Mistakes Start-ups Should Avoid

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Mr. Biz Radio: Mistakes Start-ups Should Avoid


Unedited transcription of the show is included below:

Welcome to Mr. Biz radio BizTalk for biz owners during the next half hour, Mr. Biz, Ken Wentworth, a leading business advisor, and two time bestselling author we'll cover topics. That'll help business owners run their companies more profitably and more efficiently. If you're ready to stop faking the funk and take your business onward and upward, this show is for you. And now here's Mr. Biz Kenworth.

All right, welcome to another

Episode of Mr. [inaudible] radio with you, Mr. Biz, Ken Wentworth. And this week we have, um, I say it all the time and it sounds probably cliched and probably sounds patronizing, but I really mean it. We have a special guest this week. Um, I, I know you guys are gonna love this. Uh, his experience is just all over the place that he has done all kinds of cool stuff. Um, still, uh, still a young man, uh, but he's done a lot of really cool stuff in his life so far. Um, he was a merchant Marine boat captain. He's been a commercial airline pilot. So he hits you from, from the sea and from the air. Okay. Uh, and he turned $11,000 into a billion. Yes. I'm going to go with the, uh, captain evil billion dollar brand. Um, and he was one of the co-founders of a little company you may have heard of called hydro flask. And if you haven't heard of that, you probably have been living under a rock, uh, the last, the last five years or so. Um, so this week's guest on Mr. Biz radio is Mr. Travis Ross back of now he's with the tomato group. So rod Travis, welcome to,

Well, thank you, Ken. It's a pleasure to be here.

Yeah. Look, I don't even know where to start Travis. Uh, seriously, you your background. And like I said, I was telling you before we cut on air here is, you know, when I was doing some of my show prep, I'm like, oh my gosh, there's just so many different directions. I just, so I guess I'll let you sort of start in summarize a little bit, not, not summarize, but tell us about your entrepreneurial

Journey. Yeah. Okay. Well really I think that my entrepreneurial journey started when I was about 12 years old. I had a next door neighbor in Salem, Oregon. That was a fairly prominent attorney and we were living sort of below the poverty line. My mom had had just gotten divorced and raising four kids on her own and doing her best to support us. And we were literally, you know, eating government cheese and our next door neighbor dieted. And I'd only met him about once or twice, but, uh, I inherited his bookshelf and come to find out it had all of the greatest who's who's, uh, or who's who I should say no, no on the second hoop of business, uh, legends from the eighties and nineties. And so I got a bunch of Brian, Tracy and Zig Ziglar and Wayne Dyer, you know, for the self-help type thing.

And, uh, Jim Rowan and, and all of the just greatest legendary books possible, this man owned. And then, and then I was, was I inherited, I guess, kind of. And that is what really started the bug or the itch to go out and start my own companies. And then fast forward a couple of years when I was 14 years old, I met my dad living down in the us Virgin islands in St. Croix. And he owned a couple of dive shops, cane bay, dive shop on the north shore St. Croix. And I was literally kind of thrown into the fire, uh, running his businesses with him and helping him anytime he'd take off and go on vacation or take off for the weekend or whatever it was that he wanted to do. You just, you just leave me there to do the grunt work. And so that's kinda how it all started.

Well, I think you're being pretty humble. So first of all, you're, you're, you're running, you're running the shop at 14. Uh, you, as you mentioned being kind of thrown into the fire, but you can't stop at 14 Travis. All right. You got to take us all in a little further along the path here.

You mean after the child labor? Huh? Okay.

Well, you're, you know, you were, you were in St. Croix, so maybe the laws are different down there, right?

They are it's it's, it's, it's a territory. It's not a state completely. Okay. Uh, so then after that, when I was 18, I moved from Salem. I graduated at about two days later, I was living in St. Croix, actually running the dive shops more and more. And we were up to about, I think we had three or four at that point. So I did that for a number of years. Um, mainly, you know, being the manager of the shop and being a dive instructor and a boat captain, a dive master. And then I became an airline pilot. So that kind of happened right around nine 11, that that whole era happened. And then after that, um, I was living in Florida, flying private jet charters and got tired of living in hotels. And basically I was just a glorified bus driver. I mean, it's a lot of fun to fly fast and high, and it was a lot of fun to just travel across the country, but I really wanted to do business.

