These days, it seems like most people believe that you can’t start a business without some sort of venture capital financing.

“Shark Tank,” Silicon Valley and most of the business publications on the market underscore this popular premise. In fact, the business plan is now viewed as an application for venture financing. The idea seems to be, come up with an idea and get it financed, and you are golden.

But you’re not. Far from it!

Now you have given up equity to raise capital that you can spend in ways that may not be necessary or effective. Now you have given yourself the false sense of security that because your plan got financing, it must be right. Now that you have secured a “runway” and “burn rate,” you attract service suppliers interested in grabbing some of that capital. They want to sell you goods and services you don’t necessarily need, including staff, facilities and other overhead with monthly bills hungry for your money. Have you made adequate sales to justify those expenditures?

So, now you have funded your company without thoroughly understanding the sales or growth process, especially the most often overlooked and underestimated expense: the cost of sales.

To read the complete article, please visit The Business Journals 



Who Are We.

Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey co-authored the New York Times bestselling business book, The Barefoot Spirit: How Hardship, Hustle, and Heart Built America’s #1 Wine Brand. The book has been selected as recommended reading in the CEO Library for CEO Forum, the C-Suite Book Club, and numerous university classes on business and entrepreneurship. It chronicles their humble beginnings from the laundry room of a rented Sonoma County farmhouse in 1986, to the board room of E&J Gallo, where they successfully sold their brand in 2005. Barefoot is now the world’s largest wine brand.

Beginning with virtually no money and no wine industry experience, they employed innovative ideas to overcome obstacles, create new markets and forge strategic alliances. They pioneered Worthy Cause Marketing and performance-based compensation. They offer their Guiding Principles for Success (GPS) to help entrepreneurs become successful and help corporations achieve entrepreneurial cultures to engage and empower their people.

Currently they travel the world keynoting at universities, corporations, conferences and symposiums. They are regular media guests and contributors to international publications and professional journals; along with being FOX News Radio Network’s Workplace Culture Experts. They are also the recipients of the 2014 Distinguished Entrepreneur Speaker Award from the Turner School of Entrepreneurship and Innovation at Bradley University. Visit their popular brand building site at To make inquiries for keynote speaking, trainings or consulting, please contact

Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey
-Barefoot Wine Founders