Many of us take the entrepreneurial route for a host of different reasons as we try to carve out our path in life. Some are born into it, some want control over their livelihoods, others want to see their ideas and hard work flourish. As for me... Prior to jumping into the corporate world, I went into business because I was somewhat lost after college and jumped on the first opportunity that came to me. This opportunity began as a conversation I had in a gym and materialized into a door buzzer ringing in my apartment, which I almost did not answer because I was not sure I wanted to go in the direction of opening a business. I answered the door. Next thing I know I was headed to city hall with my new partner to get a business license. I borrowed some money from my parents while my partner sold his car. We opened up our first retail operation in a flea market. Needless to say this was a tough road but we knew there would be an interest if we did business the right way; with a store front operation.
The unknowns are always there when doing something for the first time. I think this cautious, well-thought-out approach (which, as it turns out, we didn't even know we were actually taking) made us slow down and review every step we took. Sounds like meticulous planning but, at the time, we didn't know this. We built out the location, got the box signs up, the window neon installed, the inventory situated, the floor room set up and BAM! We were open. From day one, people came in the door and our first 1,500 square foot fitness store was a huge success. We didn't even know what success was or why we were succeeding. Thinking we were a huge success because we were turning a profit (profit in this case can be described as cash distributed every Sunday night to be carried in a fanny pack), we quickly and haphazardly opened a second and third location. We quickly found out just because one store was profitable, opening more may not lead to more success. Actually, our brand spanking new, hot-looking stores bombed. Want to talk about crickets? It failed due to lack of planning and not allowing the first plan to take root so we could learn from it. It failed because each new venture has to be built on education, experience and know-how gained from previous ventures. Well, considering our first venture was not even a full year old… Oh, brother.
Painfully, but wisely, we closed down all of the stores to open one larger and more centralized operation. This store saw us learn the market, learn the client base, and learn the industry. What we thought we were good at we found we were horrible at, and what we felt was bad business turned out to be sound business practice. Opening, operating, maintaining, and striving in a small business is not easy, but if you stay true to your passion and goal, you will find yourself in a good position for success. The article below highlights many areas you all probably are aware of. Even though my entrepreneurial career was a success I did not have the internal fortitude to continue it because my path was to deliver my experience to others so they can find their path. I applaud the folks who stay true to their entrepreneurial spirit and it is just another reason why we work hard to help them put themselves in the best possible position for success.