Getting It Up

Locally renowned entrepreneur (and my old friend) Ernie Epplethorpe is starting another new business, Excellent Ernest’s X-Ray Emporium. He sent me a copy of the message he spammed around, partly so I’d know what he’s up to and partly in case I wanted to bid the job. (I didn’t.)

Website designers: I’d like to create I’ve been working on it myself but have started to realize I might be better served getting grants for the business and hiring a designer. If you are interested (and are seriously affordable) please call me. Thanks!

No sooner had I responded to that message than a new client did show up in the dooryard. A local dipswitch manufacturer named Dudley Donato is moving from his garage operation to a shared new building in the county industrial development park in Puffin Center. Mr. Donato needs to install some new packers and to scale up his order fulfillment technology since most orders are either for one or two switches or for one or two pallet loads.

Dudley Donato’s Dependable Dipswitches and Excellent Ernest’s X-Ray Emporium. Really. I couldn’t make this stuff up.

We’ll have new equipment on Mr. Donato’s dock by the end of February.

I told Mr. Epplethorpe that we’re not cheap enough but I did advise that he would be well served by concentrating on his core strengths and hiring (somebody) out to do the jobs he doesn’t want or can’t do.

That’s Business Startup 101.

There’s a caveat, though.

Mr. Epplethorpe, despite the grandeur of his newest corporate name, is a sole proprietor. Here’s what I asked — and told — him:

Are you working the requisite 80 billable hours/week? If not, are you working 80 hours/week on something that will lead to something billable? Are you motivated enough to do it yourself?

If those answers are no and no and no, Are you a good enough HTML jockey and are you also good enough at marketing? If so, your own time might be better spent on webwork than on other activities.

New business owners have a perennial problem. When there is enough time, there is never enough money to do a job. When there is enough money, there is never enough time.

We’ve all seen the new “Coming Soon!” restaurant in town not open and not open and not open while the owners slave with spackling and paintbrushes and oven wiring. Not much money coming in the doors when the doors aren’t open. The best argument to plan for outside help is this: has yet to go live and Mr. Donato’s dipswitches are switching on and off already.

The Great Female Vocalist (rock/pop/country singer-songwriter) of last week just finished submitting a new song to the Library of Congress. “It is so easy now that everything is done electronically,” she told me. “Some artists have ‘people’ to do this stuff. I am my people. Hey, I think I’ll have a company party tonight.”

It was a great party.

2 thoughts on “Getting It Up

  1. Opening a new buisness is risky. Mostly, it requires capital, and the more capital you have the more risky it is because you have more to lose.

    Years ago I opened a sewing machine business because women were no longer doing much of that nor teaching their daughters how to do it; so, wholesale sewing machines from Japan were cheap. It seemed like a good idea at the time.

    I bought about $3,000 worth of machines and opened a small shop in an old Jewish neighborhood. It never occurred to me that the business should have a name; so, I just put a sign out front that read *SEWING MACHINES*. It did not require much money to open the shop, and even less to close it a month later after I had sold most of the machines at below wholesale. There was a lesson to be learned from that, but I did not know what it was, so I never learned it.

    Years later I went into business again — this time, trucking. I knew nothing about trucks except that they make a lot of noise and are mostly greasy. Fortunately my partner was truckwise, and we grossed several million dollars over the next decade. We called the business R&G Trucking because of our first name initials. And he got top billing.

    One day I came home so dirty and greasy that Mrs Poleczech made me strip off in the garage where she hosed me down with a box of Tide and a longhandle janitor’s broom. A month later I was out of the trucking business and once again wearing nice clothing.

    My partner stayed in the business and grossed another mill before he passed away in 2001. I delivered his Eulogy and gave him full credit for our success. We buried him with a full set of Craftsman tools. It was his wife’s idea because she didn’t want them around the house.

    A few days ago I visited my storage locker at U-Stor-It, and took a mental inventory of the contents. If anyone wants to buy some Jap sewing machines, I can let you have them cheap.

    — George

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