Posts

Online Business is Dying

online-businessGranted, it’s a bad joke. But it’s also true – there’s a cyber funeral service called
Basic Funerals
. The business was started by a serial entrepreneur and a licensed funeral director.

They started selling funerals online in January of 2009. They grew more than 500% in 2010, mostly by word of mouth. Currently, they operate in Ontario, Canada and two states in the U.S. But they have ambitious expansion plans.

What can we learn from these two? Here are five of our takeaways:

Listen to this post. Click the player to hear George & Mary-Lynn on The BIGG Success Show Podcast.

iPhone/iPad Podcast Player

[haiku url=”http://traffic.libsyn.com/biggsuccess/00691-042111.mp3″ title=”The BIGG Success Show #691″]
Join forces

An outsider and an insider came together to make this online business a reality. The business is regulated so an insider was required. But even if that wasn’t the case, there are advantages to pairing up with an insider.

Similarly, sometimes it helps to have an outsider’s perspective. They may see things that an insider wouldn’t. Like “Hey, we could sell this online!”

Differentiate

The funeral home business has traditionally required a high overhead, physical facility. Basic Funerals doesn’t have that. We’ll explain why in just a second.

In addition, marketing online is very cost effective. The combination means Basic Funerals can sell its services at half the price traditional funeral homes would require.

Collaborate with the current players

Don’t cry for the locals. Basic Funerals sublets space from them. It’s a great business model. In fact, smart locals may see this as an opportunity to do more collaboration themselves.

People want options

Basic Funerals added the online dimension to booking a funeral in person or via phone. Some people just like to click to make purchases.

Niches are still available

What’s yours? If you have an idea but don’t know what to do about it, maybe we can help. E-mail us at bigginfo@biggsuccess.com or leave us a voice message at 888.455.2444. See all of our services.

Direct link to The Bigg Success Show audio file | podcast:
http://traffic.libsyn.com/biggsuccess/00691-042111.mp3

Image in this post from jaylopez

Reach Out and Touch Someone

tpentrepreneur We learned something fascinating. We would say exciting, but we wouldn’t want to give you the wrong impression! There is evidence that lovin’, touchin’, and squeezin’ can lower your stress!

___

___

Holding hands

In a study of women, researchers found that holding hands reduces stress. They divided their participants into two groups: one group held hands with their spouse while the control group didn’t. Then they gave all of the women a low-level electric shock. The hand-holding group showed lower stress levels.

Hugging

Good Housekeeping published an article about some other studies that have discovered simple ways to reduce stress. We just talked about hand-holding; now let’s add hugging.

In one study cited in this article, researchers had a group hold hands with their spouses for ten minutes, followed by a twenty-second hug. The other group just sat there, not touching their spouses.

Researchers then asked all the participants to talk about a past event that stressed them out. The group that had held hands and hugged showed a lower heart rate and lower blood pressure that those who had not.

Kissing and more

The same article cites a study that showed that couples who kiss regularly also show less stress. This is all great news for couples who are together, but what if your significant other isn’t around when you’re feeling a lot of stress? Or what if you’re single?

Studies have also shown that a hug from a friend or a professional massage does the trick, too!

The personal touch at work

Obviously, there’s a fine line to touching in the workplace. However, if done properly, it can be an effective tool. Of course, if you’re just using it as a “tool”, it won’t come across as genuine.

___

georgeI’ve had people shake my hand who touched the bottom part of my forearm up toward my elbow. I have to admit, I often feel a stronger connection with a person who does this naturally.

___

___

marylynnI’ve noticed that when I shake hands with someone, I’ll often clasp my other hand on top. It feels more special than just a handshake.

___

___

georgeI’ve learned that when someone is over-exuberant, irritated or upset – if you softly put a hand on their shoulder, it’s a way of saying that you understand and they calm down.

___

___

marylynnI’ve seen managers literally give someone a pat on the back – not the lower back, but up between the shoulder blades. It makes them feel good.

___

And of course, in sports, you often see the coach give the players a little pat on the butt. We don’t recommend that for the workplace!

___

marylynn
Ah c’mon, I’m going to ask George to turn the other cheek!

___

___

Want to be a BIGG success? Get the tips and tools you need by subscribing to
Subscribe to the Bigg Success Weekly – it’s FREE!

___

Subscribe to The Bigg Success Show in iTunes. 

Subscribe to the Bigg Success feed.

Related posts

A Wii Bit of Fun

(Image by Mrinkk)

The Dirty Truth About Being an Entrepreneur

tpentrepreneur We were joined today by Mike Michalowicz. Mike is a serial entrepreneur and author of the just released book, The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur. He has been featured in Inc. magazine, The New York Times, and is a frequent guest on one of our favorite television shows, The Big Idea with Donny Deutsch.

___

___

___

marylynn
The first thing we have to ask is … what the heck is a “toilet paper entrepreneur”?

