Books and candy are great ways to possibly make $1,000,000 if you wanted to. As I gather stories, not everyone has a goal of getting one million dollars from their business, such as the book store owners I interviewed. And not everyone wants to share all the details of their finances and business practices such as the candy store owners. Still these are two great examples of situations where the owners could be or probably are millionaires.
Three ladies – two in their late fifties and one in her late sixties, each with different experiences, one in advertising, one in interior design, and one was a paralegal (retired). They were all married with working husbands and they created a business from a love of books and community with no real aspirations for making a lot of money. I mention their story because this is a million dollar business, plus they absolutely loved their SCORE mentor and he was very helpful to them getting started. He helped them with their business plan, met them whenever it was convenient for them, and helped them get the rest of their SBA loan request prepared and even went to the bank and helped present the loan to the bank where it was approved. I was told they could not have done it without him. He always got right back to them if they had questions. He continued to help and mentor them as the business started, and is still available whenever they need him.
A book store seems like a crazy business to try and start with Amazon putting bookstores out of business right and left. I am sure not just any bookstore would make it today, but one with a little special twist to include lots of community involvement can make it. The retired lady mainly runs the bookstore day to day. It is very community oriented, with readings for children and other activities that draw the community into the store. It is in a suburb of a big city, so it is not really trying to compete with the big stores. They know the names of many of their regular customers; it is a destination for many local people.
Although the ladies are not interested in making big money from the bookstore, they are sitting on top of a business that could be repeated, expanded or franchised. The book store is now six years old, has won many awards, and the ladies have been approached many times to franchise their business. They don’t want the hassle, but if they did it would make them all millions of dollars.
Mary wanted to start a candy business, a retail store. Mary was at a Barnes and Nobel bookstore looking for books on how to write a business plan. A woman standing beside her told her to go see SCORE; they would help her with her business plan. Mary took the business plan course offered by SCORE and never looked back. She opened her Candy store and then a second store after four years. I asked her if she would share some of her marketing plans and her financials. She did not want to share her financial information with me but told me her accountant told her she is right on track. I told her I understood and told her I would not use her name, but asked if she would share about how much she had when she started. She said not much at all, I had to get the loan or I could not have started my business.
I asked if she considered raising money from friends, she said I would never be comfortable risking my friend’s money. I said I understood and asked if she thought her business could make her a millionaire. She said yes I do. I asked how many years from her start does she think it will take her, she said about 5 years from the start of her first store, but she said I do not think I could have done it with only one location. I thanked her. This does not have the details of most of my stories, but I still think it is a story worth telling.
Books and Candy Summary
In both cases we see everyday businesses that could or will make their owners millionaires. In both cases we also see that SCORE was very important in helping them with free advice and help to get their businesses started. I encourage you to stop dreaming and start doing.