On June 3, 2014, Morris Tech Meetup, which recently topped 450 members, drew its largest audience ever — more than 80 attendees.
Before Michalowicz’s keynote, two startups pitched. Don Nelson of inControl Ads (Morristown), who presented at the meetup’s first gathering, updated the group on his company, and Dariusz Jamiolkowski, cofounder of The Outdoor Exchange, asked everyone to join his firm’s crowdfunding campaign.
Nelson said that since his first presentation, inControl Ads had launched its platform, including an ad-matching game that lets consumers choose the types of ads they want to see as they browse online. They can select their specific interests and preferences so they see only advertisements for items and offers from stores they choose. These preferences can be changed at any time to reflect new interests, or users can remove items they have purchased or no longer need.
InControl Ads has signed up some 5,000 users to date. Nelson invited the Morris Tech Meetup members to try out the service and provide feedback to his team.
Jamiolkowski explained The Outdoor Exchange’s mission — to be the trusted community-based platform that meets the demand for outdoor gear. He described the company as the Airbnb or Rent the Runway for outdoor gear. In simple terms, he said, The Outdoor Exchange is the place to rent outdoor gear where you can get what you need when you need it without having to pay the high cost of purchasing, storing and maintaining equipment that you don’t use on a regular basis. Moreover, by using the service, subscribers can try out new sports and outdoor activities to see if they enjoy them, without having to make an initial investment, Jamiolkowski said.
When it was time for his keynote, Michalowicz did not disappoint. His talk was exciting, dynamic and surprisingly candid.
He recalled how he had successfully sold two businesses and become a millionaire at age 35. He then shared how two years later he was not only broke but battling deep depression. He said he was being open about his depression because it is something most entrepreneurs face but never discuss.
Michalowicz said the rapid change in his circumstances had been due in large part to his consumerism. As he started to rebuild his life and finances, he said, he began to search for a better, more sustainable future rather than relying on selling companies.
In his book “The Pumpkin Plan,” Michalowicz is inspired by people who grow 500-plus pound pumpkins. This time he finds his inspiration in a PBS documentary on diet, exercise and the simple truths about what really produces lasting results.
Michalowicz outlined the strategy of putting profit first, something he said every small business owner can understand. It involves four principles derived from the tenets of eating healthfully:
1) Use smaller plates — don’t just maintain a single income account from which you spend your money. Instead, use separate accounts for profit, salary, taxes and operating expenses.
2) Eat your vegetables first — do what is good for you by allocating money from income in the following order: profit first, salary second, taxes third and operating expenses with what is left over.
3) Remove temptation — put your profit, salary and taxes accounts into a separate bank without debit cards or other means of easy access.
4) Eat at appropriate intervals (no snacking, no skipping meals) — always pay your bills and put money into your accounts on the 10th and 25th of every month. It removes temptation and builds discipline.
As with diet and exercise programs, he noted, changing your fiscal behavior may require others’ support.
During the presentation Michalowicz offered to explain, free of charge, the principles behind “Profit First” to Morris Tech Meetup members’ accountants so they could be part of the members’ support system for achieving sustainable profit for their businesses.