___

___

mikeA toilet paper entrepreneur sheds insight on what entrepreneurialism is all about. What a lot of us read in Inc., Fortune Small Business, and Fast Company is what Google, Facebook, and YouTube did. They’re overnight successes. The dirty truth is that “overnight success” is ten to fifteen years of hard work for most entrepreneurs. Just like with entrepreneurship, there’s the stuff that happens in the bathroom that no one talks about. So the title came from an experience we’ve all had. We’re in the restroom and we’ve done what we came to do. We look over and, sure enough, there’s only three sheets dangling there. It’s in that moment where true entrepreneurialism kicks in. We do the incredible – we grab the toilet seat like a pommel horse, stretch the foot out, hook the garbage can, root through it and find three sheets and the torn up cardboard roll. With that, we’re able to complete the job!

___

___

georgeMaybe Sheryl Crow is the quintessential Toilet Paper Entrepreneur because she can get by with one sheet! Seriously, that’s a great analogy – entrepreneurs find a way to get the job done, no matter what.

___

___

mike
No matter what. A true entrepreneur will dig deep and use things no one would ever consider.

___

___

marylynnDon’t you think that the Facebook guys and the Google guys did that at some point? We often hear that some of these overnight successes are created in a garage. They do the same thing too, don’t they?

___

___

mikeThey do in the sense that that’s how they all started. The only difference is Google received funding within a year. That’s what I call the “full roll” of cash. Most entrepreneurs don’t ever receive funding. There’s a path when you don’t get that money; there’s other ways of doing it, sometimes just as quickly.

___

___

marylynn
In your book, you say that sometimes money is actually a detriment to entrepreneurs.

___

___

mikeI totally believe that money is a detriment. Money amplifies the habits we have. In my own life experience, I was 25 the first time I received a good chunk of change – a $250,000 investment. I bought nice furniture. I hired employees. I got a good car to impress people on sales calls. I wasted the money. When I didn’t have the money, I learned how to leverage it appropriately. Then as the business grew, and more money came in, I was able to use it as a vehicle for growth.

___

___

george
Another thing that I found interesting is that you’re not a bigg believer in business plans.

___

___

mikeI’m the antithesis of it. I just received some hate mail from a university professor saying that he couldn’t believe I said that.

___

___

georgeHey, today was my business plan lecture by the way! I’m kidding – we actually don’t talk about business plans in my class.

___

___

mikeIn my experience, business plans are wonderful dust collectors. If someone can project their own financials four or five years out, they should invest in stocks because, if you could do that only ninety days out, you could become a millionaire overnight.

___

___

georgeI’m not an advocate of “ready, fire”; you do need to “ready, aim, fire”. But at the same time, it’s amazing how many times someone writes a full-fledged business plan and then, within a few months, they end up in a completely different business. And that business takes them to their success.

___

___

mikeYes. So I think, in the early stages of a business, you have to be very cognizant of everything that’s going on, watch the consumers’ behavior, and then flow with the river and adjust the business, sometimes 180 degrees, to match what they want to buy.

___

___

george
I thought you were going to say “flow with the toilet”!

___

___

marylynnSince we’re back to toilet humor, tell us about one of the crappiest resources you used when you had nothing.

___

___

mikeHere’s one little trick I’ve used – the most expensive cost, besides rent and your employees, is professional services … your attorneys, accountants and so forth. I go to the local colleges. They have CPAs and attorneys working there that are now professors. They are more than willing to give free advice and work up the documents with you. Sometimes the exchange is simply being a case study for their class. It saves me thousands and thousands of dollars. I still use it today.

___

You can get a free chapter of The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur on Mike’s site. It’s a great book that we highly recommend to you. You’ll find it to be great bathroom reading!

Thanks, Mike, for sharing your time and wisdom with us. We wish you bigg success with this wonderful book.

Next time, we’ll talk about lovin’, touchin, and squeezin’. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

Subscribe to The Bigg Success Show in iTunes. 

Subscribe to the Bigg Success feed.

Related posts

The Entrepreneurial Roller Coaster Ride

The Entrepreneurial Roller Coaster Ride

When you own your own business, you have your highs and you have your lows. And it seems like you rarely have any in-betweens.

George said  …
I never talked about this for years. I thought it was just me. Then I got up the nerve and mentioned it to my sister, who also owns businesses.

She said she knew exactly what I was talking about! So that encouraged me to ask other business owners about it. So far, every single person I’ve ever talked to about this knows exactly what it means. You can see it on their face as soon as you bring it up.

But it’s something I think a lot of entrepreneurs don’t talk about.

Mary-Lynn added  …
With Bigg Success, I’m experiencing business ownership for the first time. And I feel like I’m on a roller coaster. There are days where I feel exhilaration from the ride and there are days when I feel sheer terror and want to get off the ride.

