Bootstrapping Your Business to Success
with Trevor Crane
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In this episode, Josh discusses how to get funding and capital when you are starting your own business. He opens your mind to a new way of thinking when it comes to generating capital and resources for your business. Josh gives you five pointers right off the bat that’ll really help excel your thinking about bootstrapping your business. He also talks with Trevor Crane — trusted business advisor and host of WIT Nation show, “Greatness Quest” — about his past experiences in generating revenue and making it big in business. Trevor talks about holding a job while trying to grow a business and how that taught him to model the successful. He gets deep into the struggles he has had with starting businesses and shares amazing knowledge on what it takes to create an extremely successful business.
You’re watching the Whatever It Takes Network. I’m Josh Felber with Making Bank. There’s so many of you out there that are probably thinking, “You know, I’d love to start a business. I really want to get out of my nine to five job. I just want to get out there and I have this great idea and I really want to be able to share it and get it out there or get this product out there or this service to help people more and to also make money.”
That’s why we’re here; that’s why we’re watching Making Bank. One of the things that we get limited on or we get held up on is where do we get the funds? How do we get that money? How do we start our business if we don’t have any money now to start a business? I think that’s a hold up for a lot of people especially with what we see in the news and everything happening today.
There’s so much venture capital money going into technology companies. You see Uber and AirBnB and all these guys and they’re continuously raising more and more money. How can I get a business even started and be able to compete with that or how can I get a business even started and get it off the ground? One of the biggest things you could still do is, it’s called boot-strapping. You boot-strap your business to millions.
I’ve done that with every one of my businesses that I’ve owned. I’ve never gone out and got venture capital money. I’ve never gone out and said, “Hey, I need a loan from the bank to get my business started.” It’s always been started with a few hundred dollars, a few thousand dollars, later on maybe a few ten thousand dollars, that sort of thing. I’ve owned over 15 different companies since I was 14 years old and my initial business when I was 14, I didn’t have the cash to go out and just dump in and started business.
I started on four to five hundred dollars that I had saved up at that time and that allowed me to buy the first little bit of inventory and from there it just took off and I was able to then sell that business when I graduated high school. Then the following business in the merchant services field that I started in Dallas, we started it on ten thousand dollars and were able to sell that for millions of dollars five and a half, six years later.
Do not get stuck in your head that you only have to have venture capital money and loads and loads of start up capital. You can do this. I was just reading the other day an article on Business Insider, a gentleman who had gone into a trade show and it was in the food business and he came across a product that he loved so much, I think it was beef jerky, and he liked it and said, “Hey, I have a really good idea,” and thought about creating reoccurring packages for the beef jerky.
He started it with a hundred dollars to get his web store up and six months later had generated over a hundred thousand dollars of income. Don’t limit yourself on the monetary side of things. You can get out there and make it happen. Whether it’s creating more value, getting out and making your first sale, those are the things that are going to help start generating revenue.
We as a business owner, as an entrepreneur, when we start out business, you’re thinking, “Oh, I need this person and this person and this person to help work with me to make it successful and make it happen.” As an entrepreneur, when we first start, we’re wearing many different hats. We’re doing multiple different things to move that business forward. There maybe times here and there that you may have doubts or stuff, but try to do as much as you can to move that business forward, to save that money.
Point number two is finding the right people to partner with you or to be part of your vision, to be part of your movement forward within your business. You may have to trade up a little bit of equity for your business or a little bit of profits down the road for your business or you may be able to trade out services. “Hey, I’m good at this and I know you’re really good at that so let’s swap services and I’ll help you and you help me with your business to move it forward.” Those are the connections that we really need to make instead of spending sixty, a hundred thousand dollars to just start hiring all these people to move our business forward.
Point number three is you got to test the market before you launch. Test the market before you launch. What I mean by that is figure out exactly what the market’s interested in based on your idea, what your potential clients are interested in so we can really target it and go after it hard. Finding the part, what we really want to take a look at is something that’s going to generate money fast, something that’s going to be able to start bringing in cash right away so we’re not waiting six, seven, eight, ten months down the road for that.
