Tag Archives: Entrepreneurial

Episode 78: Start a Small Scale Business to Test Your Idea | Ben Alexander, Founder of Balloon Distractions

Ben Alexander founder of Balloon DistractionsBen Alexander is the owner of Balloon Distractions, who appeared on an episode of the Shark Tank. He didn’t get a deal with any of the Sharks, but he gained a lot of experience through the process. He talks with us about his experience on the Shark Tank as well as with his business. His advice to start with a small scale business is something that resonates with me.

Ben Alexander started Balloon Distractions in the Fall of 2003, starting an adventure that continues to this day. Balloon Distractions has been a blessing in his life, and the lives of all those who have learned a new skill, income, confidence and poise.

 

Zeb’s Take – Start with a Small Scale Business

It was great talking to Ben today about his business, how he’s been able to grow it and get these balloons out there; get kids excited, helping out restaurants and helping get people extra income as well. He started his business on a small scale.

The thing I want to expand on is that many people when they start a business they take out a loan, or try to find investors, or take out a second mortgage, or something similar to invest all that money into an idea. All because people tell them it’s a great idea. Then when they take it to market, they don’t get the response (in terms of sales) that they’re looking for.

What you could do with a business is start on a small scale, a small scale business. If you have a product, a service or an idea or something you want to try, do it on as small a scale as possible. See if you can get sales from it, because sales is the most important thing for any business. You really need to go out and seek those sales first to know if you have a business or not.

On Shark Tank the always about sales. How many sales do you have? Some of the people who go on the show haven’t even pushed the sales side of things for their business and then they don’t really know if their business is profitable or not. It doesn’t matter what people say, it matters what people buy in business.

Keep that in mind. If you have an idea, you don’t need a grandiose business launch. Find an inexpensive way to put it out there and try to sell it with your small scale business. Sometimes you don’t even need to have the product to sell it, you can get people to buy into the idea of the product. If you can get people to put money down based on an idea then you know you are onto something. Nowadays there are crowdfunding sites (like Kickstarter and Indiegogo) that you can get people to buy your product before it’s even out there on the market. That’s an excellent way to test and see if people are legitimately  interested in the product or not.

Contact Ben Alexander at Balloon Distractions

BalloonDistractions.comballoon-distractions-logo
BenAlexander@balloondistractions.com
If you are interested in growing a region contact Ben, (813) 391-3895

Quotes

  • “It’s always a bit of a leap to go from being an employee or salesperson to being a full on entrepreneur. I haven’t regretted it.”
  • “I’m looking for that 1% that are ballsy enough to be entrepreneurial, and say ‘Hey, I want to start something.’”
  • “That’s the amazing thing about capitalism in general, the creativity it engenders.”
  • “No one else has ever done what I’ve done.”
  • “I think there are not that many people out there that are actually entrepreneurial. If people had the choice between stepping out on their own and being entrepreneurial or working for $10 an hour. I think more people are likely to work for $10 an hour even though the gain is not as good.”
  • “I made kids happy; just did some goofy stuff and it was fun. I walked out of that gig I felt good. I felt good about the universe and I felt good about myself.[…] Doing balloons for people is a pretty humble thing to do.”
  • “To play it safe is also to play it boring.”
  • “Sometimes you just have to learn. The best lessons are going to be mistakes.”

Start with a small scale business to test your business idea.More From the Interview

Background
As a college student Ben took a semester to teach English in Taiwan where he met his wife. When he returned to school he was studying Economics and working as a waiter at a restaurant. At this restaurant they had a guy come in once in a while doing balloons, he serviced a few restaurants. Ben was getting tired of serving, he asked the balloon guy to teach him in return for payment. Ben joined his team and his first week doing balloons he made $800 in tips just from balloons. Ben thought, “wow, there’s something to this.”

When he graduated he got away from doing the ballooning, but he kept it in mind. He got married, had kids, got a job at a fortune 500 insurance company. In the summer of 03 he moved to Tampa Bay, he had a sales job that he hated and that wasn’t paying enough to cover his bills. He noticed there were a ton of restaurants, so he went out and started working at a couple doing ballooning. Then he went to the nearby college and recruited some students. We were in 30 markets by the time we were on The Shark Tank. He was in Episode 514 of The Shark Tank.

Ben lost his sales job when he was fired, but that day he went out and got 4 restaurants, a chain, to work with. He took that as a sign. I remember coming home and talking to a neighbor of mine who owned his own contracting business. He said, “You know you can always get a sales job. Why don’t you go out there and try to do this thing on your own. See if you can support yourself with your balloon business.” To this day Ben remembers that advice.

