Start Your Own Organic Food Delivery Service

Imagine easily shedding pounds without traditional dieting, i.e. starving.  Your future customers want this service.  Most diet food tastes like cardboard, so there’s not much competition in this market.  You can start your own organic food delivery service locally, and then expand as your success grows.

We have done just this service in Los Angeles, CA and you can too in your local neighborhood or city.

The key elements are to give the clients what they want, which is portion control and quality food, and then have a long term customer on a maintenance diet program.

Daily delivery food programs do not cost much more to the consumer than eating takeout twice a day, which many busy professionals are doing already.

You can get the entire proven business plan here, with step-by-step instructions to get you up and running this month.



Women Entrepreneurs Better At Seeking Advice

Women small business owners are more realistic about their situation, and reach out for advice and help to grow, sooner than men in the same position.

2014 data on business startups and people becoming self-employed show men are 63% of new small business owners, while women account for 37%.  Historically, men have started businesses in higher percentage than women after being fired or laid off.

Women and men see equal number of opportunities, but a survey by the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor showed 34% of women are scared of failure before starting, compared to 25.6% of men surveyed.  Women are more realistic about their own abilities, which turns out to be a great asset in a start-up setting.

Start-up success is not tied to the business idea, but the ability of a team to execute the idea. It is not a single heroic journey, but a group effort with a continually growing leader.

Once new business is started, women are more likely to ask for expert advice on areas of business that might be new to someone previously employed by a company.

Women are better at recognizing what they know and don’t know in business, then go on to learn all the skills needed to be successful.  This may include hiring experts to advise and coach them on current and future business issues.

United States Still On Top for One Thing: Business!

Despite the constant barrage of low ranking for the US in the world on such topics as health care and unemployment benefits, there is thankfully one area where we still are #1: Business Management. According to a study undertaken by European researchers, it seems that the U.S. system of competition and freedom still win out.

The first major advantage for U.S. companies is that the competitive environment means that bad management decisions put people out of business. Another way to say it is that U.S. management has to keep evolving and improving, because their direct competitors are constantly getting better and raising the bar. Improve or lose relevancy with the customers.

The second major advantage is that most American companies value PEOPLE. While the study points to a higher level of education for the general population, I think the human capital element in U.S. firms is unrivaled. This is one of the key elements for any branded business. The humans behind a brand are what define and ultimately ensure the success or failure. I know firsthand that the more you invest in finding the right group of people, the more you encourage them to be the best they can be, the more money and success that the brand enjoys.

The third, and I think the most important difference, is American businesses can hire and fire people much easier than any other country in the world. While that sounds bad for the employees that get fired, it makes for a much more profitable enterprise. In addition, any employee that gets hired and subsequently let go is better off to find a work situation that fits their needs.

Work forces with incentives based on meritocracy, not seniority are the widespread in America. Many countries have world-class companies with amazing management, but on the whole, most countries allow a large percentage of mediocre companies to survive in their home market due to government regulations against competition or subsidies.

The ability of U.S. firms not to get stuck with bad employees is the main reason we are still on top from a business performance point of view.

Brand Licensing Right For My Company?

Pierre Cardin, the most extreme form of a fashion brand in licensing is for sale for $1 Billion Euros. Many companies are questioning whether there is riches to be had licensing out their brands. The key to success is to license out categories that the company is not expert in, but would like to eventually grow.

Licensing is the when you allow other companies to make products with your brand name on them, in exchange for a royalty payment. Many times this royalty payment can range from 3-10% of revenues, depending upon the amount of marketing support and strength of the licensors brand name.

Brands love to license their name as royalty checks come regularly with no capital outlay to support the revenue stream. Royalty payments drop straight to the bottom line on many company balance sheets, which frees up capital to concentrate on core categories. Another common negotiating point is a guaranteed royalty payment, so the licensor knows it will get a minimum amount even if the license fails in the particular category.

The risks of licensing your brand are that it may degregate your brand equity due to the channel of distribution or product category. The key is to test the waters in certain categories close to the brand’s heritage, and then slowly expand into outlying (profitable) categories.

