With Oct. 31 fast approaching and various Valley attractions seeking to scare Arizonans with frightening costumed characters, ghoulish decorations, and darkened haunted houses, Halloween is in full swing.
The operators of these attractions are entrepreneurs hoping to morph their frightening ideas into a viable – if not successful – business enterprise. As we watch the Valley landscape become populated with temporary scary attractions, we also realize that haunted house attendees aren’t the only ones who are holding their breath until they emerge on the other side safely.
We reached out to several Chamber members to share their scary stories and lessons learned in.
What is the scariest thing about deciding to become an entrepreneur?
The scariest thing is what keeps playing over in your mind and not having the answers, but at the same time that is the thrill of it too. Will it work, will it pay off, will I be able to convey the vision and make an impact in a meaningful way?– Matthew Clyde, president & founder, Ideas Collide Inc.
No income, no insurance, signing personal guarantees for retail leases, digging into savings/retirement funds, making sure you have cash flow for payroll for the people who trusted your idea. – Wes Harrington, CEO, Bed DRS
The scariest things about becoming an entrepreneur are threefold. First is making the decision to take the risk to start the business in the first place, especially if you come from a high paying corporate job. Second is how you will be able to fund the start up costs to launch your business and keep it growing until it becomes profitable. The third scariest thing is not knowing how long it will take to get that first client. – Cynthia Wrasman, CEO & chief catalyst, Kefi Catalyst
Hmmm… tough question. I actually didn’t decide to become an entrepreneur. I don’t think I even had a choice in the matter, it’s in my DNA. So it wasn’t really scary…I think I’m just comfortable in the not-knowing. – Kimber Lanning, founder/owner, Stinkweeds Music Store; founder/executive director, Local First Arizona
There are lots of scary things about becoming an entrepreneur. I think the scarier thing is never trying, and never knowing if you would have knocked it out of the park. – Sidnee Peck, director, Center for Entrepreneurship, W.P. Carey School of Business, ASU
However, the good thing about taking the leap into a new experience where obtaining a positive outcome is difficult and hardship is virtually guaranteed is that you get to learn along the way. You learn lessons from your own triumphs and failures and – especially if you’re a Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce member – you get to learn from people that did it before you.
So with that in mind, we asked these same Chamber members to share their tips on finding success.
What are the most valuable lessons you’ve learned so far?
A few lessons along the way… You can say no more than you think at the start and at times giving a few no’s at the start helps you find the better and right opportunity in the end. Building strong relationships with your team and helping set a clear vision allows you to scale faster. Network and make as many connections as possible. Take time to hire and build the right team, hire for culture and the ability to embrace the vision of the company first over skill or anything else. – Matthew Clyde, president & founder, Ideas Collide Inc.
Everything takes longer than you think it will, from increasing sales to signing leases and build-out. Make sure that your prices are competitive, but your margins are high enough to pay the bills. Having your spouse behind also you makes life much easier. – Wes Harrington, CEO, Bed DRS
The most valuable lessons learned from starting a business are creating a business plan, obtaining enough funding to make the appropriate investments upfront to launch the business and finally, always be selling and building relationships to identify and land new business and customers. – Cynthia Wrasman, CEO & chief catalyst, Kefi Catalyst
Always keep the big picture in mind; don’t get too buried in the details. – Kimber Lanning, founder/owner, Stinkweeds Music Store; founder/executive director, Local First Arizona
There are too many to list here, that’s for sure. Here are a few big ones: First, don’t start a team with people just like you, with the same skills and the same opinions. Better to launch a company with someone who challenges you, not your best buddy who will tell you you’re awesome even when you’re being an idiot. – Sidnee Peck, director, Center for Entrepreneurship, W.P. Carey School of Business, ASU
-written by Josh Coddington, marketing and communications manager.