Storytelling

Why Did You Start Your Business? Week of November 4th

For individuals that constantly view financial statements or business plans each business looks eerily the similar. Even sometimes the brands, logos and names make consumers scream for the days of uniqueness. Peeling back the skin of business, it is often the entrepreneur and business owner that makes a business unique. Each and every business has an entrepreneur and unique story for launching his or her business, and it is that story which make each business special.

We Helped Out Restaurants in Similar Situations

Photo Credit: Amy Foxwell

In 1999 my husband and I bought a restaurant. Of course, we made the classic mistake – it wasn’t in the best location. But I was a trained marketer and so we started marketing the heck out of it. It was a challenge, but we succeeded and now the restaurant grows by leaps and bounds every year. Then I looked around and saw that there were lots of other restaurants in a similar situation. Only they didn’t have an experienced marketer at hand and had no idea how to get more customers through the door and coming back. So I put together a restaurant marketing kit that would give the restaurant owner or manager the information they needed, along with tons of simple to implement ideas and proven ‘done for you’ marketing templates that they could use to put a multitude of marketing activities in place quickly and easily. And it’s been a roaring success.

Thanks to Amy Foxwell, Win Win Restaurant Marketing!

Because Our Clients Asked

Thom Neighbors and I co-founded and launched Bravo Productions in 1987, where our focus was solely designing and producing floats for the Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena.  Most of our clients represented some of the top names in corporate America.  As our company grew, these clients sought us out to create their events, props for promotional displays, etc.  In addition, throughout the years, we begin receiving more inquiries to create events, props and theatrical scenery for clients outside of the Rose Parade, commercial production companies and television studios.  In 1994, we re-engineered our company based on market demand, and we begin solely planning and coordinating events for corporate clientele.  It expanded into government agencies such as the United States Army, tourist attractions such as the grand opening events for the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach and product launches such as Cable On Demand.

Thanks to Greg Jenkins, Bravo Productions!

It Was An “Accident”

Photo Credit: Dane Short

The Hidden Meaning Symbol™  was ‘accidentally’ created when my Mother, Sally Short, stacked each letter of the phrase ‘Love is all u need’ on top of each other and then added a peace sign to complete the design. She then sent the design off to be cast in sterling silver as a ‘Love and Peace’ pendant. But something happened when we received it; my sister and I saw it sitting sideways and noticed a ‘K’ popping out. Since there is no ‘K’ in the phrase “Love is all u need”, it motivated us to look for other letters and we ended up uncovering every letter of the alphabet and every number, hidden within the symbol. Given that the Hidden Meaning Symbol™ contains every letter of the alphabet & every number, it can mean anything to anybody at anytime. It gives people the ability to create their own personal message, hidden in plain sight.

Thanks to Dane Short, Hidden Meaning Symbol!

 

To Fulfill the Goals

Photo Credit: Nettie Owens

I started my company in order to fulfill the goals I had set for myself.  I wanted to be able to be at home for my family and still have a worthwhile career.  So, in Feb of 2004 I founded my professional organizing company.  At the time it was just me.  It took me two years to come up with a name that resonated with me and projected the image I wanted.  Athough, I had sub-contractors working for me for years, at the end of 2007 my business nearly came to a screeching halt when I ended up on bedrest with my 2nd child and a full client schedule.  I brought someone in to continue the company and we kept going.  In 2009, the business exploded and from then on I have had employees and a full range of services to provide our clients: speaking, training, in person organizing, virtual organizing, cleaning and productivity coaching.  It has been very exciting.  I am doing what I love, helping people and supporting country by growing the economy.  It really doesn’t get any better than this.

Thanks Nettie Owens, Sappari Solutions!

