We all know the stories of the simple idea that translated into gigantic international business: Let’s make good coffee quick and accessible and fancy it up with some foreign words! Let’s help people connect with each other via computers! Let’s skip the bookstore and get books — and now everything else under the sun — delivered right to our doors!
From Small Idea to Gigantic Success
Starbucks, Facebook, and Amazon are only three examples among countless other good ideas that have gone from small business to huge corporation in fairly short order. But it’s still kind of amazing when you think about their beginnings, which are very similar to the beginnings of any entrepreneurial enterprise.
Really, it can be broken down into a pretty simple list:
- Have good idea.
- Gather funds.
Over the last year, we’ve taken the time to chat with businesses in our area about how they started, how they’re doing, and what’s next. They’re all published in our newsfeed if you want to read the posts in their entirety. Or you can just browse snippets below that might inspire you to get underway, forge on, or simply leap and watch as your net magically appears.
Small Business Insights, Lessons, Advice, and Wisdom
“The best advice I can give is to take the leap. If you continue to do part-time, you won’t succeed. I have never met anyone who took the leap and failed.” Ryan Kelley, Standard Bike Repair
“Be crystal clear about what you want to do. You can’t start a business on a whim – you need to map out every detail. It’s important to have an in-depth understanding of all the angles of your business and industry. And no matter what industry you’re in, you’ve got to understand accounting (i.e. – know your fixed and variable expenses!)” MJ Vacco, Martino’s Pizzeria
“When we started we had a small pumpkin patch with one tractor and one wagon and we sold a few tickets. I think we had a cooler with some pop in it in case someone got thirsty. Now we have seven ticket windows, online sales, and on a busy Saturday, as long as the weather’s good, we’ll see thousands of people come through here.” Brenda Anderson, Anderson Farms
She took everything she’d learned about food and created a business where employees wanted to come into work because they enjoyed the culture and where the customers wanted the food because it was nourishing and tasty. It irritates her that, often, gluten-free food simply isn’t delicious. “I just went for it,” she says. “I wanted a place where even your grandpa who comes to town and scoffs at your diet could enjoy it.” Christine Ruch, Fresh Thymes Eatery
“My philosophy was, if they will come, I’ll build it.” Jeff Hersh, The Picture Booth
“I really feel like I’m continuing to give something back. So many people walk through that door wanting to build a connection because they’re out there doing incredible work in the world.” Chelsea Cook, Momentum
“My responsibility is to get this product to as many people as possible. My goal is regional — I don’t want to become a behemoth that ships all over the country. I want to source locally, employ local people, support families. And animals. That’s what this is all about.” Sandy Bosben, Marty’s Meals
“I want people to come and hang out, with laptops or kids, have a place with some kind of meaning and resonance to it,” Andy says. He doesn’t regret all the years he invested in the corporate world, going to sales meetings or learning fundamentals. “All the steps you take are critical on your journey to get here, and you’re on this path for a reason. When the time is right, you’ll be able to open your own joint.” Andy Clark, Moxie Bread Co.
Z says that every day, in business and life, opportunities present themselves but people are often too scared to act. He credits his success not to having everything figured out, but rather to seizing opportunities. Z’s key to reducing stress is to live in the moment. He’s found that when he focuses on the present , rather than fretting over the past or worrying about the future, there’s not much left to be stressed about. Z Robison, Curating the Cool
- Be prepared to work really hard.
- Love what you’re doing.
- It will probably cost more than you think.
- Don’t be afraid to try.
- Use what you can to do what you can. Lesley Kaczeus, Bootstrap Brewing