InspirationStorytelling

Why Did You Start Your Business? Week of December 7th

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.

To Fill A Void

I started my business to fill a void in the marketplace. Selling products or services to the US Federal government is complicated. Even interacting with them as a consumer is complicated (ie. DMV, USPS, etc). We help companies of all sizes, domestic and foreign to help them understand how to get their product or service placed into the buyers hands. It’s a long sales cycle with a ton of paperwork, and many firms give up because they don’t know how to navigate through the red tape. There are ample expensive law firms and lobbyist who help with the political piece and influencing elected officials and legislation, but not many firms who have feet on the ground and knock on the doors of the agencies to help the companies get a meeting to demo their product. We fill not only this sales void but also alleviate the nightmare of completing the associated registrations and paperwork. We are industry agnostic and serve all sectors to help them achieve “B2G” (business-to-government) success.

Thanks to Jennifer Schaus!

To Help People Give Better Gifts & Express Themselves Better

My partner and I started the company to help people give better gifts, bring back the meaning to gift giving and really give back. We give 10% of all profits to our partner charities. The idea came when my partner, William Mehserle Jr., was in high school he was in love, broke and wanted to something special for his girlfriend. So he went to the store and got a dictionary and some photos of his girlfriend and put them together. He gave it to her and she was floored and the Expressionary was born. We decided to give back, because we really love giving back and feel that people don’t do enough to give back as companies and we wanted to help others have opportunity and grow like we’ve been able to do.  Our whole goal is help people express themselves better, give better gifts and impact our local community. We believe in this idea so much that we quit our jobs and have been working hard to make this a company that helps
others.

Thanks to Michael Flanigan, The Expressionary!

Burning Desire to be in Charge

The intense burning desire to be in charge of my life. I worked in a office job for a few years and would get all choked up when I had to leave and give my time to someone else on  schedule that they determine for me. For me it was all about freedom. I work harder in my business then I ever would working for anyone else, but I wouldn’t trade being in total control of my life for anything in the world!

Thanks to Christopher Wells, Restaurant Building Blocks!

Because of Dissatisfaction

Started the business because of dissatisfaction with the way corporate clients (my former employers) were choosing to meet their employee developmental needs.  I offered them a more complete and comprehensive approach that was more closely aligned with their strategies and goals and was also measurable.

Thanks to David Zahn, Zahn Consulting!

I Am a Single Mom with a Passion for Cleaning and the Environment

As a single mom I needed to get creative to gain income while being excited about what I was doing. I put together a list of skills and passions and that is when I knew exactly what I wanted to do; create a cleaning business using only eco-friendly products. I reached out to a loyal friend and we went into business together. Together we started and have grown “Green and Clean Cleaning Professionals. LLC.” Our clients either do not have the time to clean, are physically unable to clean, unhappy with their current company, or simply do not enjoy it like we do. We also knew that the cleaning industry in our area rarely used pet- and kid- friendly products, and opted to use harsh chemicals that they could buy in bulk instead. We knew we had found our niche, and a year later we are running a successful eco-friendly cleaning business generating consistent income, a tremendous number of referrals, and many happy clients.

Thanks to Chelsey Perea, Green Clean Professionals!

 To Help Event Planners, Couples, Florists & Corporations

The reason I started Koyal in 2003 with two other siblings in Southern California, was to provide event planners, couples, florists and corporations the ease of access to the broad spectrum of event decor and supplies they needed for their events, paired with world-class customer service and educational content online. I was inspired by all the friends and family members I had getting engaged, who were exhausted having to coordinate with several vendors during the search process and I wanted to streamline the entire process.

Thanks to Shreyans Parekh, Koyal Wholesale!

Because I was Laid Off, Again

I started Your Computer Needs of Toledo, LLC out of frustration of being laid off again; I lost count after five. I was on Monster.com looking for a job, sending letters, responding to emails, etc., only to continuously receive the answer “no” for whatever reason. With everyone else asleep in the house and me being up during the wee hours of the night, I finally said within myself, “That’s it! I can’t take it anymore. I’m tired of being told ‘no’ all the time and the unemployment’s about to run out. All these skills, all this education including a Master’s Degree, and still ‘no’ I’ve had it! I’m going to start my own business! At least I won’t have to worry about layoffs cause there’s no way I’m laying myself off.” Went through some training on how to start a business during the latter part of 2004. Though I was scared, $1,000 of unemployment money, not everything together yet, a wing, and a whole lot of prayers, I decided on January 1, 2005 as being the first day for Your Computer Needs of Toledo, LLC. As mentioned previously, I hadn’t looked back since.

Thanks to Amber S. Hawkins, Your Computer Needs of Toledo, LLC!