Overall, if you have created a brand that has consumer equity, and you also would like to expand into new categories without the upfront cost of development and inventory, licensing is a great way to grow your bottom line profits.

5 Reasons to be a Young Entrepreneur

When students in my business and marketing classes at OTIS College of Art and Design ask me about starting their own business straight out of school, I advise against it. I recommend they go work for some medium and large companies right out of school in order to see how business works. But once they have been working a few years, I highly recommend they start their own business.

  1. (In)Secure Paycheck Jobs

The working world has changed in the United States and young people should be preparing for a different future than their parents. There is no job security in working for medium and large companies these days. It used to be your parents might have had 2 or 3 employers over their career. Now, many employed people are only at a company 18-36 months before going to a competitor, getting transferred, or laid off due to merger or business change. In a good economy, the best people quit to move on to a higher paying or better job. In a down economy, people stay put but are constantly looking for a better opportunity elsewhere.

  1. Young Graduates Pay Is Down?!!

Yes, you are out of college and on to a career job that will pay back your student loans. Less than $20/hr with a college degree? That’s right, wages are DOWN, not up in the past 10 years adjusted for inflation. The Economic Policy Institute reports that college graduates under 30 made on average $21.68 if they were male, $18.80 if they were female.

There is still the stupid gender pay gap, but hopefully we will solve it with this generation. High school graduates are even worse off, with men under 25 earning on average $11.68 and women only $9.92 an hour. That is not significantly above minimum wage and nowhere near able to support saving to buy a house or have a family.

The takeaway is that the jobs available to high school and college graduates are not high enough pay to justify sticking with them. In fact, it seems like a young adult cannot afford to work for less than $20/hr, and will probably be able to earn more self employed than at this average pay scale for their age group.

  1. Working For Others to Know What Business to Start

If you are young and working, think of your job as extended school with pay. Learn everything you can about the business. What are all the things you would change if you ran this business? What problems do they have that they don’t see right in front of them? Take all this knowledge with you to not make the same mistakes, but new ones you’ve never faced before.

On a side note, the other takeaway from working for others is networking. Who are the best people you’ve worked with? Make sure you stay in touch, because if you start your own company or join a startup, you want the best people you know to be working alongside you in the future.

  1. You Already Know Your Angel Investors

Way before you sell your startup for millions, before wasting your time on VC’s (Venture Capitalists), you are going to need some money to fund your growth. No matter how great a start up, it always helps to have more money in the business. This is where angel investors come in. No, they don’t come down from heaven. These are people you already know: your parents, successful relatives, mentors, advisors, and generally people who have been successful and are looking to invest their money for a greater return than a savings account. My general business model is organic growth, but sometimes in a company’s early days a shot of capital can make it grow quickly and get the success needed to sustain and thrive. When you need money for your startup, reach out to the people you know. They already trust and believe in you, now help them out by giving them a good return on their investment.

  1. The Government is Not Going to Take Care of You in Old Age

If you’re under 30, Social Security will most likely be bankrupt by the time you are old enough to collect anything. Ask any retiree now and they will tell you their SS check doesn’t cover much anyways. There is only one way for you to have a comfortable retirement, and that is by you saving for it yourself now. Being self-employed allows you to put a larger portion of your earnings away for retirement, especially as more companies drop their matching contribution plans. Starting retirement savings in your 20’s and you’ll be ahead of most Americans just based on the concept of compound growth over time.

Entrepreneurs Make Their Own Secure Future

Who better to decide what your pay rate should be than yourself? Even with equal pay, more people chose to own a business for the flexibility in schedule and work choice than under the thumb of others. Entrepreneurship is not for everyone, but if you’re reading this article you are thinking about it or doing it. I applaud your ambition and encourage you it is the best way to have a secure future for yourself and your family as this country becomes a nation of largely self employed workers.

Forgot Why You are in Business For Yourself?

Money, freedom, and lack of petty stuff are reasons we work for ourselves.

