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Starting a New Business - How to for New Young People ?

Discussion in 'The Taxidermy Industry' started by RichMO, Jan 10, 2014.

  1. EA

    EA Well-Known Member

    Thanks Tim.

    I think I would still put my cards out. You never know who is going to lead you to the next big break.
  2. antlerman

    antlerman NTA Life Member #0118


    OMG, don't you know it. I could write you a book TODAY on what I just learned about my sons business directions that I just became aware of last night and today. When most of us think about a gym, we think Gold's, Vic Tanny, and a few other names may come to mind, but most are nothing more than small little spots with a few machines around and nothing but little human meat markets. The Lab Gym is on the verge of a World Wide presents. People with [expletive deleted] you type money are coming out of the woodwork to provide the necessary assets for Sports Complex's (facilities with indoor sports for just about every sport imaginable) to be established around the world. Last Night I was introduced to a lady who is a big wig with Verizon who fly 20 hours from Indonesia to help put some details together for this. If all goes as planned she will be leaving Verizon and coming to work for my sons. This plan/idea has been a dream of my younger sons for years, but now.........the NEW landlord at the new facility, a former YMCA, has brought together the key people with his connections, and the right investor money's to make this come alive. However, the key to all this and with any business is.....know your business. Have something to offer that no others can offer. Be committed and people will commit with you because of your commitment. There are those out there that are just looking for the next opportunity to come along and the people who can make things happen. That's what these people see in my sons and therefore are ready to finance a World Wide presence. We ended the night around 4 am at one of their clients home who is a doctor who wants in. Again..........these people have FU type money. All because of a business plan, a devotion, knowledge, and commitment. Thru out this thread.....one resounding thought has been in my mind that I think needs said. "Many fail because they have no plan for success." Most don't know what success is, let alone know how to make a plan for getting there.

    Last night I was involved in writing the year end bonus checks for the gyms annual Holiday Party and Awards Banquet to all the employees, while my daughter-in-law, and her mother and my ex-wife were writing out Thank You cards for these checks to be inserted in, while my oldest son was signing the checks. He gave away nearly 10K in bonus checks. I'm thinking WTF?? Then he tells me the facts that about dropped me to the floor. He told me that they currently employ 14 trainers that make an average of 70K a year apiece, with a couple that made over 80K. Not counting the secretary, assistant manager, and maintenance guy. There was an estimated 400 in attendance last night and the new landlord asked Chris how many people came/verses those who didn't. He said; this is about 10% of our clients which is about what I planned for. I said: You mean you have around 4000 clients?? Yep pop, sure do. *&^^$$(*&() OMG. Now I understand why the new facility was a must have..........That's when I knew my job as dad was over. They are all good. They passed my guidance up long ago, just that I was the last to realize it. LOL

    So back to the topic at hand. Learn to run a business FIRST. Spend the years necessary to learn your craft. Then when you have a quality product and can deliver the goods to your clients.........doors will open. And don't be surprised at who may be there to hold the door open for you. People have a tendency to root for a winner and want to be a part of a winning team. (think McKenzie here and all their investors and how big their team has grown) Most winners spend most of their time practicing, only a few moments in the actual game. But winning the game is the goal and the reason for all the practicing. Many try to get into this game of taxidermy with no skills, no plan, no experience, and expect people to support their business when they really don't have anything to offer the customer. So, they offer a cheap price and can't figure out why they struggle, or loose the game..

  3. FishArt

    FishArt Well-Known Member

    "Run On Sentence" TIM! Ever hear of PARAGRAPHS??? LOL! And I thought I rambled - lol! ;)

    One other thing that is a necessity in this day and age is an internet presence. Linking to this site and having my website icon under my name was one of the first things I did back in the early 2000's when I started out. Getting your link and url on as many free websites (fishing and hunting forums typically) and getting people talking and also posting your url helps give you higher rankings on search engines. It's FREE exposure! Now, that can also bite you in the butt if you're not ready and your work is not up to snuff. But, assuming that's not the case, newbies would be foolish to NOT utilize this free resource. EVERYBODY uses the internet. Having a web designer that does a quality website and knows how to utilize key words in search engines doesn't hurt either. I recently upgraded my website via a professional designer to something more current and aesthetically pleasing. And even though it wasn't done until after my busy season, I've already taken in several jobs outside of my area (I believe) from the new, quality site. A good website and quality work can increase your business locally and nationally if you want to go that route. Specializing in Fish, I have to expand beyond my immediate area. OH! THAT brings up another tidbit of advice for those starting out. DON'T Specialize in just fish - lol! Now I say that tongue-in-cheek, but unless you're in an ideal location and/or market beyond your immediate area - specializing in fish is tough for those wanting to get into it full-time. I cannot imagine in today's (fish) market starting out from scratch...
  4. RichMO

