Recent Posts

Social Enterprise Academy Day 4

Randy White shared the characteristics of a social entrepreneur. He made an analogy from Proverbs 31, often titled The Wife of Noble Character. Randy pointed out that the characteristics of a Noble Wife can also be the characteristics of a social entrepreneur. The text lists […]

How to Make a Web Site for Your Startup

How to Make a Web Site for Your Startup

Your business needs a website. It’s not hard to make a site, but it is important! I always tell entrepreneurs that you can pay for a website one of two ways: with money or with time. Having a website legitimizes your business, and it can […]

Reading for Entrepreneurs: The $100 Startup

Reading for Entrepreneurs: The $100 Startup

You guys really responded to my previous post, Reading for Entrepreneurs: The Lean Startup! It’s become one of the most-viewed pages on this site. We continue today with a review of Chris Guillebeau’s great book, The $100 Startup.

I tried to read this book twice. The first time, it pissed me off. All the talk of easy money and simple steps clashed pretty strongly with my experience, which told me that starting a successful business take a lot of strain and effort. I returned a few years later to finish the book and found it delightful on my second read.

The thing that convinced me that Chris Guillebeau isn’t out of touch is that he talked with 1500 different entrepreneurs, and their stories are liberally sprinkled throughout the book. It also draws from his own experience. This points to the deep truth that different people can engage in the entrepreneurial process in different ways, with different end results. The way you think about what you do matters.

“The way you think about what you do matters.”

The real value of The $100 Startup is that it removes the myth that you need to invest a lot of money to start a business. See, for example, the story of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream. They started with $8,000. For some tactics, you can also see the slides from the talk I gave at the #SOENT17 Social Enterprise Conference about How to Get Started with Hardly Any Money. (Also, if you’re interested, there’s a video of the talk here.)

The $100 Startup moves the emphasis from investing money toward providing value for customers. Guillebeau also emphasizes action over planning, which dovetails nicely with the Lean Startup methodology discussed over here.

But my favorite part of The $100 Startup is the stories of successful entrepreneurs who started with very little money. Like most humans, I love learning through stories, and inspiration is at least an important as content in learning entrepreneurship.

Have you read The $100 Startup? Did you like it? Hate it? Leave a comment and let me know.

Enjoy the reading!

Social Enterprise Academy Day 3

Social Enterprise Academy Day 3

At the beginning of Day 3, Randy White shared about soul care for the social entrepreneur. After getting an update from each entrepreneur, Andrew Shinn taught business modeling – how to plan and project for success. Participants learned about pricing, cost of goods sold, monthly […]

Pricing Magic Video Course now available!

Pricing Magic Video Course now available!

Over the past few years, I’ve used Pricing Magic to help hundreds of entrepreneurs start their businesses profitably. Today I’m excited to announce that the kit is also available as a video course! For those of us who learn visually (which is almost all of […]

Lessons in Entrepreneurship from Ben and Jerry’s

Lessons in Entrepreneurship from Ben and Jerry’s

I’ve been really enjoying Guy Raz’s excellent How I Built This podcast on NPR. When I was listening to an episode with Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream fame, I noticed a few lessons that today’s entrepreneurs could learn.

  1. When Ben and Jerry were picking the site for their first ice cream shop, they stood out on street corners with handheld Tally Counters to count foot traffic. This is an excellent Lean Startup-style experiment, and one that only requires hustle and work (and a tally counter). They were making cheap, practical, data-driven decisions, even at a very early stage in their company.
  2. They started with only $8,000 of invested startup capital. And they taught themselves about making ice cream via a correspondence course.
  3. When Ben and Jerry wrote their first business plan for funding, they didn’t know what they were doing. They used a business plan from a pizza restaurant to guide them. When they were finished running their projections, they realized that they would have to set higher sales targets to stay in business. So they set higher sales targets and did what it took to reach them. This is an EXCELLENT example of the value to be gained from planning and projections. This is exactly the kind of insights that you should surface while you’re doing planning and business modeling.

If you want to read more about the Ben and Jerry’s story, you can check out the classic, “Ben & Jerry’s: The Inside Scoop: How Two Real Guys Built a Business with a Social Conscience and a Sense of Humor“:

Social Enterprise Academy – Resources from Day 2

For day 2, we heard from Brice Yocum, Rex B, and Miles Sebesta. Stuff Brice shared: Change by Design by Tim Brown Design thinking: Empathize, Define, Ideate, Prototype, Test Fairness is overrated. Don’t serve everyone: serve one group with excellence. You can’t swing at every […]

Social Enterprise Academy

Social Enterprise Academy

 Here’s a gallery version of these photos. Today marked the first day of the Social Enterprise Academy run by the Center for Community Transformation at Fresno Pacific University. I’ve been privileged to get to work on this project as a writer, an entrepreneurship advisor, […]

Businesses my students are launching

I’m privileged to teach business and entrepreneurship at Fresno Pacific University. This semester, my students in Seminar in Strategic Management are launching businesses. Here are a few of the projects they’re working on:

For Freedom Flags

These patriotic decor pieces are great gifts for veterans, police officers, firefighter, and other heroes and patriots.

Altered Marketing

This dynamic duo is offering social media marketing consulting for small businesses. Any business that needs more traffic or wants to sell more should look them up!

Wisdom Watchers

These caring helpers take care of the daily household needs of older people. They help people living on their own to stay independent for longer, and they provide peace of mind for anyone responsible for an older relative.

Cell Now

These recycle-preneurs take used or broken electronics and give them a new life before selling them overseas to people who don’t have access to the latest gadgets.

T.H.E. Detail Kings

These hard-working guys help to protect the investment you’ve made in your car. They make your used car feel like a new car for only a fraction of the price!

The.Design.Dude

These guys make unique stickers, delivered with a unique experience!

Renegade Shirts

These guys deliver custom, classy t-shirts for military members and firearms enthusiasts. They also offer military unit t-shirts at a good price and right when they’re needed.

String It On

This team makes custom string art wall art (backed by good stories) for home stagers and moms with kids.

Which project is your favorite? Which one(s) do you want more information about?

How valuable are brands?

Taio Cruz, in his 2010 song Dynamite, sings, “I came to dance, dance, dance, dance I hit the floor ’cause that’s my plans, plans, plans, plans I’m wearin’ all my favorite brands, brands, brands, brands Give me some space for both my hands, hands, hands, […]