When you walk by an Anthropologie store you see some of the greatest DIY artwork in the windows. Fantastic displays that incorporate ordinary objects into beautiful creations. The store windows change every month. It makes you want to go inside, where there are even more scenes set up around the store to complement the products on display. My friend Emily makes those actual displays, and has been a visual merchandiser for Anthro for more than a year now. She has been promoted to one of the top performing stores, and recently got an hourly increase. Her pay raise was less than a dollar an hour. Do you miss working hard all year to get no monetary benefit from your efforts from the company you worked for?

You work for yourself and get three key benefits. You get the benefit of more of the money you earn, you have the freedom to set your own hours and productivity, and you can cut out all the petty things that come with someone else’s work rules.

More Money

I used to be a 6-figure corporate executive. I effectively paid half my earnings in taxes every year. Even 6 figure bonuses could turn into half that amount very easily after taxes. Now all the money earned from customers goes into the company bank account, and you choose how it is spent.

Yes, you now have office overhead, payments to vendors and health insurance. But you can still maintain the same standard of living by earning less money in total. Because many of the things you used to pay for with after-tax money is now a business expense and paid for by the business.

Take into consideration the possibility that there is no longer a cap on how much you can make. Before, you had a salary and maybe some additional monetary perks. Now, if you do something great, you get to keep all the profits generated by the activity.

What actually happens is you make as much gross income as before, but you just get more out of it because effectively many of your old expenses are paid pre-tax instead of post-tax.


Your kid has a school event in the middle of the day? No problem. You have no pressing work on Friday? Take the afternoon off! The flexibility to manage your own work hours many times means you work at non-traditional times of day. But it also means you can do what’s important to you, and schedule your work when it’s convenient. This is in contrast to the 90% of workers who are stuck at work for 8+ hours a day and have to manage their personal lives remotely without their boss finding out.

Many business owners I talk to cite the freedom to control their work timing as a key non-monetary incentive to never go back to a paycheck job.

No Office Politics, Dumb Rules

The bigger the organization, the more effort you have to put in to office politics to get your projects moved forward. Layers of approvals, meetings to get consensus, who needs them? One of the advantages of having your own business is cutting out all the useless crap that takes up your day and keeps you from doing actual work.

Who said you have to be there before your boss, leave after your boss, go to endless meetings? Rule makers who are concerned about command and control, not volume of work output. With your own business you can throw out all those silly rules that would keep you and your employees from being as effective as possible in the least amount of time.

No Ceiling, No Safety Net

On the positive side, there is nothing that limits your income except your own ideas and efforts. The down side is there is no net that gives you a paycheck even if you have not done any work. (Unless of course you have trained your employees so well that you can make money without having to show up at work!)

The jobless economic recoveries are becoming the new norm. More and more people will give up (in)secure paycheck jobs and start doing the same work on their own. Embrace the fact that you are already out there, hustling for work and in control of your money, freedom, and free from the annoyances that employers impose on their employees for control. You are the new workforce that will define this next new economy for your secure future.

Do Business Partnerships Work?

5 Traits of Successful Business Partnerships

Steve Jobs famously said, “Great things in business are never done by one person. They’re done by a team of people.” You can build a lifestyle business by yourself and live comfortably, but if you want to change the world you will need a team of people.

Many people start businesses with partners because they need what the other person has, most commonly money or specific skills. Other times people start by themselves, but take on partners to address specific missing key elements as the company grows. There are five key elements that factor in to the long term success of a business partnership.

  1. Each Partner Has Complementary Skills

Let’s say for example two designers go in to business together. They might compete for the design work, or worse, fight over who is better. They draw straws over who has to do the business side: accounting, sales, office management, etc.   It ends up being a company that is strong in one area and weak in many others.

A better partnership choice is when the partners have different, but complementary skill sets. For example, if one partner is creative, one is good at sales, one is good at operations, and one is good at finance. Together they can leverage their strengths while deferring to the other partners outside of their area of expertise. The sum is greater than the parts.

