TBS.12.17.15A lot of you are sitting on the fence between a comfy, secure job that bores you to death, and taking that adventurous plunge into the unknown – entrepreneurship.

What’s going through your mind? Short-term security with a good “solid” job and get-by retirement, with apparently little risk? Or a much bigger risk but a giant paycheck for building and selling a business?

Before you take the plunge, take stock of your philosophies. That’s right, your philosophies, how you think about stuff, how you make decisions, and how your judgements are formed. More than any other single factor, success in entrepreneurship comes down to making more right decisions. What influences those decisions? What standards do you hold up as guides and measures? In entrepreneurship it is your decisions that can make or break you.

Do you think, for instance, that if your idea is good enough, your quality high enough, or your prices low enough, sales will take care of themselves? In other words have you bought into the popular notion that it’s all about the product or service? We did! And boy were we surprised! This is a commonly held misconception! Sure, you must have a great product at an attractive price, but actually getting it to the ultimate customer is a much bigger challenge than producing it in the first place.

Do you think that those who have a financial interest in seeing your product stay in stock and reordering it, will keep selling it? We did! Wrong again! They have too many other products to sell to put much energy in to a new, unproven one. Especially in the critical early stages, we found that we had to sell it for them, over and over again. In fact we had to do so much of what we thought was the other guy’s job that we wound up with our own sales team, and that cost us plenty.

Do you think you need tons of money to get started? In retrospect, we found that being undercapitalized actually forced us to be resourceful and innovative. If we had been “properly financed” we would have never discovered how to get the word out about our product through worthy cause marketing. We would have just thrown lots of money at advertising, the common approach to marketing.

Do you think your vendors are trying to squeeze you for payments?  We actually increased our credit when we were late on our payments! How? By treating our vendors the way we wanted to be treated, with a friendly heads-up call in advance of a late payment, along with a plan to bring our account current. We met with them bi-monthly to appraise them of our progress. Your vendors can be your strongest strategic allies!

Do you think salespeople are out to unload merchandise on you or somehow get over on you? If you do, you will lose one of the best sources of information about your competitors and the market changes. Vendors and salespeople know what’s going on and they can share it with you.

Where do these inaccurate business philosophies come from? It could be your childhood, what you have heard from others, or assumptions you have made about the market. For instance, you may think no one has come up with your great idea yet because you haven’t seen it. In fact, you may not have seen it for sale because the original developers may have been unable to bring it to market. Don’t be like them.

We can help by sharing the lessons we learned most often the hard way. Get the big picture before you take the plunge!







Who We Are

Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey Barefoot Wine Founders

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 to the board room of E&J Gallo, who ultimately acquired their brand and engaged them as brand consultants. 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 built an internationally bestselling brand and received their industry’s “Hot Brand” award for several consecutive years.

They offer their Guiding Principles for Success (GPS) to help entrepreneurs become successful. Their book, The Entrepreneurial Culture: 23 Ways To Engage and Empower Your People, helps corporations maximize the value of their human resources.

Currently they travel the world leading workshops, trainings, & keynoting at business schools, corporations, conferences. They are regular media guests and contributors to international publications and professional journals. They are C-Suite Network Advisors & Contributing Editors. Visit their popular brand building site at www.consumerbrandbuilders.com.

To make inquiries for keynote speaking, trainings or consulting, please contact sales@thebarefootspirit.com.