I would be happy to have people bounce ideas off me! After all the small business knowledge that has been imparted to me, it would only be fair to recipricate! Contact me at email@example.com
David Mayer broke free from his corporate prison as a project manager at Cisco to start up http://cleanbottle.com/" rel="nofollow">Clean Designs LLC., an innovative water bottle company in Northern California.
I would be happy to have people bounce ideas off me! After all the small business knowledge that has been imparted to me, it would only be fair to reciprocate! Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org" rel="nofollow">email@example.com
Right now I am running Clean Designs, LLC.
We launched our first product, the Clean Bottle, last May and have got into over 4,000 stores nationwide and 14 countries.
Our second product, The Runner, launched about a month ago and we already sold out of our first trial run.
We also have a custom Clean Bottle programme available and this Summer we are going to launch our stunning new stainless steel bottle, The Square!
Prior to Clean Designs, I was a project manager at Cisco for 4 years, and an anylist at Goldman Sachs for 3 years.
While there were elements of boths jobs I liked or even loved - my co-workers, bosses and steady paychecks - I never felt like corporate life was a perfect fit.
I don’t know how to describe it.
I just wanted to be in control of my own destiny. I didn’t want to have a boss who was telling me to do something; who was told by his boss; who was told by his boss. I wanted to decide everything and felt like I needed to be in control; making my own decisions.
It’s like I could just feel it in my bones. I didn’t want to wake up at 60 years old and be in a cube-farm somewhere.
When you think of quitting your job, you don’t just want to run from something. You want to run to something.
So every month while I was at my job, I would actually interview a different small business owner - I would interview an exterminator, a garage door company, an ice cream shop owner. I would ask myself if this fits with my passion and gifts. I wrote it all down in my Excel file and tried to find the best thing for me.
I waited until I felt like Clean Designs was totally viable, and then I asked my wife if I could quit my job at Cisco. I knew once she was on board it was go time.
The stress that comes along with running a business can certainly wear on you. I am always concerned with cash flow, and how to balance out product development with our other expenses.
Inventory management is especially difficult. When we started out with one product in one colour it wasn't too bad, but as we've grown, forecasting our needs have been getting much tougher.
But every time I see a Clean Bottle in nature I am totally thrilled. I cannot begin to describe how cool it was to see a Clean Bottle in France when I was there this past Summer. Getting to see the manifestation of an idea into a physical form is worth all the headaches.
I started Clean Designs to be my own boss and gain complete control over my life. Now I can go out for a noon bicycle ride, and I get to spend way more time with my two kids. That alone makes the whole thing worth it!
Your product or idea has to be the cheapest or the best, preferably both.
If you adhere to these basic ideas, you are going to set yourself up for success.
The people around me have been a huge help. My Dad is a former VC, and he has been instrumental in advising me. I also enlisted his services as head shipper, so all the orders that go out the door have his touch. My brother-in-law has also been a great resource with everything from the day-to-day stuff to inventory management.
I am also a huge fan of reaching out to other small business owners for interviews. Before I escaped from corporate life, I talked with a small business owner every month to develop a better picture of what I was in for. Even still, I ask as many questions as possible.
Every month a successful entrepreneur gives a talk at Stanford, and I listen to the podcasts to help get ideas.
I also love to read any marketing, sales, or business books I can get my hands on. Recently I read "http://www.amazon.com/Method-Obsessions-Scrappy-Start-up-Industry/dp/1591843995/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1349364158&sr=1-1&keywords=The+Method+Method" rel="nofollow">The Method Method" about the San Francisco based cleaning product start-up, Method - definitely worth a look.