Ben says, If you’re doing 100% commision sales, you’re kinda already in business for yourself. You just maybe don’t have the structure behind you. I had experience in 100% commision sales, but I had never been a full on independent business owner or entrepreneur.

“It’s always a bit of a leap to go from being an employee or salesperson to being a full on entrepreneur. I haven’t regretted it. The last 10 years of my life, I’ve had the freedom to do a lot of things that I couldn’t to do if I had a normal 9-to-5 job.

“There’s definitely more risk in running your own business, but if you structure it right and you don’t go into crazy debt, it could be a nice lifestyle.”

Shark Tank
Shark Tank put them on a national stage. There are 200 markets in the United States, Ben is trying to get regional leaders and build a crew for each of the top 150 markets. They have regional leaders that work 15 hours a week, and we have people that are full time.

“I’m looking for that 1% that are ballsy enough to be entrepreneurial, and say ‘hey, I want to start something.’”

“Everything that you’re ever going to see that’s not natural started as an idea.”

“That’s the amazing thing about capitalism in general, the creativity it engenders.”

Ben suggests that if you’re an entrepreneur and you watch Shark Tank. If you have an idea try something on a real small scale. Don’t mortgage your house just to try something. If it’s profitable on a small scale you can grow it bigger and bigger and it tends to be profitable as you get larger.

To get on the show Shark Tank, Ben applied online, months later they asked him to create a audition video. He says, “I made it real wacky and crazy kind of like a Billy Mays Infomercial type of thing. I think they liked that.”

He says, to get on Shark Tank you can be an awesome person with an awesome business, but if it’s something people have seen before, like a fishing boat charter, or house cleaning… they want something different. When you tune in you have no idea what crazy off-the-wall creative wacky businesses you’re going to see.

The show suggested he do his sales pitch and then they drop balloons on him. They filmed in the morning, he didn’t know if it would go smoothly, he had no sleep the night before and he was heavily caffeinated. “I’m normally really hyper and energetic already, so to kick it up a notch, it just makes me look like totally nuts.”

“I think my pitch was not organized enough and I didn’t have a solid enough expansion plan.”

Balloon Distractions
“No one else has ever done what I’ve done.”

Ben still goes out and does gigs. He said “I made kids happy; just did some goofy stuff and it was fun. I walked out of that gig I felt good. I felt good about the universe and I felt good about myself.[…] Doing balloons for people is a pretty humble thing to do.”

What Ben wants to do is create a machine that, for example, is able to target St. Louis and in 90 days have a team up and running. He wants to do that without spending thousands of dollars in advertising to find those people.

Ben has several people that used to do balloons at restaurants for them that come back and become regional leaders.

“I think there are not that many people out there that are actually entrepreneurial. If people had the choice between stepping out on their own and being entrepreneurial or working for $10 an hour. I think more people are likely to work for $10 an hour even though the gain is not as good.”

“To play it safe is also to play it boring.”

Shark Tank boosted his business but it didn’t double it or do anything crazy.

Advice
There are 3 skill sets that are needed to run a business:

  • You need to be able to do it
  • You need to be able to sell it
  • You need to be able to manage the money

Ben says he should have, on day one, had someone come in and make sure the money was managed correctly.
He suggests: get a good accountant, get your quickbooks, and never get behind on taxes.

“Sometimes you just have to learn. The best lessons are going to be mistakes.”

Tim Robbins said it’s action, you have to take action, you can’t sit around and just plan s*** all day. You have to take action. A lot of people have these complicated business plans and they want to get a giant loan and all this other stuff. If you want to start a business, you need to take action up front.

You may have a great idea and people are like, “Wow, that’s a great idea!” And then you go out there and no one is willing to pay you a dime for it… maybe it’s not that great of an idea.

If you have an idea try it. Don’t try it for the next 30 years, but go present it to a hundred different people and just gauge the interest. If no one has any interest then take it back to the drawing board, improve it or change it. Even better, take your idea out there and ask, how can we make it better; you’d be amazed people will give you lots of information.

What do you think of Ben’s interview?

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Episode 44: Build a Buffer When Starting a New Business | Bridget Brady from TheVoiceGenius.com

Bridget Brady can help you make money online and can help you improve your voice for presentations. She discusses how to build a buffer when you’re becoming an entrepreneur and finding a realistic way to starting a new business.