    RichMO Well-Known Member

    Well said Antlerman and Fishart.... I think that these are some of the things that everyone needs to take into consideration. DFJ, I don't worry about six figues... I'm retired after working as a Chemical Engineer and OSHA Instructor.
  5. Twisted.

    Twisted. Knowledge speaks, but wisdom listens.

    Heres my advice for what it is worth.

    I started doing taxidermy when I was 17. I worked for another taxidermist for a solid year for no pay. After my year was up I opened my own shop at 18 years old.
    I took out a small loan and bought all the tools and supplies I needed to get my own place up and going. So again, to help pay for the loan and overhead the first year own my own I didnt really make a lot of money. After that year I was thinking about giving up because I wasnt really in to the money like I thought i should be. I raised my prices and took a chance.
    The 3rd year was the turning point. I had all my loans and debt paid except for overhead. As the year went own I started making money and learning the business side of taxidermy. Again......still not making a ton of cash but getting better. I Started attending shows and competing at the state and national shows. Ended the year making some cash and ready to expand. I took my existing knowledge and studied for a few months. Studied business practices as well as the Whitetail deer. When business was slow I took the time to mount a few of my own animals and experiment with different methods of taxidermy to find which would be the most efficient for me.

    So there I was 20 years old and ready to rock and roll the upcoming season. I again, raised my prices to cut down on some of the lowballers and do less for more money. I worked my tail off and went the extra mile for customers.

    IT PAID.

    My best advice, being in this business for 7 years now....is that anyone young can compete with the big ballers if you take your time learning the business and putting in the effort to offer the best possible mount. Be prepared to lose money, its going to happen. BUT you will get it back....plus some.
  6. Bill Dishman

    Bill Dishman Well-Known Member

    My advice for new, young people?

    The best way to ensure your success is to first learn the language. In our case English.
    Knowing the exact meaning of a large number of words almost always accompanies outstanding success.

    Some years ago, the graduating class of a large university were given a test in English vocabulary. Over the course of the next 20 years, questionaires were sent out every year to the surviving graduates, asking them about thier jobs and thier income.
    WITHOUT A SINGLE EXCEPTION, those who had scored highest on the vocabulary test, were in the highest income group.
    The minute a person opens his or her mouth to speak, we know exactly thier level of education.
    Im sure we've all heard the old addage that goes, "What you are speaks so loudly, i cant hear what your saying."
    In any business, communication is the key, both written and spoken. Its up to us to make sure we have the tools necessary to do the job.
  7. antlerman

    antlerman NTA Life Member #0118

    "Run On Sentence" TIM! Ever hear of PARAGRAPHS??? LOL! And I thought I rambled - lol! ;)

    Ok Marty............I fixed it I think, unless an English major wants to critique it...........then I might be in trouble. LOL
  8. FishArt

    FishArt Well-Known Member

    Thanks Tim - much easier to read! BTW, I use to get "R.O.S." on the tops of my h.s. English papers all time! Any update on your son's situation?
  9. RichMO

    RichMO Well-Known Member

    Ryan, I like what you had to say about hard work, education, competing, patience and learning how to be a businessman. I think one should always so the best he can on every specimen he turns out. I realize there is a difference between a commercial mount and a competition piece but putting it in terms of two people that have one the master's it is small if you do the job right.
  10. Good thread - lots of good info being put out. One aspect I did not see in my quick skim was You have to spend money to make money. For those starting out it would mean investing in themselves by joining thier state associations, buying videos, shop time with experienced taxidermists, etc. As you progress and are able to do trade shows ect, that is when you will need to invest in the pens and nick nacks with your name on them to help spread the word. Learning not to put the cart in front of the horse in how you run your business is one of the hardest things. Learning the basic business skills should be priority one in reality - how many actually know how to reconcile a checkbook? (I cant be out of money I still have checks left!) Those new to the industry and wanting to make money at it need to learn to figure their overhead and shop pricing, understanding that just because you charge $400 does not mean you MAKE $400. By the time you subtract materials and overhead you may be able to pay yourself $150 to $200 (as an example). That point is lost on people over and over. So anyway just my .02 cents. Will try and read it closer later. Good thread!
  11. EA

    EA Well-Known Member

    I think an area that some youngin's need help with is how to present themselves professionally.