Point number five is create a funding. “Hey, we’re getting started, maybe we need a little funding to buy whatever it is for our business. Do we have friends and family we can go to?” A lot of my stuff, I’ve started it on credit card. You go out, you can get one that has a zero percent interest rate for eighteen months and use that to fund your business. I’m not advocating that, but it does work. Part of that is start small. You can start with just a few hundred dollars to make your business happen.
You really have to watch your cash flow like a hawk. Don’t go spending on extravagant things, buying new technology and going out to dinners and travelling anywhere unless you have to do certain pieces of that. Watch your cash like a hawk. At whatever age you can figure out a way to come up with cash to start a business. Next up, we have Trevor Crane and we’re going to talk a little bit more about boot-strapping and what he used to move himself forward in his business. I’m Josh Felber. You’re watching the Whatever It Takes Network and we’ll be right back.
Welcome back to the Whatever It Takes Network. I’m Josh Felber, you’re watching Making Bank. I’m excited today. We have Trevor Crane, business strategist and sales expert on the phone with us today. He is also author of High Paying Clients and have a new book launching here shortly. Trevor, I would love to hear a little bit more about what you’re doing today, how you’re going to help clients. We’ve been talking a little bit about boot-strapping your business to millions and how you worked with your clients on that premises as well as a little bit on this new book that’s coming out here in the next thirty days, I think?
Trevor Crane: It is. We’re actually co-authoring that book together, brother! That’ll be in about two weeks, pretty close, two, three weeks.
Josh Felber: Awesome. Now I’m excited for that. I think you have a show as well called, Greatness Quest, on the Whatever It Takes Network as well, right?
Trevor Crane: You got it. You should check out my show, brother. It’s awesome.
Josh Felber: I have. You have some great content and you get to dig and dive in deep with a lot of the different entrepreneurs that I know that you speak with and really get down to what drives them and what motivates them to move forward. No, it’s definitely an awesome show and I’m really excited to have you on my show today and connect with you.
Trevor Crane: I love it, brother. You’re going to have to return the favor though and I apologize we’re not together face to face, but I’m capturing our awesome video so you can see how beautiful I am here on the camera.
Josh Felber: No, for sure. Yeah, we’ll definitely get connected back up and shoot another segment together, as well. Tell me a little bit about your background, what’s your business background, how you got started and how you got to where you are today.
Trevor Crane: Well, thanks for asking, brother. I had my greatest successes in business when I actually modeled other people. I did the traditional route that a lot of people, grow up, they go to high school, maybe they go to college and they anticipate that’s going to give them the education to have all the success in life and in business that they need. That is not what I found.
I struggled for quite a while in business. In fact, one time on one of my businesses, I had to get a job to support my business habit. I was waiting tables all night just to support my business habit. There’s two things that helped me create success in business. At that time, by the way, to give you an idea, I had a water sports business. I was working out of the Ritz-Carlton in Naples, Florida.
It’s one of my business that I actually first started to have some real success, but when I was showering on the beach brother and then running across the street to go wait tables, it did not feel like success. What shifted for me, Josh, was I got to desperate. I was finally willing to do what I was uncomfortable to do. I didn’t like selling. I was so bad at selling that I would only pick people out of my boat that came up and basically begged me.
Josh Felber: Cherry-picking your leads, right?
Trevor Crane: Say that again?
Josh Felber: I said you were kind of cherry-picking your leads or your contacts to sell to.
Trevor Crane: Well, that’s not what it felt like, but in retrospect that’s what I was doing.
Josh Felber: Yeah.
Trevor Crane: I finally got uncomfortable enough that I was willing to model what other successful people were doing. I adjusted my prices. The first thing I learned to sell, Josh, was a t-shirt. I found a friend of mine that was working on my boat one day a week and he would sell ten shirts in a day and I looked at the math. I thought, “God, if I could learn to just do what he’s doing,” because I’d sell one a month when he wasn’t there.
Josh Felber: Ten a day is a lot better.
Trevor Crane: Ten a day was a lot better. The thing that helped me succeed and it’s happened time and time again when I’ve been in other businesses and there’s been a moment of breakthrough was for me, for some ridiculous reason, I have to be so uncomfortable to change. I have to feel that there’s something dramatic. I don’t know why I have to torture myself like that, but I try to now create those for myself and my clients artificially instead of waiting until you’re desperate.