  1. Division of Workload is Fair

When one partner has a larger portion of the workload or responsibility in a business without a corresponding larger ownership stake, it causes strife amongst the partners. Even worse, there have been many partnerships where one of the partners doesn’t even show up for work for extended periods of time, yet still demands to get paid both salary and profits. Many times the partner with leverage takes advantage of the other partner(s).

The way to keep the partnership fair is to divide the responsibilities as evenly as possible. If one of the partners is doing more of the work, it is fair to redistribute the load to other partners or employees. The best partnerships delegate authority to the different partners in their areas of expertise, and companywide decisions are put to a partner vote. If the workload is fair, there will be less in-fighting and more effort spent growing the business.

  1. Work On the Shared Goals and Values

Many partnerships break up because partners fight for issues outside the scope of the business. To visualize the solution, imagine each partner is represented by a circle. Inside this circle are all the hopes, dreams, and realities of the business for that partner. Each partner has their own circle. Now overlap the circles where the partners share the same goals and results of the business. Each partner has some part of their circle that does not overlap with the other partners. This part that does not overlap should not be introduced into the business. Concentrating on your shared goals and results keeps the dialogue professional and on course for the scope of the business.

  1. Buy-Sell Agreement in Place

Agreeing at the beginning how partners would break up sets realistic expectations and a clear path for the longevity of the company. A good Buy-Sell Agreement answers these important questions: How to value the company at any given time; how to deal with a partner that dies, is disabled, or does not perform; and a clear path for the company to buy out a partner’s share without putting the company out of business.

Buy-Sell Agreements can be added to a partnership at any time. It is best to get all partners to sign it before there is a need, so that all involved can negotiate with a level head. Buy-Sell Agreements manage each partner’s future expectations, so if their interests lie outside of the overlapping circles of the other partners, they have a clear path towards exit.

  1. Partners Change Over Time

People grow personally and professionally at different rates in the same environment. One partner may have more money than they ever imagined, while another partner in the same business may have the drive to grow the business another 10 times larger. It is OK for partners to want different things. It becomes not OK when one partner threatens the existence of the company because of their demands on the other partners. Partners come and go over time in business, but the goal is that the business goes on.

When is the Right Time to Sell Your Business?

Preparing a business for sale forces the owners to solve all the lingering issues in a business. More business owners should be ready to sell their businesses at all times, in order to maximize their current results. While this seems counter-intuitive to both growing businesses and family owned businesses, it is sound advice.

To get the highest price possible, businesses need to have a clear history and a growing future. Business owners need documented processes in place. The clear test is when a company can operate without the owner showing up to work. Owners should work on the business, not in the business.


The things that happen inside a company that is preparing to sell:

  • Intellectual property issues get resolved
  • Clear employee manuals, operating manuals, and marketing strategies
  • Solidly profitable, with a 2-5 year track record of profitability
  • Marketing and product plans that show a solid path for the coming years of revenues
  • Budgets are followed with costs declining and revenues rising


Who Buys Businesses?

The normal acquirer is a larger company that wants to grow faster than organically in that product or service category. They normally can leverage their distribution and back office functions for the sales to be accreditive directly to the bottom line at the marginal rate. That means it costs less for a larger company to sell the same products or services because they can knock out one of the budget lines from the acquired company: sales dept, warehouse, accounting, production, or marketing.

How Long Does It Take to Prepare?

It typically takes 3-6 months to create and fulfill an offering memorandum with all the key components in place or in process. It starts with an assessment of the business and its shortcomings to be salable. Next processes are documented, prior year numbers finalized, and budgets prepared for coming years. Finally any lingering issues are resolved or disclosed.

The Sale Process

A company that has been approached about selling itself presents an offering memorandum to the potential buyer.   The buyer sends an offer letter. The selling company accepts or counters, and it goes back and forth until an offer is accepted. The buying company does due diligence to confirm the presented information is correct, and the deal closes.

Why Prepare Now If We’re Not Ready to Sell

The purpose of preparing is that you run your company at its optimum because you would want to sell at a high point. If you are always ready to sell, when an offer comes in you can act quickly and get the best possible price. The option of taking the next 5+ years earnings right now without having to go through hard work and financial risk is very appealing to many weary business owners.

