There are some “rules” of business success most entrepreneurs abide by. But many also have their own “secrets”—things they do or believe that helped them achieve success. In “Secrets of Success,” a weekly interview series here at Web.com’s Small Business Forum, I ask some of today’s smartest, most innovative, most successful business owners to share their insights and success secrets with you.
Meet: Craig Bailey, a self-proclaimed “coffee enthusiast” and owner of FoamAroma, a hot drink to-go lid, introduced in January 2012. Craig sees things from a design and function perspective so it makes sense that a coffee event in 2007 provided the push to follow through on one of his invention ideas, resulting in the FoamAroma.
Craig’s background—a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering and 20+ years as a corporate employee working in R&D, manufacturing and project management jobs—didn’t indicate he would take an entrepreneurial turn. But in 2007, bored with the corporate structure, he left his employer and became an independent consultant, which gave him the flexibility to pursue his dream of inventing and led to the development of the FoamAroma lid.
You can reach Craig on Twitter @foamaroma.
Rieva Lesonsky: What did you want to be when you grew up?
Craig Bailey: A scientist or engineer were my top choices. Engineering eventually won as the combination of math, science and drafting was fun for me. I sure do wish we had computers and 3-D printers when I went to college!
Lesonsky: Why did you start your own business?
Bailey: I became bored and frustrated with the job I had, being with the same employer for 20 years. So I left and easily slipped into my consulting business doing the same thing, but as my own boss. Three years later I created the FoamAroma lid—which is my second business and the most fun. I started FoamAroma because I knew in my heart that I would be sorry if I did not do it.
Lesonsky: Did you experience a pivotal moment on your way to success?
Bailey: For me the realization of possible success came as a result of two events. One was seeing the first production run and filling my trunk with FoamAroma lids. The other was taking my first order, a container load headed for England.
Lesonsky: What’s the best small business advice you ever gave and/or received?
Bailey: Even before I started FoamAroma I was interested in inventing and developing ideas. Six years before I had the idea for the FoamAroma lid, a successful inventor told me, “Just do the next thing.” After I began to get seriously involved in developing the lid, I quickly learned that I needed to meet the right people to help me.
Lesonsky: What’s one “best practice” more entrepreneurs should be embracing?
Bailey: If you are self-funded, keep your job or second income going while starting your business. You probably will need to support the heavy upfront costs with other another source of cash.
Lesonsky: Do you have a prediction for small business?
Bailey: Not really, I am not savvy in the world of business—although I think there will always be scammers trying to sell home business get-rich-quick systems. [Succeeding] takes a great product, long hours, persistence and hard work (with a little luck thrown in).
Lesonsky: What’s your favorite book?
Bailey: Golf In The Kingdom, by Michael J. Murphy, was one of my favorite reads about the mystical and spiritual aspect of playing golf.
Lesonsky: Is there a quote you find particularly inspiring?
Bailey: My wife keeps telling me, “Constant forward motion, honey.”
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Rieva Lesonsky is CEO of GrowBiz Media, a media and custom content company focusing on small business and entrepreneurship. Email Rieva at email@example.com, follow her on Google+ and Twitter.com/Rieva, and visit her website, SmallBizDaily.com, to get the scoop on business trends and sign up for Rieva’s free TrendCast reports.