It was a psychology class and possibly the best class I’ve ever taken — it was fascinating, provocative, and best of all I didn’t have to do any of the work. (Which was really good because I hadn’t realized the class was so difficult).
During the reviews and exams while students were freaking out, I spent my time doodling popcorn logos and sketching out imaginary storefronts. It wasn’t until my notebook filled with drawings and random snackfood thoughts that I realized a psychology degree was not in the cards for me.
Then, after I sold a few gallons of popcorn to Dr. Riccio instead of reading the text for class, I decided that popcorn would definitely be way more fun than defending a thesis.
The Kent Regional Business Alliance gave me a small mountain of information and resources about small business start-ups. The KRBA provides free consulting services to anyone thinking about starting a business. Free! They’re funded, in part, by the small business administration. More fun freebies are at the state of Ohio business development website, including a customized business startup booklet called Starting Your Business in Ohio.
Honestly, I thought it looked like a lot of work at first, so I took the same approach that I did with my psych class and kind of doodled around and cherry-picked the fun parts of business ownership. I picked out a store name, Popped! and trademarked it. You can search for Popped!, or your own dream name at the Ohio Secretary of State's website. I formed a limited liability company, Gwen Rosenberg Enterprises, LLC. I like the “enterprises” part because it sounds so mysterious, like I could really be doing a lot of very, very, interesting and enterprising types of things.
Once all the easy parts were done, I was left with either completing the paperwork to make myself a minority owned business, or writing a business plan. Business plans are the equivalent of a dissertation — lots of boring work to get to the part you really wanted to do in the first place. From what I’ve heard, it seems like a lot of really good ideas wither and die because people hate writing business plans. That’s such a shame. I wasn’t going to allow that to happen to me, so I got some of “For Idiots, Dummies and Morons” books from the library and pounded out a short (really short) and sweet business plan.
Before I let you read it, I should warn you that I fulfilled my undergraduate math requirement with “Physics for Liberal Arts Majors,” and I barely squeaked by with a passing grade. Needless to say my business plan is light on financials. For all you voyeurs out there go ahead and check it out — it's the PDF attached to this post.
If you have never written a business plan before, you’re going to think this looks pretty well thought out. If, however, you have any experience with business plans at all, I’m about to look really bad here. But, it was good enough that when I presented it to Ron Burbick, he gave me an A for effort, and the opportunity to open Popped! in Acorn Alley II.
Business plans can get as complicated or simple as the person who writes them. It’s a shame that the thought of coming up short on financial details could prevent someone from at least exploring a really good business dream. Despite my somewhat flippant attitude toward operating expenses and liquid assets, my business plan served the important and necessary purpose of taking all the doodles and daydreams and turning them into something I could hand in.