Friday, October 01, 2004

The Business that Almost Was

A few years back Tony, my brother, and I formed a company, Bros. Davidson, LLC. One of our ideas was to use the company to run a cart or kiosk in a shopping mall. You've seen them, they usually sell the everpresent sunglasses, silver jewelry, or cellphone covers. At the time both of us had day jobs and didn't know what to sell, so we went on to invest in another idea, PartyBlocks. Awhile later we parted with our partner in PartyBlocks and got back much of the money we invested.

This summer I came up with another idea for us; sell high-end poker chips and related items at a mall kiosk! It seemed like a great idea, poker is now on multiple television channels-building huge interest in the game, internet gaming sites are still growing in popularity, and home poker games are popping up everywhere. I Over the summer I purchased some good poker chips from eBay and knew the margins had to be fairly decent so this seemed like a real possibility.

The first thing I did was tell Kristi. A few days later I talked about it with an old friend who had come to town for the weekend. And the next day I talked about it with my brother. Everyone agreed, this sounded like a winner of an idea. I didn't start acting on it until the end of the week, when the friend called from out-of-state to say, "Hey, I've talked to a few folks and this is a winner. You should really be pursuing this."

The next few days were a hectic scramble to develop the concept, uncover suppliers, find the correct mall for our market, ensure we had the funds necessary, etc. I was extremely worried when I discovered a one mall had no available kiosks or carts for the holiday season. I was bouyed by the Galleria, the high-end mall in Dallas, because they looking for someone to sell exactly this! Holy Cow, this could really work.

I worked the weekend while visiting with Kristi's parents and feeling sick, but everyone loved the idea and I wanted this to work. We decided to do business under the name "Lone Star Poker." A business plan was sketched out and a bunch of applications for various malls were completed and sent off. Tony selected the product and I developed a sample product catalog to show the mall management our professionalism and what we were going to do.

Then I waited. I started following up with the malls to find out what was happening with our application. And in the end, it turns out that they signed someone else to sell this product category in the malls we were pursuing. To make matters worse for my state of mind, the malls were signing people to sell the same product during the two-three business days I was doing research and working on developing the idea/business. Further, the malls loved our presentation and resume of relevant experience! They were very supportive and offered other product ideas that might work, but I'm somewhat hesistant about them.

The end result... the week I spent talking instead of acting cost me a small business. It's foolish to think, "If I had this idea in May I could of had a bunch of kiosks across the city or state." But oh the frustration of missing this opportunity by mere hours while I was dithering. ARGH!

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