My First DAY in Business. Everything Starts with an IDEA/PRODUCT and a SALE..

Morning Folks!!

I never told this story before and it is just one story embedded in all the other stories and there are even stories within this story. I know nothing about STARTING a business with money. I only know how to start a business with the money in my pocket or a credit card. Now that does not mean you don't need money. But you don't need a lot of it when you have something good and the passion and know how to follow through.

If you want to be an idealist, that is all well and good. Go into politics. Business is a different playing field. Like baseball and football. Different game, different rules. If you are easily offended, business is not the best place to be. Business is about failure and rejection and dusting yourself off and trying again. So save the whining for the welfare office or political office.

Business is very simple but people make it complicated. Complicated fails almost all the time. Simple works almost all the time. Some folks go into business and from day one they also go into debt. They get in debt for the wrong things and wrong reasons. They get in debt because of bad decisions. They get in debt by doing things in the wrong order and at the wrong time.

The first thing is not getting an office and employees. That is the LAST thing you do. The first thing you do is make a sale. PERIOD! MAKE A SALE. When you make a sale FIRST, you have income. When you do ANYTHING else first you have debt.

With income you are free to do more things. With debt you put chains and locks on your future. Sorry, I am a very simple guy. No business should cost you more than pocket change to get off the ground. Off the ground means making your first sale. But you can’t stop there. You need sale #2 and sale #3. If you can make 3 sales in a short period of time, you have a business. If you can’t make those 3 sales, you got something else. If you can’t get to 3 you can’t get to 30 or 300 or 3000. You need 3. Period the end.

If you don’t have something to sell….then what are you doing? Why are you doing it? You don’t even need the product to sell it. You need the idea. You need a picture. You need a sample. And most importantly, you need a profit. That profit has to be substantial. If you don’t have these elements……you are digging ditches, filling in the ditch you dug and then feeling great on all that you accomplished or feel rejected for working so hard and not accomplishing anything. So many fall into these groups it is plain sad!

Sure, there are start up costs for most businesses. But you can control that and climb the mountain one stage at a time or you can try and leap the entire way and that often leads to disaster.

We are all going to be in multiple businesses along this path. Warren Royal never planned to be the bobble had king. Jeff Reynolds never planned to be the #1 flag supplier in the USA and maybe beyond by now. None of us are planning for what is coming. But it has a way of finding us. These businesses were created only because they ended up with a domain name. It then became their life's work. Not planned. It just happens when you are on the right path in life and do what you are supposed to do and see things in the right manner.

How do you know it when you see it? Training, awareness, follow through and know how.

3 weeks after I got fired from my last job in life I started selling my lighting product I found and tracked down the source. Long before I ever went to Asia, I would buy for $3 a foot and sell it for as much as $15.50/foot. But most was at $6 a foot. In time my costs went down. It went down to as low as 35 CENTS a foot. So am I supposed to sell for 70 cents a foot? HELL NO!! My prices only changed a little. It went down to $5/ft but would allow me to compete for the large orders. Did I ever sell at 70 cents? NEVER! $1? NEVER! $1.50? NEVER. $2? $3. You bet! But that was for large orders. I could have increased my volume going big, but I let others have THAT business. I went for what was profitable and still plentiful. My bottom line was just as good as theirs, but they did a lot more work and took more risk than I did. I was semi-retired and that time eventually allowed me to get 800 numbers and domain names.

You don’t have to be the biggest. You don’t even have to be the best. You just focus on a place with plenty of fish and be satisfied with the abundance you have there instead of going where all the others fish. They will always work longer and harder and end up with the same amount of fish. So knowing that, you can use your new found time chasing new found solutions that may or may not work. The others will never have that luxury. They don’t have the time. They are bigger, have employees, offices, warehouses and all the rest of the trappings. Headaches too. I just had passion and a garage.

My first sale of my lighting product was to my Dry Cleaners. Really! My next 2 sales were in New York City at 4:30 in the afternoon on a Friday in April. I made a beeline from my Dry Cleaner to “The belly of the beast” as I would call New York City. I knew if I could sell it there, I could sell it anywhere. I made my second call, the first one in New York. SALE! I got in my car, drove around the corner to my next destination. SALE! I was on my way. I started the first 2 days of the week in North Carolina. I was in Florida mid week. I was in New York City on Friday. Cape Cod Friday night and Saturday. Back to Florida by Monday afternoon. In a car. A car that you will soon read put me in business more ways than one.

So it is now Tuesday. I needed money to buy the lighting product and have some inventory. I had no money. I had just lost my job after some 7 years as I describe in this post. All I had was a paid off 5 year old Mercedes Benz and the samples the supplier gave me. The bank told me they could not give me a loan on a 5 year old car. I knew the banker. She was a lady I knew for a few years. So she says to me, let me go ask the bank President. The bank President comes out of his office and asks what I have. I plug in the lights, toss it out on the floor. Everyone in the bank stopped what they were doing to look and the next words out of his mouth were: “Give him the money” True story. I walked out with $12,500 and that was enough to buy inventory for the orders I ALREADY HAD.

That was when banks were real. They would take a risk. They would bet on your success. He didn’t even ask me for a business plan. He just said, “Give him the money.” I don’t even know his name and the bank has been renamed more times than you can imagine. Would have surely liked to thank both of them.

Have a GREAT Day!

Rick Schwartz

And here is a little postscript. After I wrote this post on Monday morning, I LOCATED the lady at the bank from more than 25 years ago with a bit of searching. Thank you Google! And had to make a few calls but within 10 minutes was able to track her down. No longer in South Florida, but not that far away either. Another person pivotal to my success in life. Just that one simple act of asking the bank President, changed my life. One tiny fork in the road. I was able to call her, speak to her, thank her, learn who was the bank President at the time and agree to have lunch with her in the not too distant future. She made my day and I think I made her day as well.


8 thoughts on “My First DAY in Business. Everything Starts with an IDEA/PRODUCT and a SALE..

  1. Peter Winslade

    ” It is only rightly that one can see with the heart, what is essential is invisible to the eye.”
    Inspirational Rick cheers.

  2. steve

    I bet she pays for the lunch.
    This is business free free loading!
    Just kidding.
    All we need now is a picture of the lights!

  3. peter h

    Thanks for sharing this post Rick. Heartwarming and inspirational stories like this are the fuel that pushes us to aspire for something more.

  4. James

    That’s when bank managers had balls.
    I know you always say that numbers don’t lie – that’s true, but the numbers are only as good as the person using them. Investors invest in people, not plans. The perfect business plan is useless if those carrying it out are idiots. That bank President decided during one swift meeting that you were a good risk; you’d already got sales – the risk was minimal.
    Great story…can we have one a day please ;-)


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *