Opening My Custom Retail Shop
By Joe Calise
Starting a C-business is like climbing Mt. Everest. If you don't have a great support staff when you start the climb, your battle will be even more difficult, if not impossible. If I didn't have great people around me, I could not be where I am today.
It starts at home. Before you make the leap, make sure your family understands that you'll need its help every step of the way. I've been extremely lucky in this department. My wife and kids have been very understanding.
After family, you must rely on great employees. Not good ones, but great ones. Good ones get bored and have no desire to grow with you. Great employees make great things happen and will help carry your company to where you want it to be. This is a whole other topic for discussion, as you'll see different sides of people as things change in either direction during the climb.
Before I decided to take the leap, I was mostly doing commercial work in sports bars, restaurants, nightclubs and so on. I was very big into the large C-Band satellite dishes, and always looked forward to football season, when we were busy with sports bars looking to get hooked up before the season started—back when we actually made money in the satellite business!
I was willing to do anything I could to build the company, so I installed surveillance cameras, telephone systems, anything anyone would ask of me. My motto was, "Yes, we can do that for you." Little by little, we did more and more. Once we started working in people's homes, though, I had found what I really wanted to do.
I established enough of a following for a nice little business, but it wasn't enough. I decided I needed a showroom, so I made the jump into what I thought at the time was retail. I purchased a "home theater" company for a song. I was basically buying their telephone number and location, which was an industrial building. I set up an office in the front of the building to display what we did. I built a beautiful retail showroom—but the area really just wasn't suited for retail. I knew even then that the first three rules in business are location, location and location, but I was convinced my great showroom could change all that. I was wrong. There was a big-time learning curve, but it was a great stepping stone for my first three years in "retail."