2100 E. Fairview Ave. Ste. 12, Meridian, ID 83642 Call our office today (208) 898-9036

Sat, 2017-01-14 16:03 -- scott

Smoking in the back yard

One summer morning when I was around eight years old I went to visit my best friend Derek Tueller.  He lived just down the street from me and we typically spent our summer days trying to find something fun to do.  I knocked on his door and upon seeing me Derek looked both ways, and then quickly ushered me in.  “Come in the back yard with me.  My parents aren’t home and I’m about to do something cool.”

Of course, this sounded very exciting so I followed him into the back yard.  He had a book of matches and a roll of paper towels.  “I’m going to smoke a paper towel” he told me bravely. 

My brow crinkled as I tried to picture how that would work.  “Umm Derek, I don’t know if that will work”.


Just like in the cartoons

“Of course it will work; check this out”.  And Derek proceeded to tear off one of the sheets of the paper towel.  He rolled it up tightly and showed me the big white cigar.  I pictured in my head a cartoon character taking a big drag of a cigar and blowing a smoke ring.  Derek handed me the paper towel and then grabbed the box of matches.  He struck the match and then lit the end of the paper towel. 


Up in flames

The end of the paper towel burst into flame and thinking in my mind what a cool idea this would be, I took a big drag of the giant white cigar.  Flame, smoke, and paper towel ash filled my lungs and I gagged.  As I spit and coughed up bits of charred paper towel Derek laughed riotously.  What seemed like a good idea at the time had unexpectedly and rapidly escalated into a very bad idea.  To this day I can taste the burnt acrid paper towel coating my tongue and throat and I can hear Derek’s uncontrolled laughter filling my ears.  The silver lining however is that I was cured for life from ever wanting to smoke—which can be a very expensive habit both in terms of money and health. 


Let's start a training business

When I was in my 20’s I started a computer repair business.  Things were progressing nicely with the business and we had outgrown the small, one-room office we were leasing.  I found a 2000 sq foot office (way too big for us at the time) for lease in Meridian and decided to move the business there.  We had so much space in the new office that there was a giant room in the back that was completely empty.  What are we going to do with this big empty room?  I had the random thought that a computer training business would be a great idea.  We repair computers; may as well train the users while we are at it.  My wife concurred and without any further market research or thought into the matter we hastily hobbled together a bare bones computer training room.  No business plan, just an idea and lots of energy.   


We don't know anything about running a training business

I called my yellow pages sales rep and asked when the next yellow page directory came out and he replied in five months.  So I hastily put in an ad and while we waited for the next directory to come out, we started offering computer classes.  We quickly learned two things 1) residential customers don’t spend very much money taking computer classes and 2) We didn’t know anything about running a training business.  Our classroom was pretty empty for several months. 


Let's get out of the training business!

After realizing what had seemed like such a good idea was shaping up to be a bad idea my wife and I decided it was probably best to cut our losses and get out of the training business.  I called my yellow pages rep to cancel the $200/mo ad and he informed me the book had already gone to print—there was no stopping it now.  Since we couldn’t cancel the ad we figured we would just run the business one more year and see what happened. 

 

Bad idea or million dollar idea?

That one-room training business was the beginnings of LeapFox Learning, which eight years later is now a million-dollar business that employs ten awesome people.  The bad idea ended up being a good idea which supports my family and provides a needed service to thousands of trainees every year for businesses and government organizations all over Idaho. 

 

What is your bad or good idea?

What ideas do you have for 2017?  Perhaps you have some good ideas and perhaps you have some bad ideas—perhaps you have both; only time will tell.  Good luck and make it a great year!


Scott Galloway
Program Director
LeapFox Learning