Entrepreneurship à la carte with Joe DeLoss

This week Joe DeLoss shared his succulent story of Hot Chicken Takeover. After experiencing the hot chicken craze first hand in Nashville, him and his wife thought there may be an opportunity to bring that delicious and scrumptious menu back to midwestern Columbus. Using friends as a test market, DeLoss served up his brainchild every time they came over to watch UFC on pay-per-view. Once validated, they started doing pop-up events outside. Uniquely, they made it a goal to waste no food which meant predicting demand for the whole day and often selling out right before the day’s end. Everything was going well with the outdoor gigs, but as the Ohio winter creeped upon us, Joe realized they needed to change models to support a year-round business. They made their next move to raise money for a food truck on Kickstarter. As support flooded in, it became apparent that managing the campaign, questions, and fulfillment would be a full-time job. Needless to say they were very successful, exceeding their goal of $40,000 by more than $20,000. After giving Kickstarter their share, paying for prizes, and fulfillment of those prizes, they were left with around $40,000. Still, they realized shortly after that a physical presence was necessary for them to better develop their teams and control costs. When they first approached North Market about getting a space they were told the business was still too infant to be placed among the top tier brands that North Market has to offer. But, a few months and 46,000 customers later, they now have their very own space in North Market.

Today, they have 26 employees, all of which they heavily invest in. Their workforce is approximately 40% high school and college students and 60% individuals with barriers to employment. Whether their barriers are their past or their current circumstances, Hot Chicken gives them the opportunity to grow their skills from entry up to management and establish the home and habits needed to maintain a consistent job.

Some key takeaways:
• Kickstarter campaigns are more expensive and time consuming than one may think
• Traction trumps all, if you need money, space, or anything else, numbers make you believable
• If you spend the time to develop your employees, make sure there is room for them to grow within your organization

A big thanks to Joe for serving up a great talk! If you want to check them out they are open Thursday-Sunday, 11:00 am – 3:00 pm at the North Market.

Q&A with Wil Schroter

This Wednesday, we had the pleasure of welcoming Wil Schroter, serial entrepreneur and Founder of Fundable, to be our final speaker for 2014. He engaged us with stories of his own experience, starting 7 companies, and the experience he’s had interacting with thousands of entrepreneurs through Fundable. A few key takeaways:

  • Not knowing enough to start a business is an excuse, you don’t need to be the smartest, or even have a degree.
  • Find something you’re so passionate about that it makes you jump out of bed in the morning. Successful people are tenacious, no matter what happens they keep running at the wall with an idea until they fall.
  • You have to be willing to get the problem wrong 100 times in a row and iterate like crazy until you create something valuable that you can charge for.
  • As an entrepreneur, at times you will feel like a fraud and ask yourself, “what the hell did I get myself into?” In the early stages there are very little indicators of success, often it breaks until it works or works until it breaks.
  • It can take 1-3 years to even find out if you’re in the right market, 3 years to get a footing, 7 years to build a real company, and 10 years to IPO.

Bottom line is that it takes an extraordinary amount of time, persistence, and problem solving to be successful.

As for Columbus, Wil said it’s so easy to live here, almost too easy for people to not go out of their comfort zone. In coastal cities, like San Francisco or New York, there are more stressed, but also enterprising, people because the cost of living is so high. On the other hand, Wil says Columbus people are awesome and some of the nicest people in the country! He sees an upward trend for entrepreneurship here at Ohio State, but thinks it is still in its very early stages. He also gave the Business Builder’s Club a tremendous compliment, calling it the “MIT of Ohio State” because it has the highest concentration of tenacious people. He and Fundable are waiting for the next big startup to put Columbus on the board, will it be yours?

Artie Isaac

A Night With Artie Isaac

Last night, we were pleased to welcome Artie Isaac to the Business Builders Club. Artie kept the crowd laughing while sharing a few stories about his career and life lessons he has picked up along the way. A few of the important take-aways:

  • You need to empty your cup before you can fill it with more tea – meaning that if you are searching for more fulfilling work or tasks, you must first reconsider the responsibilities that you have stacked on your plate. If you are not truly passionate about them, dump them and dump them quickly.
  • Forget all of the passwords – In this world, there are long term planners that think out 30 years, short term planners that think out to only one day, and everywhere in between. It is important to fill your team with people who plan at different intervals. If you miss the mark, you will end up doing the work of someone else.
  • Choose what matters to you – things like social drinking and watching football on Saturday may be the cultural norms, but they may be a big waste of time. Be judicious with your time and remember that you do not need to listen to social norms to be liked by your peers.
  • Many of the beliefs we’ve created simply aren’t true – trivial anger is often sparked by an activating event, but the real reason that anger exists within us is that something has violated our beliefs. If you want to rid yourself of anger, change your beliefs.
  • Creativity is a process, not a natural born ability – everybody is creative at their core, it’s all about realizing that creativity and letting it overcome you

Artie


 

Artie has graciously shared a collection of documents that he suggests using when a tough problem stands in your way. Feel free to browse and use accordingly.

  • For brainstorming or training, here is how I might be engaged
  • My promises, “the handshake document,” which he pledges to everyone he meets
  • Carry Forth!, the way to plan a creative adventure or lifetime legacy
  • Go [Artie]!, the complete 60-minute brainstorm tool, including “Company A / Company B”
  • Aritie’s Blog, on creativity, ethics and life — with a bookshelf of favorite books
  • A brief guide on how to run a brainstorm
  • Other organizing documents are here

We extend a huge thanks to Artie for joining the rest of the Business Builders Club to share some valuable lessons! Now go out there and get creative!

As always, Make Millions, Change the World, Wear Jeans.