Scott Gardner [dragonah]
What is the business idea that you are working on right now? How did you come up with it?
I sell healthy living products (air and water purification) and green products (everything from energy savings devices for your home's electric system to residential wind generation systems). The green movement is really gaining momentum and I see a need in our market area.
Is there a website, blog or social media link where we can see more about your project and/or yourself?
www.bullfrogenvironmental.com or www.HopOnGreen.com
What is your professional background? What were you doing before?
I have a BS in Industrial Engineering. I spent 20 years in manufacturing, 16 of which at various levels of engineering management. I was previously engineering manager of a manufacturing firm in Manhattan, KS. The economy hurt our business - we dropped from $82M in sales to $40M in sales over an 8-month period last year. A lot of positions got cut, including mine.
How did the entrepreneurial spirit rise up in you? Were you exposed to entrepreneurship in your family or your social environment when you were a child?
I've always wanted to control my own destiny, not just work hard so someone else can reap the benefits.
Do you have partners working with you on this? How do you split the work with them?
Right now I work on my own.
Describe your business plan as briefly and simply as possible.
Year 1 - spread the word and try to make some sales.
Year 2 - by this time the advertising end of things should be rolling along and I should be getting some relatively steady income. I plan on having an out-of-home office by then.
Year 3 - I will have 3 - 4 employees selling and installing product.
What have you achieved up to now? What have you yet to achieve?
I have informed 100's of people about my product. I have learned a lot about marketing and sales, as well as what makes people tick. I still have not achieved a steady level of revenue, but that will come with time.
Are you looking for investors? What are you offering in exchange for what?
Yes. I would offer "X"% of my profits for "X" years. This would all have to be negotiated.
Do you have employees or people that you outsource tasks to? What do they do?
Entrepreneurs have a reputation as "control freaks." How do you avoid that?
I have worked for control freaks in the past - and they were definitely entrepreneurs. Therefore, when I hire employees, I will look to my past experiences and try not to make the same mistakes.
How do you balance work with relaxation?
I'm a start-up so I'm not getting a lot of relaxation time. It will come. I try to enjoy my evenings the best I can, but I work at least a little on weekend days.
What is your main motivation: being your own boss, adventure and discovery, getting rich, doing good for others, or is there something else?
Being my own boss, creating wealth, leading a company the way I know it should be led.
What do you think of big corporations? Would you work for one?
I've been there and done that. People are simply numbers in big corporations. Just a cog in the wheel. When push comes to shove, nothing matters but the bottom line.
Describe two moments of maximum fear and maximum satisfaction that you have lived through in your business adventure.
Just the basic fear of not having income. Haven't had a lot of satisfaction yet. But it will come.
When you need guidance or advice, where do you find it?
Other business owners, networking, etc.
Up to what point is luck is important? How do you attract it?
Luck is always important. I wish I knew how to attract more of it!
What do you do to maintain morale and continue persevering in low times?
You can choose to be one of two things - happy or sad (upbeat or depressed, etc...). There's no value in being down about things. It's hard to do sometimes, but you always have to look at the positives. Always.
Which well known entrepreneurs/enterprises do you admire? Why?
None that I can think of.
What other types of businesses are you frequently tempted by?
I've always wanted to open a restaurant.
Are these times of crisis good for beginning a business?
Probably not, but it came out of necessity.
How important have PR and social media been for you?
Very important. Very!
What would you call success? Where would you like your business to be five years from now?
Success in business = making good money. That's the name of the game. Of course, doing it ethically and helping solve people's problems is part of that also.
What skills would you advise a want-to-be-entrepreneur to acquire?
Learn your products (or services) quickly. Network. Advertise. Don't nickel-and-dime anything in the beginning - go for the gusto or go home.
Manhattan, KS USA