And that was really, I could not stop reading these business books. And so, uh, my partner at that time, she and I started a, uh, a house flipping companies of sorts and, and didn't have the best luck with it. I, I wasn't real good at, uh, at it because, um, basically what we were doing was we were helping people out of, uh, you know, trying to avoid bankruptcy. And we were offering them pretty much pennies on the dollar for their home, and I would see their faces. And it was just like, uh, you know, I felt like I was robbing them. You know, I felt like a, like a, like a scam artist. And so that didn't last, very long, uh, moved back home to Oregon to just kind of figure out what was next, started a fence company, doing a wooden, which had no idea how to do that, but jumped right in head first, how to one of the largest, best companies in the Northwest after just about, uh, you know, a year or so, um, moved off to a wahoo and, uh, fell in love with the Hawaiian islands, moved over there and started a sign in screen printing company called a wahoo science and screen printing, doing banners and embroidery and, and, and, and all of all things printing related got done with that started hydro flask, which is a double-wall vacuum, insulated water bottle company, uh, took that and grew it for about four or five, five to about six years also told, um, got that real big, sold it off, try to be retired that did not work at all.

I failed miserably at it. And, uh, but definitely 33 is, is too young for me in any way to be retired. And so I started the high R excuse me, I started the Tableau group, which now I run and have a lot of fun with, and I get to help other entrepreneurs at whatever stage they are and help them grow their business. So that brings me up to today.

Yeah. Yeah, no, that's awesome. Again, I told you guys listen to it back and we could dive into like seven different areas in a heartbeat and, and do like five shows on each one of these things. I told you, he lived a really cool life, uh, already so far, and he's still a young guy. Um, so I, it's a good segue though, because I want to mention, we always cover in the last segment of the show, we pick the brain of our guests and Travis is going to share with us, uh, you hear, you heard his experience. And so now, you know, he's going to be able to give us some really good tips on some mistakes that startups should avoid. So he's been there, um, uh, how many different, I lost count, how many different companies that you started over the years, Travis, but Travis, I actually not even necessarily start your dad's business, but you were involved in the growth of it, et cetera.

And so, um, you know, he's got really good experience and many different industries. Um, and so again, that's what he does now with the tumbler group. And, uh, so I know, uh, Travis is not a big social media guy, but I know he's on LinkedIn. So I would encourage you to follow him on LinkedIn. Find out more about what he's got going on there. Um, but I want to, gosh, we were running out of time here. What's oh, wait. I know, I know one thing I found, and this is a quick answer for you, Travis, I'm gonna put you on the spot just a little bit. I noticed, I know one thing when I was doing show prep, you're into gangster rap. What is your favorite gangster rap? What is your favorite gangster rap record?

Easy. Does it by easy hands down far and away? Yep. Wow.

I guess hands down must be. That was a, that was a quick answer. You didn't have to contemplate at all. Oh, well,

And let me add a little caveat to that. Not the new edited one that Spotify has on, but the original one that has less Dr. Dre on it, Spotify has edited

It. Gotcha. Gotcha. All right. Well, we're going to hit break here. We'll come back to the Mr. [inaudible]. We can continue talking with Mr. Travis Ross back

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All right. Welcome back to the show and it's time for the Mr. Biz tip of the week. And this week's tip is a simple one, but it is very important. And frankly, I find not a lot, not enough people, uh, adhere to this, to take full control of your success of your success. You need to take full responsibility for the things around you, super, super important. Don't leave things up to chance. Don't leave it up to someone else, take full responsibility for the things around you that you can control, optimize those, make them the best. But the most important thing is not just the execution and taking action, but the take responsibility don't point the finger somewhere else. Your success is your responsibility. So, and after that, I'll get off my soap box and go back to talking with Travis Ross back, um, of the tumbler group. So Travis, uh, gosh, uh, first of all, easy, I'm just digesting that for a second. Um, so, uh, so before we get into what Tamala group does, there's one question from the first, second I wanted to ask you, how the heck did you go from being a merchant Marine boat captain? How did you shift from that to becoming an airline pilot? It seems like very divergent.

Well, I was working on a yacht and I was the first mate on a yacht. And, um, I really was getting paid well and I really enjoyed it. And yet I didn't like the captain and he just wasn't a great guy, but he was wanting me to take over his role and, and this, it was a 110 foot yacht of St. Croix. And I just didn't want to do that. I didn't want to work with him anymore, and I didn't want to live that life. My liver just couldn't take it either. So I didn't want to do that much, much longer. And one day I was at the grocery store and I had about like 10 bucks to my name and I was trying to get my laundry done next door. And I was trying to get some food. And I had like, like literally less than $20.

