“You know what’s cooler than a million dollars? A billion dollars!”
This now-famous line from “The Social Network” perfectly sums up the startup atmosphere. The current technology revolution has created a mystical land of insane valuations, young billionaires, and elusive “unicorns.” As I talk to young people, it’s obvious that these stories have become the new American Dream.
Here’s the problem: Most young entrepreneurs won’t invent the next Facebook or Snapchat. Some realize this and get discouraged; others waste a lot of time and money trying to replicate that elusive success.
The good news? You don’t have to.
My company, College Hunks Hauling Junk, is as far from “sexy” as you can imagine. A junk removal business isn’t new or cutting-edge, but we were able to scale a disruptive concept by bringing a fresh perspective to an industry that has been around for ages.
Entrepreneurship has no boundaries, and anywhere you find demand, you’ll find the opportunity for a great business.
From Simple to Successful.
I think my team is pretty amazing, but what we’re doing is easy to replicate in other industries. There are plenty of seemingly blue-collar industries that entrepreneurs can disrupt. It just takes a little strategy.
1. Find your X-factor.
Regardless of your industry, find the one thing you can do that the competition doesn’t. This can be as complex as using emerging technology to drive down costs or as simple as giving out an ice cream cone after every job. But don’t get comfortable. Be willing to tweak your X-factor consistently.
2. Know your scale.
First, prove you can be profitable with one unit or location. Then, figure out how the concept can be replicated. Once your business can function profitably without you managing the day-to-day operations, you’re ready for expansion. At CHHJ, we like franchising because the buy-in from franchisees guarantees a great experience for customers. But there are a lot of expansion options, so find the one that will work for you.
3. Purpose beyond profits.
Does your business have a purpose you can rally behind? Our purpose is to “move the world,” and that means more than moving stuff. We take this so much to heart that one employee of ours even spent 30 minutes as a chair for a customer while they were trapped in an elevator together. A purpose makes your business a force for good in the world.
4. Be the best — at one thing.
To be the best at one thing, you sometimes must be mediocre at other things. Stay focused on the core competency of your business. And if you choose to be premier, don’t try to compete on price. You can’t do both.
Facebook may have a few more zeros on its balance sheet, but you can still leverage technology, use your creativity, and make a strong impact on society. You don’t have to be Facebook to move the world.
Omar Soliman is the co-founder and CEO of College Hunks Hauling Junk and Trash Butler. CHHJ is a junk removal and moving franchise that services more than 50 markets in 30 states, and Trash Butler is a door-to-door valet trash service.