Because Several Colleagues Asked Me to

When I owned a small, service business, I got tired of ad agencies telling me you couldn’t track marketing and it’s too complex to know what generates leads. So I started doing my own tracking and testing online with Google Adwords. A few colleagues heard about my unique approach to testing the best headlines, offers, and calls-to-action online to then use offline and asked me to help them. So I started Optimized-Marketing.com in September 2011. Now my 4-person team does online lead-generation for small service-based businesses utilizing SEO, PPC, online directory optimization, website design, website conversion rate optimization and email marketing. We then use all the information we gather online to help small businesses improve all of their marketing.

Thanks to Bryan Trilli, Optimized-Marketing.com!

To Change The Experience of Buying Pleasure Products

Buying adult toys has always been a sleazy experience. I wanted to change that and make it as elegant and luxurious as possible with quality products. Most of the products in the marketplace are poorly designed, made with inferior materials and don’t last very long. However, people don’t know that better quality products exist. The consumer hasn’t realized that technology and innovation has changed the way we live our lives and that shouldn’t stop at the bedroom? I want people to invest in themselves and learn about pleasure, discover innovative products and shop in a discreet environment where they feel comfortable.

Thanks to Stacy Rybchin, My Secret Luxury!

We Were Tired of Waitressing & Bartending

I am a co-owner and co-founder of Sugartooth Tours, a New York City dessert tasting food tour company. Sugartooth Tours is a female owned business, and myself and my business partner, Allyson, are both in our mid-twenties. We both come from theatre backgrounds, and were seeking more fulfilling work for our “survival jobs.” We were tired of waitressing, bartending, etc. and decided to take matters in to our own hands and become our own bosses. So this summer we decided to dive into the unknown world of business and entrepreneurship. We faced unique challenges as we were new to the world of business and entrepreneurship. We launched last month and have had a good response, and some media exposure. You can see our reviews on Yelp and TripAdvisor. We currently are running two types of tours- our “Find Heaven in Hell’s Kitchen” dessert tour, and a holiday tour around the Union Square Holiday Market.

Thanks to Sarah Rolleston, Sugartooth Tours!

To Turn What I Loved To Do Into A Career

While trudging through my days as a computer programmer, I had been performing in improvisation troupes for years at night and on weekends without pay because I loved the art form and the fun it creates. At 35, I learned that there were companies on the east coast using improvisation for team building events. This made total sense to me because doing improv with others requires development of skills in listening, cooperation, non-verbal communication, creativity, and more. Over the next year, I put processes in place to quit my job and start IMPROVentures. Twelve years later, not only have I run my TEAMprovising course for companies like Southwest Airlines and Qualcomm, but I’ve also become an interactive motivational speaker using the games of improv to get as many as 400 people playing along with me in the audience, learning about themselves and laughing together. So glad I found the courage to quit.

Thanks to Milo Shapiro, IMPROVentures!

I was Desperate to Be My Own Boss

Having worked in the supposed ‘Establishment’ for 26 years (British Royal Navy), not only was I desperate to be my on boss and have my talents and efforts rewarded beyond the limitations of a salary structure, I also believe wholeheartedly that I could make more of a difference to my and other’s lives by being self employed in a business that brought good to the lives of my customers and staff with whom I work and serve.

Thanks to Andrew Mills, Nephria!

Because They Were Few Female CEOs

I started a business when I read of how few females CEOs there were leading the Fortune 500. In 2007 that number was 12. With 9 and 10 year old daughters at home I knew I had to teach them to fish for themselves. So I suggested they start a business with my help. Their business is now an international CPG company with award winning products in thousands of stores in four countries. Through the experience of starting their own business they have learned a strong work ethic and the limitless potential within themselves.

Thanks to Renee Sandler, BLAMtastic®, LLC!

Because No Big Corporate Job Would Fulfill Me

I started my business after I realized that no big corporate job was going to fulfill me. No matter how excellent my work was there were always limitations to the use if my capacity. It felt like I was being place in a can and the lid was locked in place. Ever worst I felt they were never going to pay me as much as I thought my ideas were worth. A year later I have Notary @ Your Door. A notary public, loan signing, and wedding officiant company that is growing and will soon allow my husband to leave his job and work with me in what will then be our company.

Thanks to Maria Torres, Notary @ Your Door!

