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Heard some unconventional, BRILLIANT BUSINESS ADVICE TONIGHT!

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by STL Cuts, Oct 6, 2010.

  1. STL Cuts

    STL Cuts LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 493

    Ok, going to go ahead and apologize in advance as this is going to be a long post.

    Tonight the college I go to hosted Blake Mycoskie, the founder/CEO of TOMS shoes. I'm not going to type out the whole story, but the foundation of TOMS shoes is "One for One". For every pair of shoes TOMS sells, they give away a pair to a child in desperate need in a foreign country.

    This started simply as an idea in 2006, and this year they gave away their millionth pair of shoes. You can read more about their story here http://www.toms.com/blakes-bio

    Blake mentioned at the end of his speech how the business world is an ever changing environment and it is getting harder and harder to differentiate your business, establish solid relationships with customers, etc. He also mentioned how giving back is something people want to be a part of.

    Anyways, this got me to thinking, this guy is really on to something... This could potentially be a big Win Win for a young entrepreneur. I've always enjoyed giving back volunteering when I can, and I've always enjoyed business/entrepreneurship and everything to it.

    Like I might have mentioned before I'm in college (junior) studying Finance and Entrepreneurship. I have always had the entrepreneurship "bug" if you know what I mean.

    Here is my idea. I have done the feed the homeless in downtown STL (quite an environment by the way) and similar events like that before, but being an entreprenurial minded person I always was thinking of my own way I could start some way to give back to the community.

    I have really good relationships with the entire business department at my high school as I took all the business classes offered and really enjoyed them as well. My idea is to set up a scholarship where I went to high school that awards a student the business faculty recognized as an excellent young entrepreneur.

    Now the funds for this would be from my lawn business.

    I'm thinking that the time of year where I make the best margins and in the fastest amount of time is aeration. Working all day 9-25, 9-26 with a helper, we grossed a little over $2,400. This was through existing customers and 1,000 doorhangers going out. My thinking is to possibly include something along the lines of "10% of the proceeds from the aeration service will go exclusively towards _________'s 2010 Entrepreneurship Scholarship at __________ High School" I think the response rate I would get would be MUCH higher than usual.

    Or even incorporating a small % of income from the year to fulfill the scholarship fund. This might be a good way to differentiate myself from competition, particularly as many customer of mine are elderly and they talk talk talk talk talk to their friends all the time... Great potential word of mouth.

    My end thought is that no matter what way I go about it, it is a win win for everyone. I think the return I would get by doing what I mentioned above (or any variations you all might offer) it will EASILY exceed the $250-$500 for the scholarship. Another benefit is that I enjoy giving back and would really enjoy helping out my former school.

    Ok, so am I crazy? Let's hear your thoughts everyone.
     
  2. Ric3077

    Ric3077 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,113

    Sounds good go for it!
     
  3. STL Cuts

    STL Cuts LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 493

    Nothing??? I thought for sure I would get a lot of responses with this...

    Don't hold back guys
     
  4. Mowing Freak

    Mowing Freak LawnSite Senior Member
    from S.E. Ks
    Posts: 459

    Sounds alright, would talk with your accountant about taking that off your taxes or what you would need to do. You need to come up with some qualifications on how to win the scholarship money unless you just donate it to an already existing scholarship fund. I would suggest an account you can put extra money into in case you have a lean year or a lot more unexpected maintenance issues, then you will have money sitting there ready to absorb the hit so you wouldn't have to dip in your wallet so hard.
     
  5. ShooterK2

    ShooterK2 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 816

    I like it! I do think you need a backup plan, as Mowing Freak mentioned, in case you don't earn enough just from the 10% of aerations, but I still like the idea. Even if it didn't generate much more than the scholarship money on top what you normally make in a year, it's still a great way to make a good name for yourself and your business, and meet new people (all of whom are potential customers.....) along the way.

    Keep us posted on this please, should you pursue it. I'm interested.
     
  6. Golfpro21

    Golfpro21 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 563

    good idea...nothing new but a good gracious idea........just make sure that if you start promoting this idea...that you actually give the money back, your name will be mush if for some reason you don't giv ethe funds to the scholarship...not saying you won't, but no matter what happens...your equipment dies and you got big repair bills etc etc, that money has to be given out.
    Hope this plan is successful for you
     
  7. fl-landscapes

    fl-landscapes LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,542

    and you may go to jail.......I like the idea though a lot.
     
  8. MR-G

    MR-G LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 479

    First off let me say thank you to you, and everyone else out there who has helped with scholarships...my son is going to college due to a wonderful program...I love the idea of giving back to the community...but, there are a lot of good scholarships out there...granted theres plenty of room for many more....but what if you were to help a local family in need...or several??? thru local churches....you advertise in the sunday program at each church...the church's should have no problem donating the ad as well....with the way the economy is and how it has really affected some folks this could be way bigger than another scholarship fund at the moment....just a thought..keep us posted (now you have me thinking as well haha):usflag:or maybe give people a choice of where there % goes...they may end up wanting to do both....
     
  9. STL Cuts

    STL Cuts LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 493

    Will do.

    I'm a person of my word, and I see your point. I'm quite particular with my finances and for something like this I would simply set the money aside before it all even started possibly in some sort of low level money market or CD that would come due around the time I would want to use it. Out of sight, out of mind.

    Jail???

    You know the more I was thinking about this today, the more I was questioning if a scholarship was the best route. I like the idea of passing on some funds in the form of a scholarship, but a more sustainable effort might be something like you mentioned with helping people in need through churches. Ironically, I just landed my biggest account last week, and it is a church that I'm sure would be interested in the help.

    I think that for this to be the best dollar for dollar return I would need to be supporting something that, assuming I primarily used this on the aeration flyer, that people would immediately recognize.

    For example, I want the consumer to notice this line and automatically know what the organization is, so they would be more likely to call (I want to keep it to a local organization, just need to find one everyone recognizes and identifies with or go the scholarship route).

    Another thing I thought of is do you think people will think I'm weird being a 20 year old college student establishing a scholarship?

    Another spinoff I had of this was the idea of setting aside say 5% of sales in a month or something like that to whatever fund/cause I ended up going with.

    Sorry if I'm a little all over the place, I'm kind of just typing everything that comes to mind hoping to get some insight to choose the best route.
     
  10. STL Cuts

    STL Cuts LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 493

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