I own a landscape company, 2 farmers markets, a small direct marketing farm, and am in process of finishing up a commercial kitchen for a commissary for two mobile food trailer to operate out of. And been in business and self employed for 30 years now and earn better than a average living. And in that time watched hundreds of other start up and fail and a few others succeed. Watch what others do and what works and what does not work, saves you a lot of reinventing the wheel.
Thank you for the advice Thunder5Ranch. In the last 50 years I have known several people ruined by the old How to Succeed in Business courses or marketing schemes or college business courses. I have much more confidence in someone who has made it work.
I believe Bonnie and Clyde went into the banking business....they built a notable reputation, and interesting customer relations....it was a business model that wasn't destined to last though.
Ooo, nice wun Chell!!!! Lol, you might be on the hook for a laptop if I can' get the coffee mopped up out of it!
I am starting to believe that much of the business news on TV defiantly belongs in the tin foil hat area, God knows it hasn't the least touch of either reason or sanity. Bitcoin anyone? Or companies valued in stock in $ billions that have never made a dime? Or oil drilling companies that have never made a profit? Seems like the major business model is to sell stock at ever higher prices to ever bigger fools.
Or outfits like Tesla that exist and make billions on our tax dollars. Although I think Elon might have been a hair in the black the last year or two.
I actually have a MBA and should have stopped with finance and business 101 in the classes. The Psychology Assc. has proven much more valuable in business than the MBA ever has. Understanding the numbers is not difficult understanding people and being able to make sound judgements about them in body language alone not so easy but far more beneficial..
I should add a #8. to that list. Discipline. Three things I see that lead to failure in all businesses. A Lack of Discipline, High Debt to Asset ratios, And a lack of knowledge about the business, products and clientele. And it usually a combination of the three that leads to a painful death over the course of 1-3 years. I have advised many people getting into the small farm to fork or farm to market business START SMALL AND GROW WITH YOUR MARKET. SPEND AT LEAST ONE YEAR and preferably THREE years working as a intern or hired hand on a established and successful farm. None ever listen and run out and finance a 5 acre to 100 acre piece of land, finance a new Truck in $40,000-$60,000 range, Finance a new Kubota Tractor for $35-$40K drop $10,000 on a BCS Walk Behind and attachments, $8,000 on a bed shaper and mulch layer and their experience in the field consist of visting a few farms and reading the book about the guy that makes 1.5 mil per year on 1 1/4 acres of lettuce and quick crops. Then they figure out the hard way that old boy makes most of that 1.5 mil selling people like them books and videos about how to make 1.5 mil. In the meantime they have Zero Marketing skills, that 5 acres is a full time job with all the over time you can afford to work to take care of and is quickly over grown in weeds, and they are struggling to make $100-$150 per week in gross sales. Then trying to figure out how to find the time to get jobs and cry about it not being possible to earn a living wage from a small farm. But hey why listen to the guy that earns 6 figures per year and started out with nothing but some seed, a shovel, and old half broke down tiller. There are dues to be paid, a learning curve to be climbed and a customer base to build. I don't care how good your product is, if you can't sell it, the product is worthless. If you don't have the discipline to be your own boss and a harsh boss at that, you are not going to be a good business owner.
People also love to get into pissing matches and caught up in being a competitor. My mind set has always been and will always be....... The only one I am competing with his my self and he is the most challenging adversary I will ever face. Sure I have a good network of information and there is very little that goes on in SI Local and Regional food that I am not aware of. That info allows me to make good decisions on where to go, what to grow, and how saturated different market areas will be and adjust myself accordingly. But as far as competing I just don't get into that nonsense, although I hear often that a lot of people consider themselves to be my competitor. Honestly I want everyone to do good and carve out their own market share. But I guess for some it is easier to trash those that are successful and try to take their market share. And it almost always ultimately blows up in their face. It is bad when I can look at a new start up, talk to the owner one time and run a 99% right track record as to whether they will survive past 3 years. Even worse there are a couple dozen of us that will bend over backwards with advice and planning and even marketing to help new folks get up and running. Very few will accept that, because they read a book, visited a farm and watched a video and are to busy knowing everything to learn anything. This is not unique to small farming either. I have been raising hogs and chickens on and off for 40 years with a break during my military service and even when living like a Hobo saving money to buy my own farm and equipment I still fed myself with a garden, some hogs and some chickens, and sold the excess to add to the farm fund. So 20 years ago when I bought the final farm, livestock and equipment I could pay cash for everything and own everything outright with Zero debt. First farm was 6 acres and I lived in a old camper and still worked a full time and part time job and worked the 6 acres and was exhausted wore out and cranky for 10 solid years earning and saving every dime I could. Now days everyone wants everything RIGHT NOW including the success and income that can only come through hard work, discipline and being consistent. Then they point and say "It was easy for you, you have everything." Go back in time 30 years ago and I was struggling, saving, and planning for my future and often doing work I absolutely hated to earn the right to be where I am now.