Entrepreneurial terror

If you’ve never experienced it, count yourself lucky, but most people in business have.

You can feel terrified at times even with a job. You may fear you’re going to lose yours when you see other people’s jobs getting cut. But it’s still different for business owners.

George …
I remember one of the guest speakers for my class who talked about the number of mouths he had to feed now. A lot of the most successful business owners I know take personal responsibility for their people. They don’t look at just putting bread on their table; they worry about their employees as well.

That can keep you up at night!

Inc. published an article (way back in February 1987) called Entrepreneurial Terror. A portion of it has been republished on Wachovia’s Small Business site.

It was written by Wilson Harrell, a serial entrepreneur and author of For Entrepreneurs Only. He said:

“… the ability to handle terror, and to live with it, is the single most important
– and, yes, necessary – ingredient of entrepreneurial success.”

This company doesn’t love misery

He says that you shouldn’t share your lows with your friends and loved ones, because you’ll just pass the worry on to them. Unless they’re your partner in business.

He adds that you should always share your highs, though.

How highs turn to lows

The way you spend your time and money when you’re on a high often has a lot to do with how low you go. Let’s look at two examples:

  • Too busy for marketing
    When you’re so busy, you may even be running at capacity, and you know your business couldn’t crank out any more volume no matter how much you wanted to. So you slow down – or even stop – your marketing efforts.

    George …
    I’ve done this! It’s easy to do – there’s no time! But that insures the next down cycle because you’re not doing those things that you did to get to the up cycle.

  • Being careless with money
    A lot of times cash flow is at its peak during an up cycle. That’s part of the reason you’re on an emotional high. So you make that major expenditure. Or you add to your overhead. The next thing you know you’re on a low because business and cash flow have slowed down and you have little or no cash reserves.

You may not be able to avoid the highs and lows. What you can do is conduct business so that your lows are higher … and your highs are higher!

It may not feel any different, but you know it is. You’re reaching ever higher levels of success! Now that’s bigg success!

Subscribe to The Bigg Success Show in iTunes. 

Subscribe to the Bigg Success feed. 

Related posts

Don’t Make This Costly Mistake

Are You Fishing for Customers in the Wrong Hole?

If You Want to Increase Your Profit, Don’t Put Your Customers First

There’s Gold In Them There … Customers!

5 Places to Find Cash for Your Business Today 

(Image by LilGoldWmn)

Pages

Confessions Of A Serial Entrepreneur

By Bigg Success Staff
02-26-08

Bigg Book Review 

book_cover

If you can’t say anything else about Stuart Skorman, you’d have to say he’s led an interesting life. But there’s so much more to say!

Now, this hippie-turned-entrepreneur has written a book with help from Catherine Guthrie called Confessions of a Serial Entrepreneur: Why I Can’t Stop Starting Over.

Like the man it chronicles, the book covers a variety of topics in an informative and entertaining way. This book could be called a memoir, but could also easily be considered a primer on entrepreneurship.

It’s a fantastic read, whether you’re an aspiring entrepreneur or general adventurer.

Living matters
Throughout the book, Skorman recounts the lessons he’s learned in business and in life. Lessons learned in an unconventional way by an avant-garde man. For example, you’ll see why he thinks managing a rock-and-roll band was better for him than business school.

You’ll ride along side him on his cross-country bicycle tour, where he discovered his calling – to be an entrepreneur. You’ll sit at the table as he plays poker professionally for two years.

Business adventures
You’ll also learn about his business adventures and misadventures. And he has a lot of them!

He tried to rescue his father’s chain of discount stores, but wasn’t able to.

He took a small video store and built Empire Video, a regional chain.

He rode the wave of the dot-com boom, creating Reel.com in 1997 and selling it three years later for $100 million.

With his newfound money, his entrepreneurial fervor really kicked in. He started an organic supermarket called Bread & Circuses and sold it to Whole Foods.

He lost $10 million on Hungryminds.com, an online learning site.

Perhaps his biggest misadventure was Elephant Pharmacy. He envisioned a drugstore that sold botanical cosmetics, organic food, as well as medicine – both the traditional and alternative. He got in over his head and lost much of his fortune.

Hang on for the ride
That’s why we love this book. Most people only want to talk about their successes. Skorman puts it all out there – and there are often better lessons in the failures.

From the book, you get a complete picture of the roller coaster ride entrepreneurs enjoy. You’ll gain insight into both the joys and the challenges of starting a business. He freely admits he is more artist than businessman. You see the world through the eyes of an extreme marketer.

We highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to understand what being an entrepreneur is all about.

Subscribe to the Bigg Success feed. 

Listen to today's 5-minute lesson and laugh on Bigg Success. 

More Bigg Book Reviews:

Review: Fire Them Up

Review: The Richest Man In Babylon

Review: True North

Review: The Greatest Miracle In The World