And I just saw this magazine that was like a piloting or flying magazine. And it was like a light bulb went off like, wow. I knew that the sea planes would fly back and forth and I would I'd fly on them regularly as a passenger. And I never really thought about it much until I saw this magazine and something just struck me. And it just like the whole like magazine rack just lit up and, you know, the angel started seeing it and it was, it was just like one of these magical moments of my life. And I remember holding up the magazine, like, look at this, do you guys all see what I'm looking at here? Like, there's a magazine about flying and nobody really seemed to be all that interested in it, except from myself, you know, they were, they were getting their groceries.

So I ended up having to sacrifice, uh, some food, but I got water, macaroni and cheese, uh, my flying magazine. And I even had to leave some of my clothes behind at the laundry mat. And yet I had this magazine. It was just like, I'm a pilot. Now that's all there was to it. And I called the first school and they said, yeah, it's about 180 grand or whatever the number was to fly. And I thought they were like pulling my leg or just messing with me. So I called the second one. It was the same thing. It was like, you know, $200,000. I was like, well, you know, you guys are, you know, thank you. But no, thank you. And so I called the third one. Finally, they said the same thing, 150 200,000, whatever the number was back then. And yet they told me about this thing called student aid.

And then I started learning how to get student aid and, um, and, and then became a pilot. And then, um, right as I was getting my private pilot's license, September 11 happened, and a lot of pilots dropped out at that point. And, uh, I, I should say a lot of people that were just flying airplanes, stopped flying airplanes, but I was a pilot through and through. So I kept going. And next thing I knew I was flying for the airlines and I flew all bit about one of the planes that I ever wanted to fly.

Wow. Uh, man, I tell you, so I said all the, all this, all this life that you've already lived, Travis. Super, super cool. Um, gosh, let's, um, let's, let's shift a little bit and talk a little bit more about, um, dig into what you do with, uh, with the Tamala group and how you help startups launch.

Yeah. So the Tableau group kind of started with a lot just friends and family and people I'd bump into, you know, around the planet wherever I was looking for help. How do I know, how do I start a business? How do I grow my business? How did you do that with hydro flask? And how do I do the same thing? So, um, I do a lot of business consulting with, with, you know, just sort of one-on-one with the CEO or the owner. And I also do like larger scale consulting with whole teams and networks of people from basically all around the globe to, you know, right down the street, wherever they happen to be with the power of zoom. We get that luxury today and, um, also do a lot of sourcing. So I find factories, I've got a really, really robust Rolodex of factories that I've been working with for decades now and, um, help either find a factory and, and the molds and the tooling costs and the product cost and the minimum order quantities, and basically bringing a widget to market helped with the shipping and logistics and warehousing and third party logistics and taxes and tariffs and duties and or local, um, factories, things like that.

So kind of cover the gamut. We don't do HR, don't do legal and don't do anything with money with finances, no CPA type stuff.

Gotcha. Well, look, I, as I mentioned to you, before we went on air, you know, we've got, I know we've got a chunk of listeners out there that are, I call them wantrepreneurs there are people who have ideas. They just haven't taken that leap yet that entrepreneurial leap yet. And I think probably a lot of them haven't taken the leap because they're, they're out there saying, gosh, I don't even know where to start. You know, I have this great idea or what they think is a great idea. How do I even get started with this? Um, and I think the tumble of group is, you know, someone you could help with a lot of that hit the easy button for them. And, uh, you know, along those lines, I guess, let me ask you Travis, how did you know when you had quote unquote the right idea?

Um, I, well, um, I might be a little bit different than most entrepreneurs. I mean, I don't even know how to spell the word entrepreneurial, so I just kind of get hit in the back of the head. And I don't know if it's, you know, it's some sort of divine divinity thing. I am not religious. I don't follow any kind of dogmatic practices or anything, but I always find that if it hits me in the back of the head and it comes out my mouth and it just sort of feels right and it must be right. And if it's difficult and challenging, um, did I know I'm on the right path because if it's too easy, then, then I get bored and I get sidetracked and I go off and do something else. So I think I don't have a great answer for that. Unfortunately, cannabis, it's just, it just hits me in the back of the head. Yeah.