More Choice in Products, Less Choice in Retail Stores

Many products that were hard to find, where you had to travel to specialty stores, are now just a click away. Yet the number of retail storefronts needs to decline, and probably will, for the foreseeable future.   The key shift in the market is a significant number of people order a portion of their purchases online, and there is less need for physical retail outlets in the distribution of goods.

On both ends of the spectrum online purchases make sense. If the exact product is known, it is more convenient to order and re-order online because it saves travel time and money. Conversely, if it’s a hard to find item, it is easier to order from some obscure online retailer that carries that particular brand or product than to drive all over town.

For all the purchases in the middle, either impulse or time sensitive (like food), there is still a significant physical presence. This shows in the number of restaurants, grocery stores, and entertainment venues. The movement for these types of retail outlets is a movement towards the best locations as vacancies come up in premium properties.

What Happened to Retail Therapy?

People still like to shop for no particular reason, other than to reward themselves and feel better.   The difference is that they can window shop online, put all the things they want in the virtual shopping cart, and then turn off the computer without hurting their credit card.

What Does the New Retail Landscape Look Like?

It looks like a lot of retailers that primarily sell their own brands, offer convenience, or have an entertaining shopping experience. All the former stores that carried national brands, the unique boutiques, and the mom-and-pops are disappearing and probably will not come back for quite some time. is becoming the new Walmart. Besides the obvious savings of not charging sales tax and lower rents, their Prime shipping encourages customers to order as much as possible during the year and receive free two day shipping. Walmart killed the local stores within driving distance every time they opened a new superstore. is slowly doing the same thing by having small stores sell their goods via Once a product sells well enough, Amazon starts carrying it direct and undercuts their retail partners on price and shipping costs.

Who Loses the Most In the New Retail Landscape?

Private landlords who own all these strip malls and commercial real estate are actually the biggest losers. It’s hard to feel sorry for these people, as most either inherited the properties or bought them as a long term investment because they were already wealthy.

The consumers that used to shop at all these malls, strip malls, and main streets face a reduced choice. They can shop the remaining storefronts, or they can find what they are looking for online. Either way, they still shop, but using a different method of distribution.

Result: All these commercial retail spaces, which carried the highest rent per square foot, are going to have to be repurposed either into office space, residential, or warehouse. Just like all the people who were unemployed in the recession, there will be a long term solution to use the assets again. Unfortunately, it will be very expensive in the transition.

Sales Funnel Template That Really Works

How can you give something away and still get paid a significant amount of money? While these two scenarios seem polar opposite, the reality today is that you have to give before you receive. Educate yourself here how to identify and create sales funnels in your company.

Sales funnels are everywhere. Your website can attract a large group of people who will find your offer or service relevant. They want to know more. You give them something of value and you give it away for free. This is called a freemium. A certain number of those people will want more advanced features, functionality or related products and services. You provide these at a reasonable price point relative to your competitors or in relation to the amount of money the customer makes or saves. A subset of this paying group will want personalized or specialized products and services, which they will pay a significant premium because of the value it creates for those individuals.

A recent example of a well-functioning sales funnel is a marketing software company. They offer free webinars every week highlighting the latest marketing data and tactics as it unfolds. They have tens of thousands of new people watching these webinars and getting great, free information that can be turned into thousands of dollars of sales. The marketing software company lease software as a service to increase leads and sales through websites for $250-$1500/mo. They publish that they have 4000 customers from the 500,000+ viewers of their free webinars. Giving away information every week to 99% of their potential customers still generates an estimated $1,000,000 A MONTH for a software service that does not cost hardly anything to support additional users.

Figure out what you have that is valuable. Create a version that gives customer value whether it is a “lite” version, limited time, limited capacity, or single user, and advertise the freemium broadly. There will be a natural narrowing down of customers who are willing to pay for a more feature laden product or service. The most profitable customers will then present themselves as they need more personalized service because of the enormous value they receive when you provide your product.