One of the great things about America is EVERYONE has the absolute right to try and succeed at anything they want to. No where is it written that everyone has the right to succeed. Not everyone is cut out to be a business owner, in fact most folks are not. And that is OK nothing wrong with being an employee and hopefully the stability that goes with it. It is a lot of stress staying in compliance, paying the bills, staying up to date on the ever increasing regulations, paying payroll, dealing with mayors, city councils and chambers of commerce, doing the Corporate, Farm and Personal taxes, writing the check to the IRS, planning and making contingency plans, wondering if you made the right call on any number of decisions that have to be made every day. LOL then you have the bad year where your hired hands earn more per week than you do LOL and then bitch about deserving $15.00 per hour instead of the $10-$12 per hour you pay. Yeah I could have taken that MBA and been earning six figures by now working for someone else and not having all the headaches that go a long with being a business owner. But then I would not be the boss and I would be subject to someone elses rules and not my own and TBH I am just a terrible employee when it comes to being subordinate to anyone else. You should hear the arguments when I get insubordinate with myself LOL. I threaten to fire myself almost every day
OK, probably the best post I have ever seen on developing a self sufficient alternative lifestyle, the pro's and con's, tips from people who have done it and some warnings about the pitfalls in doing so. As near as I can figure out, it was started by a spam question and placed in the tin foil hat section. I have no idea what would have developed if placed in a "correct" area, I have enjoyed this very much and learned a lot. Thank you all.
Hard to be self sufficient and on the fringe and not be broke unless you are retired, rich or self employed LOL. There just are not many job opportunities that will meet the needs if you go full rural out in the sticks.
Find a need, in an area of business you understand, and fill it. I spent 32 years in the banking business but wrote a piece of software in 1995 for my bank to use. 5 years later the company that did our computer processing ask if they could sell it for me to their other banks which I agreed to allow. Since 2000 that piece of software had made me a living and still makes me $1400 a month. I have other software as well. I am not a good programmer, but I knew what a home run looked like in the banking business and I pounded away until I got it right. You can't hit a home run in a game you don't know how to play.
Go to work for some asshat.
Learn the trade/business.
Steal all his customers because you provide a service better than his.
Never work out of you pocket.
Never trust your partner.
Always have a two signature check banking system.
Learn how to do your own books.
Have a good CPA.
Live long and prosper.
And legal beagle. When you steal all those customers, asshat will be on you like an octopus.
HK_User in this day and age in the trades, there are many older people who have no family etc who wish to take over the business and are often willing to let you take over their customer base as they retire or semi retire. In addition there are many areas where a need exists and no one is filling it. Other than stealing the customer base, the rest of the comments are well worth considering. With most of us, the comment on the two signature checking system and never trusting your partner, are very correct. Our biggest danger is our selves and our impulsive actions, as Garth Brooks puts it, Thank God for unanswered prayers, and often having someone else to discuss things with and who will realistically question your expenditures is the key to success in business and in life. I am impulsive and tend to do things quickly, my wife of close to 50 years is very "'frugal" and I am the first to admit that most of the success in our lives has come from her council. In this day and age the need for a good set of books, a good CPA, and a knowledge of the rules and regulations and in truth a good insurance policy, are essential, as there are too many people out there, including the government, who are trying to make a living by either not paying their bills, or suing someone else for any reason they can come up with, and Satan only knows why the bureaucrats and their rules exist. Success in life seems to be .directly linked to learning a trade, business, skill, etc and practicing it. Seems like most people with money that I know got in one of two ways, hard work or the inheritance of money made by someone's hard work. Today, work may be physical or mental, a good idea, app, or program, is as likely to make you succeed as a good farm or business.
In my case he was of the old school and was ready to screw any one any way he could.
As soon as I figured out his "profit shearing" was a set of platinum hand cuffs I started to do some shearing of my own since it was clear everyone who had left his employment left empty handed I figured to prove my worth to him and OUR customers. Had he been an honest man I would have worked there the rest of my life.
Never took any thing but the knowledge in my head and the good will I had developed with my customers.
No Legal Beagle would take his case.
Again excellent advice based on real world experiences and an example, perhaps really needed in the tin foil hat area, that everything isn't always as first observations would seem to indicate. Thank you.
I have never been without a means of earning some income. I have played guitar in recording studios, on stages and on street corners with an open guitar case. I have dug fence post holes, cleared land, painted houses, roofed, built barns, and fished. I am about to invest in a rubber tire backhoe to use while constructing my cabin and will gladly barter services with neighbors. I have never desired to have much more than I need but always seem to, regardless. Sometimes things are tight, others, not so much. I plan and make back up plans and I follow through with them. I suppose that equals success.
Separate names with a comma.