In San Diego, CA a local business owner is using technology to help build up a new project, that is already reaping rewards. Billy Canu, an Entrepreneur and Investor, launched Plumber Tom a month ago, and within four weeks it's on track to deliver a million in its first year.
So what gives? As well as having a flair for branding, Canu is a serious data geek. He uses the latest technology to make his life easier. So far, his latest project, Plumber Tom has three employees, is busy every day and is taking the business from other local companies like they're going out of fashion.
I spoke to Canu about his methods for other small brick and mortar or service based businesses starting up, to give advice for other aspiring entrepreneurs, and it's pretty impressive. 'I do what a lot of other people can't. I make you busy.'
For a statement that seems ego filled and farfetched, Canu just wants to get on with the job, and there's no ego attached. I spent an afternoon with him meeting over a coffee in San Diego's Bankers Hill neighborhood. We stopped by one of his salon locations, Fox and Jane. It was bustling; it wasn't decorated like a normal salon. It felt like I'd just stepped into someone's living room. 'I'm constantly working on branding, constantly working on image and I'm making data decisions every 5 minutes. Nothing rests that much. Of course without our stylists and my business partner it would be nothing.' You would be wise to draw similarities to the popular TV show Shark Tank, but Canu is almost the reverse, he's the Shark looking to make friends with the fisherman.
It takes money to make it. That's just the way it goes according to Canu. You can't compete in crazy industries unless you have cash upfront. And whether you have the cash or not, as the business owner you should be involved every step of the way.
The salon seemed to be a well oiled machine, one that didn't need much more explanation, so I was intrigued to know more about the new venture. The new business that within 8 weeks is on track to rake in $1 million. This is valuable advice that our readers would love.
Here he gives 5 of his tips for helping you make the most of your new venture.
1. It takes money to make money
The above is an obvious one, your business will fail without cash to start it. But a lot of people are in the predicament where they have an idea, but no cash to make it even out of the gate. Depending on the industry you're wanting to work in, you'll need at least $10,000 - $20,000 to feasibly get it off the ground and start advertising. Find something you can do and save the money. If that means shoveling snow, then shovel snow.
2. Find a partner
My main superpower is coming up with an idea and finding someone to execute it with me. I'm not a plumber, I have no idea how to go into a house and fix a toilet, but I know that it's a killer industry and if I find the right people to work with me, I can make it as busy as the company that's been around for a decade. I'll find the right partner, offer them 50% of the company to do the manual work, while I do everything else.
Don't be cheap with your partner. Just because its your idea doesn't mean you should keep 80% of a company.
3. Cut the Ego
You're not a "visionary," and until you make it, you're not an entrepreneur either. As above, so below -- and you're only as good as your last sale. So cut out any ego. Don't argue with your partner over mindless crap. Most businesses fail because they have an ideology of how things should be done, which is often wrong. This goes for the brand image too. I do my research. Take a look at most plumbing sites. What do you see? Sites that look like they were built in the 90s. Plumber Tom is different, I used a basic WordPress site to build it and I cut to the chase.
One guy said to me that he wouldn't dream of taking the sales calls. He'd hire someone to do it! I bill over $10 million each year through all of my businesses, but until the recipe is perfected, I'm the chef, the baker, the buyer of the ingredients, everything. I talk to the customers and take the calls.
4. Utilize the latest Tech to help you
"I use tech to help me also." House Call Pro is a system that is like Uber. I can't do it all alone, when we book a job for one of our plumbers, the customers details are entered into it, and I don't have to worry about a thing. All of the scheduling is done. Stuff like this is just one small item that takes care of the little things.
5. Reinvest your profit
When you make money in the beginning, you'll need to take some to live, but make a deal to invest back into advertising. All of your cash needs to go into advertising. If it's you and a partner, then take a third each. 30% toward advertising, 30% toward you, and 30% toward your partner. If it's just you, then invest the majority of your budget back into ads and take what you need to live.