Because I Didn’t Want to Work for Another ‘Horrible’ Boss Ever Again

I studied Industrial Technology, with minor in Packaging at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. After college, I found a job in New York working for an European packaging based in NYC. I loved the job and the projects, but not the work environment. They had hired me because I have the packaging background they need and the ability to speak Chinese to communicate with the manufacturers; other than that, my boss didn’t want anything else to do with me. He talked to me as little as possible, excluded me in the company meeting, and when an opportunity opened up for a promotion in another location, he granted me the promotion and sent me away (but still working under him). When the economy fall in 2007, we fall short of our financial goals, he started transferring my accounts to his office, then refused to pay me (for 4 months of work), so I took him to court. After the experience, I decided I will never work for another boss that is unsupportive, unappreciative, and greedy. I love what I do, and though running my own business is harder than I had imagined, I still prefer to work for myself instead of a horrible boss. And I know, someday when I have employee, I will be sure to treat them well, and acknowledge that their work enables me to do what I love to do every day. That’s my story of how WestWind Imports and Packaging was born.

Thanks to Ikon Chen, West Wind Imports and Packaging!

To Capture a Market with a Product That Never Existed Before

I created the first and only diamond ring designed for and marketed to single women, The Ah Ring(TM). I figured there were wedding rings and engagement rings, but there was nothing on the market for single women. So I created one — The Ah Ring! The Ah Ring is the diamond ring you buy for yourself when you’re single…and you wear it on your pinkie. The A stands for A, available and the h, happy. It’s for joyful, confident women that feel good about being single. The Ah Ring has eleven full cut diamonds and is set in 14 karat white gold. Why wait for a man to buy you diamonds? With the number of single women in the United States nearing 55 million, this was a niche market that was not being addressed by the jewelry industry. After being featured in O, The Oprah Magazine, on The O List, the rest was history!

Thanks to Ruta Fox, DivineDiamonds.com!

There Was A Demand for It

I chose to start my own company because I saw a demand for it in society. Growing up and working in security since I was young, I realized there was a need for a private security company with high caliber employees that could get to an area, whether it be a company or private residence, in just hours. Sometimes law enforcement aren’t able to attend to an issue, leaving individuals uneasy. That’s where my employees, many who are active or retired law enforcement can guard an area and be at an location in less than two hours. It’s challenging building a new concept from scratch but it’s always rewarding having the freedom to do something that I truly believe in and that I know is helping individuals in a way others cannot.

Thanks to Zabi Kator, guardNOW!

To Help the Baby Boomers

I started my business this year to help the largest growing population- the Baby Boomers! My business, Social Security Central, provides a central online resource on maximizing Social Security for those at or near retirement. We have a book, It’s Your Money! Simple Strategies to Maximize Your Social Security Income, and this month we’re launching our proprietary Social Security Benefit Maximization calculator on our website to help those at or near retirement (ie. the Baby Boomers) figure out the best strategy to maximize their Social Security income. My mom, who is part of the Baby Boomer generation, took her Social Security early and lost out on over $100,000 of income. I don’t want this to happen to any other Baby Boomer so I started Social Security Central.

Thanks to Angela S. Deppe, Social Security Central!

It was the Logical Outcome

Founding Sympatico Clothing, was the logical outcome of a lifetime passion for designing and sewing women’s clothes combined with my convictions about environmentally sustainable business. I recognized that crafting clothes here in the U.S., I was bucking a trend in which most of our apparel manufacturing has moved offshore in search of lower costs. As a designer in my sixties, I also observed that women in my age group are largely ignored by the fashion industry. With these ideas and challenges in mind I set about launching Sympatico Clothing with $6,500 in startup capital and a conviction that there was a niche waiting for me to fill. Thousands of happy customers have helped validate my intentions.

Thanks to Marty Paule, Sympatico Clothing!

Flexibility and and Time to Cook

I started A Greener Kitchen after a year-long search for a business that aligned with my love of the kitchen. I dreamed of a flexible work-from-home lifestyle where I could throw a pot roast in the oven or bake a loaf of bread whenever I pleased. I partnered with my mom’s sewing company to create a line of organic cotton kitchen textiles for wholesale along with custom pieces for restaurants and other businesses. My mom’s company manufactures and stocks each item so now I am free to work from home or on the road if I wish. Now that our family has grown, I’m even more grateful to be at home with my little man and continue to pursue my passion and create cash flow for my family.

Thanks to Lacey M. Lybecker, A Greener Kitchen!

To Live Each Day with Passion and Purpose

As an entertainment publicist who has represented KISS and some of the biggest artists in the industry, I have the honor of working with brilliant people who live each day with passion and purpose. I started Chrome PR out of passion. There is no greater joy than helping my clients get to the top and, in particular, helping them achieve things they didn’t think possible. I wake up each morning and ask, “What do I get to do for my clients today? What can my team do today to help clients achieve their success?” My clients’ passion and purpose is my passion and purpose. This, in turn, creates a type of success that is beyond the boundaries of working for someone else.

Thanks to Lee Runchey, Chrome PR!

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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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