3 Things No One Will Tell You About Being In Business
1. Your Ethics Will Often Be Challenged
We recently were reached out to by a Shark from the show Shark Tank. And yes, it was really exciting! They wanted to fly us down and shoot a commercial with them. Then use the commercial to put us on T.V. They also were going to put us in every major box store such as Walmart and Target. Sounds great right?
Here’s the ethical problem.
To be placed in a box store, you need preservatives in your products. This ensures that the products will make the store money. If they don’t sell fast, don’t worry, they wont spoil because of the preservatives they add.
If the preservative is made into a compound with another ingredient and less than 2% of the total weight of the ingredients, it doesn’t need to be declared on the label. This seems like it probably doesn’t happen right? Well, I’m sorry to be bearer of bad news but it happens too often.
If it seems dishonest…it’s because it is. Don’t you want to know exactly what is in the items you are buying?
Now, that has nothing to do with the person who reached out to us. It is just how our ethics were challenged. It would have been awesome to work with someone like that, but we will never sell our honesty to anyone other than our customers.
How awesome would it be to see your favorite Johnny Slicks product in Walmart? Pretty damn cool. We could easily make it happen, but at what cost?
A less intense ethical challenge was when a company attempted to publicly defame us for their own gain. This was also something I was not prepared for.
A company decided to spread a rumor about our ethics and then feed off of the negativity. Once we stood back and looked at the situation it was clear, they wanted to turn our customers against us and then offer them a “solution”. Their intention was to create a problem in our company and then solve it with theirs, so they look good. This did not work for them because we are honest with everything we do. Nothing is hidden and everyone knows how we conduct our business.
If you are looking to start a business, be prepared for situations that will challenge your personal ethics and your business ethics. Overcome them and never lose sight of your goals.
2. Bigger Businesses Will Try To Shut You Down
Just to be very clear, we have not nor ever will copy another companies formulas or products.
We are unique and wouldn't have it any other way. This letter was deemed illegitimate and no actions were filed.
Now, back to the important stuff!
This one is something no one thinks of, including myself, until it happens the first time. We received our first cease and desist a little while ago. This may initially sound negative but in reality, it means we are being noticed by big businesses. We are the new kid on the playground and the seniors want us to leave.
Many small businesses cannot afford the pricey legal fees that come with cease and desists and in turn just forfeit and close down. But not us. We are here and aren’t going anywhere soon.
Reading over the legal notice, we noticed the general broadness of the holdings. We noticed that they were claiming we copied them but looking at their products, there wasn’t a single similar ingredient or branding. This is where we knew it was a general letter probably sent to countless other companies in hopes they would all just shut down.
See, this business is much larger and can afford to send these letters out but the companies who are receiving the letters cannot afford them. We hired a legal team to combat this letter and all was resolved but that was just the first one so far.
Rather than allowing you all, the consumers, to decide the best companies by buying their products and letting the good ones survive, the dishonest companies just make the smaller ones die with one written letter.
Say you switch over recently from a large company to a smaller one. You really love the smaller company because they give you personal attention, and a much better and healthier product. Then all of a sudden, that company disappears and you have no choice but to go back to that first larger company. What may have happened behind the curtains is just one legal document. A scare tactic that big companies use to get rid of upcoming competition and to get their customers back.
So, what do you do if this happens to you and your company? Better question is, how do you prevent this? There are 2 answers.
The first answer is incredibly simple but incredibly difficult. Honesty.
If you are honest with your suppliers, your employees, and your customers, you have nothing to be worried about. When you receive a letter saying you “stole” your idea or product from another company, you don’t have to worry! Because it isn’t true.
The second answer is obtaining legal help. If you have your company locked down with legal assistance, you can laugh at these letters. Have your stuff trademarked and have your name protected! Be prepared for big business bullying because it will happen.
3. There Is No Outline, Template, Or Guide To Your Success
Have you ever read a “how to be successful” book? After you read it, did you start on the path for your success? If you did start, were you able to avoid every problem that would normally arise?
See, there is no “how to” book for YOUR success. There are simple motivational guides on how to get started and how to resolve specific problems but there is no book for you. The only person who could possibly write a success book for YOU is YOU. Every single person has a different dream and a different passion. They have different talents, different skillsets, different motives, different work ethics, and different behaviors. This means, the only way for you to become successful is to do it. Some people define success as happiness. Some say money.
First, you have to determine your definition of success. Only after that will you be able to start your journey. When we first started Johnny Slicks, we determined our goal. We found a unit to measure our success. But guess what! There was no book or guide, trust me I looked. We just had to start. There are new problems that arise every single day, some bigger than others but we have had to overcome every one of them in order to stay on track for success.
If you are looking to start a business or already have a business, you need to have a clear measure of success. However you define it, you have to know what it is. Goals will ensure you are on track to succeed. And a notebook will show you your progress. But no matter what, never stop working for it. Never stop pursuing your success. If success were easy, everyone would have it.
As the great Connor4Real says in the movie Pop Star, Never Stop Never Stopping.