Where do (good) ideas come from to start your own business?
Well, if you are Ben Jacobsen, you marvel at the fact that your girlfriend is willing to spend $10 on a tiny package of bespoke table salt.
So, he left Europe and moved back to the Oregon coast where he sampled seawater from 27-bays until he found one he thought might produce a great cooking and table salt.
This is a transition I see all the time. Mr Jacobsen went from a few failed tech startups to something he loves doing and which has a much greater chance of success than (say) building apps that have to compete with millions of other software applications.
Ben is also 43. In tech, you are considered old at 40 (30, if you are in China).
Anyway, here’s my summary on how to start your own biz based on the Bloomberg Businessweek article about “The Salt King of America,” https://www.bloomberg.com/news/features/2019-08-28/jacobsen-salt-is-bringing-attention-to-sodium-chloride.
1. Ben Jacobsen is a failed technology startup guy transitioning away from risky pure tech plays that have a residual value (if they fail) of approximately zero to something that is based on skill, has a real estate component plus enough “walls” around it to be highly differentiated and sustainable in the face of potential competition
2. serendipity (his girlfriend) gives him the idea of haute couture table salt and cooking salt
3. he develops his IP by testing seawater from 27 Oregon coast bays til he finds one that produces the right taste (Netarts Bay flakes, flavored by a high concentration of oysters in those waters)
4. he evaporates seawater at the right temperatures for the right duration; it’s part of his DV, differentiated value, (ie, secret sauce)
5. his PB4L (personal business for life) is now set—he’s finally found his why!
6. he focuses on sales, sales, sales—he first hooks up with a local grocery chain (13-stores) at a new vendor food fair… now he has a real business
7. he erects barriers to entry: applies for a state salt-making license from the department of agriculture, gets a water-taking permit too and then wins US Food and Drug Administration approval for his salt as well as raising capital from friends and family
8. now he buys real estate—an old oyster farm on the Netarts coast, which he renovates–it’s much cheaper (and faster) to buy and reno than to build new
9. next, he hires 11 staff
10. he’s the first to set up a salt works in Oregon since Lewis and Clark did so 50-miles north in the early part of the 19th century during their legendary exploration of the area
11. everything old is new again—you want to find your purpose in life (?) then check out the encyclopedia Britannica circa 1930 in your local library and reinvent old crafts from earlier centuries… and wrap them with modern era business models and know-how
12. he also has a 27,000 sq ft warehouse and HQ in Portland where Jacobsen Salt gets packaged and merchandised
13. he raised prices from $5.50 USD for a 4-ounce bag in 2011 to $12.50 today (2019)
14. he finally starts paying back family and friends
15. this isn’t a one-hit wonder—he expands the product line (in this case to new seasonings).
Here’s where I am going with this–find a skill, develop a PB4L, buy some real estate (own your own premises), hold your PB4L in one company or sole proprietorship and your real estate separately, develop CMRR (committed monthly recurring revenues, the holy grail of any business or organization) then (as Mr Spock says), “Live long and prosper…”
Leonard Nimoy demonstrating the Vulcan sign for “live long and prosper.”
FOR REAL ESTATE INVESTMENT AND BUSINESS COACHING THAT’LL HELP YOU PROVIDE FOR YOURSELF AND YOUR FAMILY FOR 3-GENERATIONS, PLEASE CONTACT:
Bruce M Firestone, B Eng (civil), M Eng-Sci, PhD
Real Estate Investment and Business coach
ROYAL LePAGE Performance Realty broker
Ottawa Senators founder
• MAKING IMPOSSIBLE POSSIBLE
• FREEDOM VIA REAL ESTATE INVESTMENT AND PB4L, PERSONAL BUSINESS FOR LIFE
• FEHAJ, FOR EVERY HOME A JOB
• MAKE YOUR HOME WORK FOR YOU, INSTEAD OF YOU WORKING FOR IT
• HIGHER ROI NOT JUST FOR OWNERS AND INVESTORS, BUT FOR TENANTS, GUESTS, VISITORS, NEIGHBORHOODS, COMMUNITIES, TOWNS, VILLAGES, CITIES AND THE ENVIRONMENT TOO
image source: Gage Skidmore, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=15356928
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