Bridget Brady Starting a New Business Defining Success Podcast Zeb Welborn

Bridget Brady

Bridget Brady runs two successful companies, moreonlineincome.com and thevoicegenius.com. She is a speaker, trainer, author, singer, actor, voice expert, and a presentation and sales authority. She has also worked as an actor, singer and project manager in New York and Los Angeles.

Bridget was doing a lot of work in Corporate America.  She spent 15 years in Corporate American prison as a software developer and project manage and spent 7 years in Wall Street.  She worked in Wall Street during the day and was a theater girl at night.

Bridget left her job in Corporate America because she never felt fully-fulfilled and from 7 to 10 years it worked out really well and she like it, but after 7 or 10 years she started waking up with a pit of despair thinking about going into her cubicle for 10 hours.  She knew it was something she couldn’t do anymore and she thought to herself there must be a way to make money.

She knew she wanted to make money to live a lifestyle she loved and have the freedom to pursue what it is she wanted to do.  She stumbled upon the idea of starting a new business by owning her own Internet business and it gave her the freedom the way she thought it would.  She works from home, works when she wants to and doesn’t work when she doesn’t want to.

Bridget helps people make online incomes and she actually sets people up with affiliate websites, and helps them develop strategies to make money online.  Bridget meets a lot of people who think they can just jump into the online world and start making money right away, but that’s not the case.  It takes a lot of work to make money online.

If you talk to any of the amazing thought leaders and successful thought leaders in the market.  They will tell you that being an entrepreneur is not easy and it takes a lot of work.  The beauty of an online business is that it’s a 24 hour a day, 7 days a week and 365 days a year way to bring in money, but it takes a lot of work.

An online business is just like a brick and mortar business and it requires a lot of work to make it happen.  The difference between an online business and an offline business is there is much more freedom with an online business than a brick and mortar business.

Bridget encourages people who are interested in starting a new business online is to get a mentor.

Bridget Brady on the Defining Success Podcast Starting a New Business

Bridget Brady

Bridget Brady also  has a voice and sales training company.  Her business grew out of a gap she saw in the sales and training business.  She learned to harness her speaking skills and there are many classes and courses that will teach you how to sing and act.  She learned how to help speakers have a more powerful voice and how to use that voice to help sell their product and services.

The biggest mistake people make vocally is speaking and using their voice from their throat and having the voice initiate from their vocal chords as opposed to using their entire body and instrument to help them speak.  She hears a lot of people speaking from their throat.  That is the biggest mistake she sees people make.

The biggest mistake Bridget made was that when she started her entrepreneurial career was that she didn’t set up herself for success as an entrepreneur.  Starting a new business is not easy, when she started her entrepreneurial career she had been let go from her job and she had no buffer to start her entrepreneurial journey.

Bridget went through some difficult years and it was a difficult time for her.  For anyone who is thinking of becoming an entrepreneur, save money so you can have some money set aside to start your entrepreneurial journey.  A lot of the people who Bridget coaches make a substantial amount of money very quickly doing things online.

She is a real life full-time entrepreneur and she’s extremely proud.

Bridget Brady More Online Income the Voice Genius Starting a New Business

Bridget Brady

Engaging Discussion Questions:

  • Have you ever thought about being an entrepreneur?
  • How important do you think having a strong voice is in business?
  • Have you tried to make money online?  What are your thoughts on making money online?

Links to Great Stuff:

  • MoreOnlineIncome.com – She has helped 1000’s of people earn money online, 
    and can teach you to do the same!
  • TheVoiceGenius.com – Bridget Brady ~ aka, “The Voice and Sales Genius” is a Speaker, Trainer, Author, Singer, Actor, Voice Expert, Presentation and Sales Authority. She spent 10 years doing theatre in New York City, 12 years as an actor and singer in Los Angeles, as well as 15 years working as a Project Manager in Corporate America (including 7 years on Wall Street in New York). 

Success Quotes:

  • “My success is based on how many people I’ve helped.”
  • “Success is living a life of my choosing.”
  • “Entrepreneurs are changing the world.”
  • “Your vocal chords are about the size of a standard paper clip.”
  • “Find someone who is making money using the Internet…and have someone who knows how to make money online help you get started.”
  • “The Internet is a golf mine if you know how to extract the gold.”
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Episode 37: Balancing Your Work and Personal Life | Alex Navas from AlexNavas.com

Alex Navas helps people and business owners determine what is important in their business and personal lives. It’s not easy balancing your work and personal life.  The most successful people are able to find a healthy balance between the two where they are able to accomplish a lot at work, but not to the detriment of their families.  Learn more from Alex on business and what it takes to be successful in Episode 37 of the Defining Success Podcast.