Two things. One is that I think you got to have a lot of leverage to be successful and that, for me, it has to do with a lot of pain. The second thing is that I found someone successful that I could just model and they could show me what to do. Going back from that first example with the guy with the t-shirts, he showed me how to sell them. Maybe I’m a slow study, for me, one lesson wasn’t enough. I had to have him help me for the better part of a month before I could even figure out how to sell a t-shirt.
That’s been my success in every business I’ve been in since is finding somebody to model, to coach, to consult me. Now for the last twelve years, thirteen years, something like that, I can’t do the math anymore, that’s what I’ve been doing for other people every single day as I help them grow their business, make more money in their business. I use the same type of strategies. I’d help them model success and I help them find the leverage so that they’ll change.
Josh Felber: That’s awesome. That’s some great insight, being able to model and really duplicate what other successful people are doing. I think that’s a big piece of what helps … You and I, I know that’s what I did. You’re starting to do it 14 years old and modeling other successful people as well. One other thing I did find interesting though is you said is you were waiting tables to pay for your business and to move forward with entrepreneurship. By doing that- That’s kind of what we were talking about today is boot-strapping.
What ways can we have generate money or generate revenue to grow our business and to make our business successful so we don’t have to go out and get venture capital funding or loans, if the bank will even give us a loan for our business? Things like that is … You were generating the revenue or the cash that you needed to live so you could work on building your business with that.
So many people with what the news portrays, “Oh this company got another round of funding worth ten or twenty or thirty million dollars and now they got a billion dollar valuation because everybody’s chasing that unicorn out there,” we lose that reality, that rawness of what it really takes to start a business. Those pieces of negotiating and working with people to, “Hey, let me barter with you on this. Let me barter. Hey can you donate some time if I help you do this,” and that sort of thing. That’s what’s really that rawness and their realness to building a business and making it happen, not just go out and say, “Hey, here’s my idea. Give me lots of money.”
Trevor Crane: I think that’s BS.
Josh Felber: Yeah, no, it’s really cool that you were able to share that story. When we come back, I’m going to get a little bit more detail with you. I’m Josh Felber on the Whatever It Takes Network and you’re watching Making Bank.
Welcome back to the Whatever It Takes Network. I am Josh Felber and you’re watching Making Bank. We’re speaking with Trevor Crane. We’ve been talking a little bit about boot-strapping and success strategies to move your business forward. Trevor, welcome back.
Trevor Crane: Thank you, my friend. I completely agree with what you said last time is that there are a ton of ways people can grow their business without having to throw more money at it, which I think is a number one problem a lot of business owners actually have. They’re like, “I got a problem? Let’s throw money at it,” or “All I need to help my business to the next level is get somebody to give me more money.”
Josh Felber: Right. No, for sure. When you’re advising, since you work with a lot of different businesses these days, I don’t know what stage that they come to you in their business, if it’s new, if it’s in the infancy stage, growth stage and stuff. Are they in a position where they, “Hey, I need to find cash.” Is it, “I need you to expand my business so I need more money.” What do you tell them and how do you coach them and guide them along that path?
Trevor Crane: Well, I’ve had few clients that wake up in the morning, in fact, I can’t think of one that ever woke up in the morning and said, “Oh no. I’ve got so much money I just don’t know what to do with it.” I’m typically working with business owners that are really hungry to take it to the next level. Maybe they’re doing fine in business or maybe they’re struggling, but they’re just hungry. One of the things that I focus on, Josh, is helping people make more money with what they’re doing instead of spending more money.
I would say also nine out of ten people that I’ll talk to that are initially prospects and wanting to become clients, they don’t have an extra budget to spend on marketing. They wish someone would throw some money at them. Like I said, that’s a common thing. “Hey, if I just had more money, I could make more money.” What I teach and help people with is how can they get creative about finding ways to add more value and they can transform that into more money.
The story that I shared with you about being on the beach, work on my business everyday and then having to go wait tables to make a little extra money to get by, I finally created the leverage for myself to go out and during the day when I was running my business, find a way to just make a little bit more money. I didn’t do it because I figured out how to sell more t-shirts. I did it because I found a way to add more value.
I used the existing resources I had and I found ways to maximize them. There’s so much lost money, I think, out there because business owners aren’t willing to get creative, think outside the box. Money is nothing but an exchange of value. I think we all should look at our businesses every single day and ask that question again, reinvent ourselves and say, “How can I add more value to my ideal client? What problems do they have that I can help solve and facilitate that process and then lure in the money?”