Well mean, look, there's some things, you know, when you have a knack for something you have, uh, an innate skill. It's what I find is it's difficult for people who have those, those skills like that, those innate skills, it's difficult for them to explain it. Um, because to you, it's just like, well, I just know, you know, until the rest of us out here, like, well, crap, I don't know, you know, it's, it doesn't hit me in the back of the head the same way it does the you Travis. And again, I think that's a lot of your innate ability. You hear athletes talk about this, you know, they, they ask a, an elite athlete, you know, w what process do you go through hitting a baseball or, you know, whatever. And it's a lot of the elite ones. It's difficult for them to explain because they're just born with, they just go, well, I get up there and I swing a bat and hit a wall, you know, and I think it's probably similar with business. Um, and I, I, I really like about your journey too, is it started with the books, you know, I think that's very interesting that you were at that young of an age, getting immersed in some of those, those great iconic names in business. Um, so again, this week we're talking with Mr. Trope, Travis Ross, back of the tumble group, again, go out and follow him on LinkedIn. We're going to come back and get his tips on mistakes. Startups should avoid. Are

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All right, guys. Welcome back to Mr. Biz radio. And, uh, gosh, I want to get into these tips, Travis, but I got to ask this question. This has been, it's been burning. So I want you to share with us if you could, the story of how speaking of, you know, knowing, knowing when you have the right idea and it smashed in the back of the head, as you mentioned, you know, talk to us about how you got the idea and how it started with Hydroflask. So I heard this story, I heard you explain this before, but I think it's an interesting store and I think it would resonate with a lot of folks.

Yeah, sure. So I'd say it's a little multifaceted, but the, I think we're kind of first started was with the, uh, sign and screen printing company. I received a magazine, actually. I think it was, it was either a magazine or an advert, you know, sort of thing for a cylindrical bottle printer. And they were saying that you could print on aluminum water bottles. And I hadn't really thought of water bottles up until that point. There was really no water bottle market to speak of. And yet, for some reason, again, I saw this ad. I was like, wow, you know, you could print only one at a time. So I like there was like zero ROI on this thing, but it just struck me as like, huh, that's interesting that people are printing on a water bottle. That just didn't seem like something I'd ever heard of told my brother about it.

And he was just too busy to be interested. And so I kind of shelved it, put it away, forgot all about it realistically. And about it, six months to a year later, I walked into a sporting goods store in Honolulu. I was out running some errands and I was thirsty and thought, well, I'll just go in and buy a water bottle. Well, the whole entire wall was empty. There was not a water bottle to be found. I think they had like maybe two or perhaps three water bottles, but the whole thing was just empty. And I asked the guy what happened. And he said, well, we're not really sure there's this stuff. We don't know what it's called. It turned out to be called BPA. Um, and just as a preliminary precautionary, you know, take on it, the owner wanted us to stop selling water models.

And I asked, I said, well, who's going to fill up this wall. And they said, nobody, there's no one else to do this. And it, again, it just hit me in the back of the head and it came out through my mouth and I said, I will, I'll fill up this shelf. And the guy, the sales clerk, the salesman guy, he, he laughed at me. And in between it coming out of my mouth and him laughing at me, I saw it like the future. I saw myself up on stage at like a, you know, a conference or a university turned out to be UCLA Berkeley or excuse me, Berkeley. And, uh, so I was at Berkeley and sure enough, 10 years later there I was with, you know, my flash forward type thing. And, um, after I said it to him, I, I thought, oh shoot Travis, like, what have you done? Like, you don't know anything about water bottles, but it didn't really matter because now I'm a water bottle of guy and I'm doing water bottles and, you know, went back in about three weeks later, sold the sign company and, and started Hydroflask.

Yeah. So one of the reasons I wanted you to share that story is, is first of all, you took action. I talk about it all the time on this show. Ideas without action are nothing, right? They go, nowhere. They do nothing in the execution is obviously the next, next step in line, but you took action. And the other thing is, you know, so often these great ideas are just, you know, they come to you, you see a need in the world, you're out running around and you see this need. And that creates this idea. And so often that happens. And so that's why I wanted to make sure you share that by the way I have to mention Travis, you are, I see you as a younger version. I don't know. Are you familiar with Jesse?

Not that I'm aware of

You, you need to check him out. He is, he is the older version of Travis. Uh, cool. Uh he's uh, his big thing is he called a, B Y L or build your life resume. He does all kinds of crazy stuff. He's written, he lived with a Navy seal for awhile. He wrote a book about it. He went and lived with monks for awhile. He wrote a book about it. Um, his wife is the woman who started, uh, the company Spanx, a women under garment company.