Alex Navas Balancing Your Business and Personal Life Defining Success Podcast with Zeb Welborn

Alex Navas

Alex Navas is nationally recognized for his financial expertise and exceptional small business marketing methods.  He has been active in finance, marketing, sales and personal development for 10 years.  He is now an energetic and charismatic speaker, trainer and business coach.

Alex started his entrepreneurial career installing car stereos for his friends and from that point on he knew he was destined for a life in business.  At 21 years old he started his first business, a mortgage company.  He and his wife did really well in the mortgage industry and he learned his passion was helping other business owners become successful by holding bootcamps for real estate agents.

Alex helps businesses by taking a look at their assets.  When he explains assets he means the positive things you have in your business.  After analyzing your assets, Alex can point to some opportunities you’re missing out on which could help you grow your business.

By understanding where a business is at, Alex can help businesses expand faster using less resources.  A lot of times success online depends upon taking advantage of the right opportunities and being able to identify those opportunities is critical to the success of any business.

A lot of entrepreneurs make decisions based on illusions.  A common challenge entrepreneurs make is they think they know the answer about something before the event even takes place without acting on it first.

Their are a few key things to achieve exponential growth.  Your mindset is important to the success of any business owner.  One of the key ways to grow exponentially is by choosing who you’re going to serve, because it gives you the opportunity to serve who you were not meant to serve.

Alex owns the Christian Business Academy and purposefully narrowed his focus because he knew that he was meant to serve those people.  In return, it has become easier for him to attract the clients that he wants because they are attracted to his purpose and mission.

One of the things that Alex is really good at is creating profitable partnerships and he works with a lot of coaches and consultants and he helps them leverage what they’re doing.  Alex created an online training program with another business coach in order to help people create experts in the industry.

When Alex was running his mortgage company, he was working from 7am to 11pm.  One day he was sitting with his son and he realized that his business was taking him away from his family and he vowed not to let that happen.  We’re passing up opportunities to say that some day we’ll have time to spend with our family.  Balancing your work and personal life is critical to the happiness of an individual.

Alex has seen so many successful people, but their personal lives are in shambles.

Most business owners are overwhelmed and overworked. Most business owners are doing way too much work.  Once you get focused and narrow down your goals then it becomes easier to achieve your goals and you’re doing less work.  No matter what Alex does at work he thinks about the people he’s serving and how he can help them.

Balancing Your Business and Personal Life, Alex Navas on the Defining Success Podcast

Alex Navas

Engaging Discussion Questions:

  • How important is balancing your work and personal life?
  • What is more important?  Your business or your family and friends?
  • Who is the target market for your business?  Why?

Links to Great Stuff:

  • Alex Navas – “Whether you already know who I am or not, I’m ultimately here to serve you and I have a lot to tell you that will shed some light on who I am and how I can help you experience more joy, happiness and fulfillment in your life and your business.”
  • Christian Business Academy – “C.B.A. (Christian Business Academy) was founded to gather Christian entrepreneurs, business owners and professionals and empower them to create more fulfilling, profitable and purposeful businesses through the Word of God in order to create lasting change around the world using their businesses as the catalyst.”

Success Quotes:

  • “When you have fun in your business, you’re never working.”
  • “We all have a reason why we’re here beyond us.”
  • “Success comes much easier when you’re having fun and operating in your purpose.”
  • “85% of business owners are doing way too much.”
  • “It’s a lot easier to work with what you have than to start from scratch.”

Special Requests:

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Episode 22: How To Be a Go-Giver | Bob Burg Author of The Go-Giver

Thank you for visiting the Defining Success Podcast.  Please download, subscribe and rate our podcast on iTunes – https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/defining-success-podcast/id619459909 Thanks for listening!

Author of The Go-Giver Bob Burg

Author of The Go-Giver Bob Burg

Teaser:

Bob Burg shares the lesson of his book, The Go-Giver in Episode 22 of the Defining Success Podcast.  Learn the five laws, that when applied can guarantee a person’s success. Bob is extremely knowledgeable and shares his expertise on business and some advice and tips which you can apply to your business today.

Recap:

Bob Burg is a sought after speaker at corporate conventions and for entrepreneurial events.  He has addressed audiences ranging in size from 50 to 16,000 – sharing the platform with notables including today’s top thought leaders, broadcast personalities, Olympic athletes and political leaders including a former U.S. President.

Bob has written numerous books, has been a public speaker, has worked in sales and has a lot of experience helping others increase sales.