Because I Loved Writing

Photo Credit: Therese Pope

I started my business, Zenful Communications, because I have always loved writing and always wanted to do it professionally. I have a BA degree in journalism but my career path led me to non-profit fundraising and event planning (worked in non-profit for nine years). I loved the time I spent working for public health non-profits, but writing has and always will be my first love. I got burnt out working as a fundraiser, got tired of the politics of non-profit and felt like my wheels were just spinning – and wanted something more meaningful in my life and career. I quit my job and took a huge risk by venturing into my own business as a freelance copywriter and marketer. That was five years ago and I don’t regret the decision I made. It’s tough being a solopreneur but I love the flexibility, and I have been very lucky to work with great clients and I partner with a fantastic marketing agency as their contracted copywriter. I love helping clients with their copywriting and marketing projects. A lot of businesses need help with professional writing and I love steering my clients in the right direction with their marketing communications’ goals.

Thanks to Therese Pope, Zenful Communications!

To Help My Daughter

Photo Credit: Laura Miranti

I founded Board Book Albums, LLC in April 2008.  When my daughter Lucia (then age 1) was working with a speech therapist, I was asked to put together a photo album filled with photos to encourage Lucia’s speech development.  When I was unable to find a kid-friendly album, Lucia’s needs inspired the idea for the new Take Your Pix® board book photo album.  I hope to share her story and products with other children and families.  Although the albums were created for my young daughter, we have found them to be great for children of all ages (very little ones with supervision).  Little children are elated to have their own photo albums that they can handle themselves.  Older children love to fill our books with photos and decorate their albums with stickers, stamps and markers.  Moms and other adults love the albums for scrapbooking and to get or give as gifts for any occasion.

Thanks to Laura Miranti, Board Book Albums!

To Make the World a More Comfortable, Kind & Fair Place

Photo: Lynette Louise

When I was a little girl I used to run around our neighborhood collecting an audience for plays I had written and forced my siblings to learn. Everything I wrote was about how to make the world a more comfortable, kind and fair place. As an adult I gathered children, adopting six; four of whom were on the spectrum of autism. Everything I did as a parent was to make the world for my children a more comfortable, kind and fair place. Always I worked for myself and created businesses. Always they were my way of paying bills, enjoying my life and talking to the world. Now that my children are grown and I was able to help three of my four autistic sons move off the spectrum and into an independent life, it was a simple move to become an international autism expert. Since one of the things that has always been clear to me, both as a mom and an individual that was once on the spectrum, is that healing is made simpler and more complete when a therapist can go into the home and include play therapy, family dynamics training as well as neurofeedback (biofeedback for the brain). I was working in a brain trauma clinic and wanted to take the dramatic life changing difference my brain healing computers were making into the homes of families for whom going out was problematic. I also wanted to work with my own family. Brain and Body was born. My daughter and I discovered a wonderful way to incorporate the body via her massage therapy, and the brain, via my brain computers. As it turns out, my job is just a little too hard for most people, so my daughter chose to back out. However the name, Brain and Body, is no less a perfect moniker now than it ever was. The brain runs the entire body, it’s all one thing, and as a PhD candidate getting a doctorate in Psychophysiology, I am constantly reminded of the absolute connectedness and respect both our brains and bodies deserve. When the child or adult I’m working with does interesting or seemingly strange things with their body, I am able to follow the clues which often lead me to simple fixes in brain wave patterns and– voila–problem solved. And though Brain and Body specializes in autism, I work comfortably and with consistent positive results on many brain disorders; ADHD, depression, anorexia, tourette’s, PTSD, etc. Here at Brain and Body we are helping make the world a more comfortable, kind and fair place. Exactly what I dreamed when I was a little girl.

Thanks to Lynette Louise, Brain & Body!

I Was Tired of Trying to Get Gigs

Photo Credit: Derrick Guest

I started my business in 2004 because I was tired of trying to get gigs in the film industry, it was hard to get into the union and you had to be in the union to get quality employment.  I decided to start my own business to not only have consistent work but to also raise my daughter.  I wanted to be a hands on father and not just a father that was around for special occasions.  I want to make sure that I had a relationships with my daughter.

Thanks Derrick & Eula Guest, Griot’s Roll Film Production & Services Inc.!

