For as long as I can remember or at least as long as I’ve been a working adult, I’ve been what some might call, a serial entrepreneur. I had more ideas than time could conceive. Year by year would go by and I would have put together outlines of one, two, maybe three different companies some of which were actually very good and probably could have provided for me and my family. But there was always a hurdle that I just could never get over, and even today I don’t know what that is, was, or how to spot it. But it always occurred, and never did I move forward with any great intensity.
Gatsby and Bootlegger is a culmination of several of those ideas and the core concept has been bouncing around in my head for the good part of two years. But something changed, and without knowing it, I cleared that obstacle that prevented progress all those years. while I don’t know when or at what point I crossed the line into true entrepreneurship, I can unequivocally credit two ordinary tools that carried me up the mountain and set the pace for the official launch of our company. Those two things are: Pen and Paper. I did say ordinary right? Were you hoping for something more insightful?
More specifically, those two things were a set of Field Notes and Retro 1951 tornado. Two of the most cherished and useful items I carry. Nearly one year prior to the beginnings of G and B I started carrying a Pitch Black dot graph memo book in my back pocket and immediately started scratching the ideas in my head – my trusty 10 year old pen could barely keep up. One book turned into two books which flowed into three books, full from cover to cover. When I had an idea, I wrote it down. It didn’t matter if it was a single word, sketch, phrase or even full page jottings (that was rare). Within those pages I was able to build the framework of a viable company complete with plans for the future. Products, services, content, social media, motivational musings, P & Ls, Balance sheets, structuring, competitors, companies I looked at for motivation, trends, life cycles, industry status, target markets, economic trends, competitive edge and USP’s, vendors and suppliers, advertising, SWOTS, when to hire, who to hire, mission, visions, budgets…etc…phew! It was ALL there, within the pages of a half dozen Field Notes scratched and scribbled with single pen.
The time to write a business plan was eerily simple. A time when other entrepreneurs pull their hair out and toss the ol’ laptop out the window cost me about 2 hours of time. That’s it, two. Okay maybe three hours…but it was as simple as organizing the thoughts I had already written down months prior. And in no time at all, I held in my hand an official launching pad of what would be Gatsby and Bootlegger.
These handful of papers was all I needed to move forward, and do so on Boot-Strapped terms, a risky business maneuver I hope to continue throughout the evolution of this company. Funny thing is I have never referenced my business plan, this guide book, the heart and soul of everything. When I need to reference (which is daily)…it’s the Field Notes I reach for. Each one numbered and each one with unique ideas always readily available on my desk, and since these books hold many gems and secrets – I know for certain I’ll be reading them again and again for years to come. I continue and will continue to carry a notebook and pen every day…I know now that it’s essential, at least to me, for continued success.
Long story long – you want to start a business, get a fresh memo book and jot down every little thing that pops into your head at a moments notice. In six months you may have the workings of a business plan, albeit a messy disorganized plan, but a business plan nonetheless. Oh, and if I could recommend anything: pick your favorite Field Notes and set yourself up with a rad Retro 1951 tornado. Worked for me.