    A good example that comes to mind happened during one of our Apprenticeship banquets for the Carpenters. We roll out the Red Carpet for these things. There's all kind of forks ;)

    In most cases it's held at one of the top venue's in Pittsburgh like the Le Mont, the William Penn, or even at Heinz Field banquet halls. There are always several dignitaries on hand to speak, company owners, project managers, union officials, etc.. Donald Wuerl who is now a Cardinal with the Catholic church usually handled the invocation.

    It's a great opportunity for an apprentice to dress up, take his family out for a great dinner, celebrate 4 years of hard work, and meet and network with all those who will influence his/her career for the next several years.

    Anyway, One of our top apprentices, who actually won a competition of skills was to be honored that night and presented with a nice plaque. The sponsoring company owner was on hand to present the award, and after the introduction,they called him up to the podium... There he is in his workboots, jeans, bandanna and chain driven wallet. Looked like just he took off his toolbelt and showed up.

    IMO, that was not the time to buck the system. It was embarrassing for my local and an insult to the organization. Those he invited were dressed the same. His table was a little loud and disruptive too. It wasn't like he didn't know better, he just didn't respect the organization or the accomplishment. I would bet more than a few in power formed an instant opinions of him, and they were not good.

    Moral of the story- When appropriate, dress for success and act in a professional manner. Anytime you are in public you are building your business...or tearing it down.
  12. Your right EA, you only have one chance to make a first impression!
  13. RichMO

    RichMO Well-Known Member

  14. FishArt

    FishArt Well-Known Member

    Not if all your clients have Alzheimers!
  15. sgsmith

    sgsmith Member

    My two cents towards this thread
    Having been in business since 1991 as a custom meat processor and for the past five years adding taxidermy to our business. Started out processing mine and my hunting buddies wild game in my garage, to now with three full time employees and some that work part time. We now have a 4,000 sq ft plant and are going to add on a 1,400 sq. ft. addition for taxidermy as soon as the weather allows construction to begin.
    Is it cost effective to invest a large amount into this? You have to spend money to make money, our business has grown every year and it's hard to keep up with the demand for our service. My feelings are that we can process or mount an animal for everyone in our area one time, and if it is not done properly and to the customers satisfaction IT WILL BE ONE TIME. You can't stay in business without repeat customers.
    We are not the cheapest and don't want the bargain hunters business anyway. Every time I have given anyone a good deal or a big price break they feel as though they were shortchanged and you lose them as customers.
    To be successful you have to put in a lot of hours and go without a paycheck at times. Customer service is very important-- keep um happy and they will keep coming back.
  16. FishArt

    FishArt Well-Known Member

    To sum it up, it sounds like when you have lemons, make lemonade!
  17. juli

    juli Active Member

    when figuring your prices be sure to include time spent dealing with customers. It takes 'x' amount of time to complete amount, with 'y' amount of money in materials and general overhead. But how many folks figure in time with customers when setting their prices?
  18. ortegageno

    ortegageno Active Member

    Hell, some clients stay 5 min while others stay all day, I charge them a twelve pack if they stay longer than 15 min. But im just a part time hack.
  19. PsychoJr

    PsychoJr New Member

    A lot of these comments crack me up. I'm an amateur taxidermist, but I do know business. I respect what you guys do, but based on browsing this site the last couple of years you are 90% artists and 10% business people. There's absolutely nothing wrong with that because I'm 1% taxidermist and 99% businessman! Unfortunately, if I wanted to get in this business full-time (I don't BTW) I could invest a few hundred thousand dollars, hire a staff and do pretty well at it in a few years by industry standards. I don't do that because it makes more sense to stay in a business I'm at expert at AND have business skills. However, that presents a real opportunity for you guys that have talent, a little capital and aren't too stubborn to do something different. Some are satisfied being a one-man shop without the hassle of employees or managing growth, but if you want more and to push the envelope, it can certainly be done. I'll give a tip or two for those interested.