Because I Was Bored

Photo Credit: Ben Sayers

Bored after the sale of one of his early companies, I started a software development company at the beginning of 2002 to create a stock trading platform. After several months of deployment, it was evident that the stock market wasn’t for me; my true passion lay in technology equipment and services. Shifting the focus of my software development venture to an IT asset management firm, it was during the first six months of 2004 that I noticed a growing demand from customers for VoIP products. The problem? There was nowhere to purchase them from. With demand growing each day, I launched VoIPSupply.com in August of 2004 to almost instant success. Ironically, VoIPSupply.com featured more networking equipment than VoIP equipment. By the end of the year VoIPSupply.com had established itself as THE place to purchase everything you need for VoIP, Video Conferencing, Surveillance, and Unified Communications.

Thanks to Ben Sayers, VoIPSupply.com!

Because I was Restless & Depressed Because of the Depression

After graduating college with a degree in economics, I took a position at an investment fund in Chicago. However, I quickly became restless working in the corporate world and depressed with the ongoing recession, and I decided to venture out on my own and try to help people who were suffering in the midst of the recession. I launched my own small business in 2008 as I began working on the Money Crashers personal finance website. The goal of the site is to provide free access to educational content across a wide variety of important topics, including personal finance. I’ve had always had a sincere desire to help people, and by launching a finance site, I was able to put my educational background to work. Money Crashers is designed to help people make better saving and spending decisions all areas of personal finance.

Thanks to Andrew Schrage, Money Crashers Personal Finance!

Because Being in the Water is My Passion

Photo Credit: Kenneth Rippetoe

In February 2011, I reported $420 million dollars of fraud in the Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business program. In May of 2011, the West Los Angeles VA Hospital barred me from station.  It was at that point that I started teaching swimming full-time.  I have been teaching swimming lessons part-time since the age of 16, and had always wanted to do it full-time.  In August of 2011, I was wrongfully terminated from Federal Service.  The part-time job I had been doing that summer was ending that same week.  That night, I had a dream about “One with the Water” and the very next day, I made that dream a reality.  Within a week I had the website up and running, the tax ID number filed and a handful of clients and another instructor.

Thanks to Kenneth Rippetoe, One with the Water!

We Saw An Opportunity

We didn’t start out being inventors.  But we did recognize a need – we need a way to see inside dark enclosures.  My daughter and I are also ball players –we have played on the same ladies team together for over 24 years (I am the pitcher, Rhonda is my catcher).  One hot, August night, after a hard fought game on the field, Rhonda attempted to find her favorite beverage inside that dark cooler, to no avail.  With frustration she uttered these now famous words ”How come a fridge has a light, but there is no light inside a cooler?” Research showed there was nothing like it on the market.  So we made it so.  Using our incredible network, we went from the prototypes, to the patents, to product development, to the distributors, to hiring the manufacturers and finally to selling our invention around the world.

Thanks to Linda Lee Pond!

I Retired & Was Wondering What to Do

Photo Credit: Jeffrey Byer

Reminicents was started in 2002 when I retired and was wondering what to do for the next twenty or thirty years with my life. I took an assessment of the few things I knew and loved and came up with coins,which my Uncle Nate taught me about in the 1950’s and lifelines which I learned about at my former job as a caseworker in a jail system. This was confusing until I came up with the idea to see if I could make a bracelet for my wife using pennies and a little glue. Well to make a long story short and tons of different materials later, I found the idea could be accomplished if I could only make the coins look like gold. This is where my wife, Bonnie, out of desperation for my sanity developed a process, which we still use today, that makes old coins look like gold. Currently, we have developed over twenty unique coin items using coins and are hoping the first product we developed called the Lifetime Bracelet will capture the heart of women across the country.

Thanks to Jeffrey Byer, Reminicents!

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Gresham Harkless Jr.

Gresham Harkless is a Media Consultant for Blue 16 Media and the Blogger-in-Chief for CEO Blog Nation. CEO Blog Nation is a community of blogs for entrepreneurs and business owners. Started in much the same way as most small businesses, CEO Blog Nation captures the essence of entrepreneurship by allowing entrepreneurs and business owners to have a voice. CEO Blog Nation provides news, information, events and even startup business tips for entrepreneurs, startups and business owners to succeed.

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