Josh Felber: That’s awesome. I think so many people, like you said, they do. They look at that piece of it like, “Oh, well, I just got to add more money to make this happen.” Where and how can I add more value and deliver more results or deliver a better this? What I’m saying is become obsessed with the value you create in the market place. I think if that’s what we would focus on, as you said, it helps generate more revenue or more sales for your business.
One of these, Trevor, is “Hey, I’m a struggling brand new business, just getting started. I’m trying to figure out. Hey, do I start this? Do I have to go out and raise a ton of money? Do I have to go to the bank?” What would you tell me as a client of yours? How do we get that first buck to get started? I know I’ve seen businesses where you may start it with a hundred dollars and then six months, they’re in a hundred thousand dollars. It’s that mind set. How do we get through that mind set to push through to that next step?
Trevor Crane: It’s a good question and so I’ll answer it two-fold. You mentioned ‘obsessed’. I think another obsession that people can come up with that will serve them is to get obsessed with the problems, like to start looking at problems as though they’re opportunities, the problems for their clients, especially. Become obsessed with your ideal customers’ challenges, their problems, the gaps that they have and you can get a lot more creative about finding ways to provide the solution.
I’d say one place to start looking are problems. That’s the first place to start looking in your own business or in your clients’ lives like what are their main core issues and problems. If we can get clear on that, we can figure out how you can go solve the problem, make some money. The other thing you mentioned, Josh, which is if one of my clients come to me and they want to know where to get started, the first session I have with them is a jump start session.
I call it ‘your fastest path to cash’. We sit down and find out how do you generate money and business now. Just last week, Josh, I had two different new clients coming to talk to me and they both were arguing and defending the fact that they were not profitable for over two years. It was like they were identical cookie cutters of each other. They were saying, “Oh that’s okay. We have enough money to get by.”
I’m thinking, my daughter is going to be eight years old in a couple of weeks, she’ll be eight and she’s started three businesses and each of those, she was profitable in less than 24 hours because I want to help people make money, like make a sale, find a client. Since we’re on the Whatever It Takes Network, do whatever it takes to make a sale. Don’t just throw more money at the problem and don’t BS yourself to make excuses that there’s some reason why you can’t sell.
I’ve interviewed a lot of people for my show recently and oftentimes, they successful business or entrepreneurs I’ll speak to will say their first success came almost out of the blue when they weren’t even totally prepared for it but they went and sold their idea or their first product or their first service to someone when they weren’t even prepared. So get over yourself, figure out how to do it, get some help, do whatever it takes and go make a sale. Sale is meaning you’re just communicating to find people who need your help. That’s all it is.
Josh Felber: Right. That’s the whole thing. People are fearful of that. It’s get out and make that sale. It’s funny you mentioned your daughter. My daughter is six and she’s launching her paleo pets treat business. It was pretty cool because I came home one day and she was like, “Hey, I want to go around the neighborhood and do market research.” It was late and you’re tired but you’re like, it’s just one thing you got to say yes to. We went around the neighborhood and she asked people what their dog liked and their cat liked and their favorite things and was writing them in her little journal for her business.
It was cool to see her take that initiative and want to do that. I think that it goes with, hey, if you’re starting your businesses, test your market, figure out what people want. That’s going to help get you profitability or get you to at least bring revenue in much faster than going into it blind. It’s really exciting. Real quick, we got about thirty seconds or so left, if you could just give us a quick overview on the epic book that you guys are launching that you’d ask me to be the co-author of, give us a quick twenty second overview of it.
Trevor Crane: The book is called Your Epic Book Launch and it’s designed to help every business owner or anybody actually, write your book, have an epic launch, meaning it moves you into profit and as many people as possible get to see your book when you publish it.
Josh Felber: Right. Awesome. If you’re thinking about writing a book, this is a great place to start. It’s the Epic Book Launch and you can keep an eye out for it coming here shortly. Trevor, I really appreciate you being on the show today. It was awesome to have you. It’s such an honor to share some insight from you. I’m looking forward to jumping on your show one day. I’m Josh Felber on the Whatever It Takes Network and you’re watching Making Bank.
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