Oh my goodness. I like him already. Yeah.

Super interesting guy. Uh, yeah, he he's, he, like I said, he's the older version of UIC, but it's super interesting guy. All right. So, um, let's get into some of these things. I know you have some great things to show share with us, give us some, some mistakes that you see that startups make that they need to avoid.

I would say, well, I mean, there's, there's a plethora of them. I think that probably one of the biggest that I find is that people do not take action. Like you said, for whatever reason, there's a naysayer, you know, that says, no, that's a dumb idea. It's not going to work. Nobody's going to want it. Um, a lot of times people are their own worst critic or enemy and they'll think, oh, well, I don't have the money or I don't have the time, or I can't do it for, you know, a plethora of, of, of reasons. And I think that we, we need to not listen to those people, even at the, especially sometimes if those people are ourselves granted, if the customer says they don't like it, or they don't want it. Well then yeah, it's going to probably take some tweaking or refinement to get it back out to where it needs to be.

But I think that a big one is just do not listen to the naysayers and take action, go out and, and, and at least try it because the world really does need entrepreneurs. And we need entrepreneurs. Now, I would say more than probably ever, we need help with this climate thing that we're going through. We need help with, uh, with, with every facet of our life, really. And, and we need more entrepreneurs to step up and get back up into the, to the business workplace. Uh, we lost a lot over the last year and a half, two years, and we need, we need more. We need more entrepreneurs.

Yeah. I definitely agree with that for sure. No, no doubt about it. And I talk about that all the time about taking action, you know, uh, Gary Vaynerchuk talks all Jay Vaynerchuck talks all the time about, you know, ideas without action. They're just crap. I mean, you know, you get nothing out of that and, and, and unfortunately, and I'm sure, especially you, Travis, you probably have friends, family members, et cetera. I know tons of people have great ideas. And then six months later I run into I'm like, Hey, how's that coming along? And I'm like, ah, you know, and they they've never done anything about it. And then, then there's someone like you as an idea that says, I'm gonna make this happen. I don't know anything about, you know, uh, water bottles, aluminum bottles, et cetera, but I'll figure it out and I'm gonna make it happen. I don't know anything about being a pilot, but man, I'm going to become a pilot. Like you took action. You make stuff happen. And that's a big difference in the world. I think.

Well, I, I truly believe in them. It's kind of become a mantra that act Bowlby and unseen forces will come to your aid. And it, you know, no matter what it is, if it's a big task, it's like eating an elephant. But if you, as long as you take one bite at a time or the other analogy drinking out of a fire hydrant, but you just take one sip at a time, it will happen. And I find that at least with myself, the more I immerse myself into the whole entire world, when I became a pilot, I didn't just learn how to fly airplanes. I learned about pilots. I studied the legends. I read all of the Chuck Yeager books. I read all of the Bob Hoover books, like all of the most famous pilots that wrote books. I read them all of the videos that I could check out from the library.

I watched them, all of the pilots I could meet at the pilot bars. I would talk to them. I dressed like them. I talked like them. I walked like them. I became a pilot like them because of them and with them. And a lot of guys were just flying airplanes and they never really got ahead very much. Uh, you know, not, or not as quickly. I, a lot of them kind of dropped out of flying and never did fly for the airlines, but I became a pilot and I learned how to fly airplanes, uh, kind of same thing with business. It's like I learned about, I became an entrepreneur and I did business. And so I learned about entrepreneurs and I learned about business. And that, that combination I find is very helpful.

Yeah. Yeah, no doubt. I mean, again, I think that's the key, right? You not only you took action, you again, I think that's so important. You immersed yourself in it, whatever I'm doing. You know, I talk about all the time is, um, I'll clean it up a little bit, but I don't have, but anything like I either full, but I don't, but at all, um, you know, if I'm going to do something I'm in it, I'm going to, and it's a win it. So, and I'm completely immersed in it. So I think that's a really good characteristic to have. So, Travis, again, I really appreciate you coming on. The show is a, is LinkedIn the best place for people to get ahold of you or find out more about what you're doing with, even with the Tullow group and it is,

Or, um, you know, any of your listeners can, could email me directly This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., tumalogroup.com. Um, either of those two options works out really well.

All right. Cool. Well, thanks a lot, Travis, for coming on the show. Really appreciate it. Thanks for listening guys. Have a great week and don't forget as always cashflow is king.

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