Entrepreneurial Advice...

You might visit this blog from time-to-time because you are interested in opening a business and we give a legitimate account of building a concept to a brick-and-mortar location.  If that is you, then today is your day...by popular request, here are my top 10 pieces of advice for those with an entrepreneurial spirit. 1) Commercial landlords enjoy "as-is" leases...meaning you get to make the space up to code and super nice at your cost even though you will never own the space.  Dig in your heels and negotiate for tenant improvement allowances or actually see the money physically suck out of your purse into an "electrical code upgrade" vortex every time you open the front door to your new space.  When someone (aka, not you) tries to convince you that a bigger and fancier air conditioning unit "might be nice", take a deep breath and ask what is actually required by city code.  Make peace with the idea that you might have to yell "I don't care if you think it would be nice" on the phone to someone you never met even though you don't even particularly like confrontation.

2) People will be weird all along your journey.  Some will be haters because they are risk adverse or because the journey changes you or because they don't like to see someone succeed, some won't want you to succeed simply because they wish it were them, and some will literally hold you up mentally during the process and tell you it will be ok, even by text while you are huffing into a brown paper bag and crying.  Figure out who belongs where and only listen to Category Three.  Eventually take Category Three to Hawaii for vacation as a thank you for believing in you.

3) Everything will cost 87% more than you expect and nothing is free.  I think that if you even call the City of Columbia Business License Office, you are assessed a 1/100th of a cent per thousand of your 2016 projected gross income as a fee.  And you need to file that in triplicate and pay by cashier's check.  In person.  With valid identification.  On the second Tuesday of the month.  Between 1 and 4:15 pm.

4) Once your doors finally open, you phone will ring incessantly and almost all those callers will ask to speak to "an owner or manager."  Unless you want to discuss OSHA posters, security systems, or credit card processing fees, you say you are neither.  When they ask if an owner will be in later, just say the owner works remotely from a private island and has a phone phobia.

5) You will experience love in your life, but none will be as unique as the love you have for the Ecolab commercial dishwasher.  You will love it so much that you will wash a single spatula at a time because you can.  You will love it so much that the cheesy lab coats worn by Ecolab employees will annoy you, but not deter you.  Everyone has their schtick, right?

6) The federal government, state government, and local government will mail you a landfill worth of paper every month.  If each could invest in some "you probably want to read this" stickers for the important stuff, we could probably all be more productive.

7) No matter how many times you think you have everything you need to make your space functional, you need something else.  It won't occur to you to stock plastic forks, but when several people ask for them, you will obsess about how you never obsessed about getting forks before opening day.

8) If you have to share your space with someone else all day, there will come a time when one of you wants to listen to Snow Patrol and the other wants to listen to Roger Whittaker.  Rest easy that Spotify only carries five Roger Whittaker tunes, though you may listen to those five on repeat.

9) You will never feel like you are doing enough to make your vision play out in reality.  And the responsibility of it all will weigh on you like a bunch of damp towels out of the dryer.

10) On occasion, you feel like you are completely on the right path and someone will give you the quick reassurance that they believe in you and that what you do makes them happy.  And that will make it all worth it.


What else?  Have a missed an important tip for our business-minding-blog-reading friends?  Chime with a comment here...