This interview focuses on Bob’s book, The Go-Giver, a book that encourages people to be go-givers and to be willing to help others in order to attain individual success.  Bob also says that a go-getter and a go-giver are not opposing philosophies, but rather that one could be a go-getter and also a go-giver.

If you look at the companies that are successful, have a long-sustaining business, and who run the business well.  They take the five laws from the go-giver and those laws were already in play.

The five laws are the laws of value, compensation, influence, authenticity and receptivity and all five laws work in conjunction with each other.  When all five of these are used in conjunction it makes it possible for people to achieve their goals.

The Go-Giver by Bob Burg

The Go-Giver by Bob Burg

The first law of success is to give more value than what you take in payment.  In business, it’s important to focus on the other person.

The second law says that the more people we add these values to then the more we will receive in return.  As you add more value to more and more people you will have more people willing to spread the word about you and your business.  Our value comes from how many people we can add value to.  Not only do we need to provide great value, we also need to provide that service to as many people as we can.

The third law is the law of influence that says your influence is determined by how abundantly you put other people’s best interest first.  The best leaders see how they can place other people’s interest first and if they can do that they will become more successful.  To the degree you’re able to help others the more likely people will be willing to help you.

The law of authenticity shows how willing you are able to help yourself.  All the sales skills, and technical skills are very important, but those skills are not valuable if you don’t show up as yourself.  When people see there real you, they become attracted to you and they respect you and they like people who walk in their own integrity.  One key in authenticity is being confident enough to do so when we understand the value that we bring to others.  Market value are skills, traits and values that you bring to the marketplace.  It’s important to have someone that is removed enough from the situation who can see who the forest is from the trees.

The fifth law is the law of receptivity.  You have to be willing to receive as much as you are willing to give in order to be successful.  Giving and receiving work in tandem with each other.  The key is not giving or receiving, the key is to focus on the giving and allow the receiving.  If you can’t receive the little things, then you can’t receive the big things.

Bob says that if you follow those five laws, you’re guaranteed to succeed.

A lot of people think that selling is taking advantage of others or trying to convince people of what they don’t want or need.  Selling is actually about helping people get what they want or need.  When you shift your focus from an I focus to others you will see a return.

Engaging Discussion Questions:

  • How do you know when you’re being your authentic self?
  • What do you think of the five laws Bob presented during the interview?
  • Are you a Go-Giver? Why or why not?

Links to Great Stuff:

Bob Burg – “Bob Burg shares information on topics vital to the success of today’s businessperson. He speaks for corporations and associations internationally, including fortune 500 companies, franchises, and numerous direct sales organizations.”

The Go-Giver – “The Go-Giver tells the story of an ambitious young man named Joe who yearns for success. Joe is a true go-getter, though sometimes he feels as if the harder and faster he works, the further away his goals seem to be. And so one day, desperate to land a key sale at the end of a bad quarter, he seeks advice from the enigmatic Pindar, a legendary consultant referred to by his many devotees simply as the Chairman.”

T. Harv Eker – “Eker is the author of the best-selling books, Secrets of the Millionaire Mind and SpeedWealth. He has also developed several highly-acclaimed courses such as The Millionaire Mind Intensive, Life Directions, Wizard Training and Train the Trainer. He is also the producer and trainer of the world-famous Enlightened Warrior Training.”

Success Quotes:

  • “Success is the progressive realization of a worthwhile dream or goal.” from Nightengale
  • “Success is a feeling of piece of mind and genuine happiness based on having done ones best in living up to their potential.”
  • From Sean Woodruff “A great salesperson matches the benefits their product or service with the wants, needs and desires of the prospect.”
  • “When you’re selling you’re giving time, attention, council, education, empathy and ultimately, great value.”
  • “When you’re selling, you’re literally giving.”
  • “One mistake people make . . . is thinking that giving and receiving are opposite concepts.”
  • “The key to authentic giving is to stay open to receiving. 
  • “Being authentic means that we are congruent.”
  • About Gandhi “Integrity is when everything you think, feel, say and do are in alignment.”
  • “The golden rule of business says that all things being equal people will do business with and refer business to those people they know, like and trust.”
  • “The money you receive is a direct result of the value you provide.”
  • “Money is an echo of value.”
  • “The first law of value says your true worth is determined by how much you give in value than you take in payment.”
  • “A go-taker is somebody who feels entitled to take, take, take without having added value to the person, to the process and to the situation.”
  • “We want to take the focus off ourselves and move from an I focus to an other focus.”

Special Requests:

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