How to build your business slowly, sustainably and profitably

Dr. Relly Nadler: 
Today we have, Jim Beach, co-author of School for Startups.

I’ll tell you a little bit about him and then we will bring on Cathy.

Jim started working as a research assistant at the Japanese External Trade Organization in Atlanta. He attended graduate school in Hawaii before working for Coca-Cola in Japan. At the age of 26 he founded American Computer Experience which provides technology training for young people. He sold the company in 2001 and started teaching at Georgia State University. Now, he’s at the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce, working as an educational specialist, and he was worked extensively with United Parcel Services to promote exports.

You may have caught one of his commercials, which we will talk about as well in today’s program.

But, you know, it’s not just another book about how to start the next Microsoft or Apple in your garage, better yet, School for Startups, is about low risk entrepreneurship. Doesn’t that sound appetizing? Sure does to me.

It’s a book about how to build slowly, sustainably and profitably. It includes real life examples from authors Jim Beach and Chris Hanks, who are experienced entrepreneurs themselves, who’ve proven how even in a college classroom, businesses can be started from scratch and turn a profit very quickly, in turbulent economic times and across international borders.

School for Startups, you can learn more about it at, argues that entrepreneurship is not about risk or creativity folks, in fact, 72% of Americans wish they were entrepreneurs, and when this group sees that risk and creativity can be removed, there is no excuses, no excuses for anybody. They have been featured in Global TV, Media, and Amazon’s Business Section. The book features insights stories about several interesting, fascinating yet very real, and relatable entrepreneurs.

Well, Jim, it’s time for you to come on here, welcome to the show!

Jim Beach: Thank you so much for having me, Cathy, I really appreciate it.

Dr. Cathy Greenberg: Oh, we are very happy to have you. Relly and I love to learn and as entrepreneurs ourselves, we are open books.

Dr. Relly Nadler: Jim, we always like to start off with something a little bit more personal, how did you and Chris meet and decide that this was the project worth your time?

Jim Beach: Well, Chris and I were both teaching at the same University but neither of us is a Ph.D., we are both non-academics. We’re entrepreneurs that have had enough practical experience that the University actually gave us MBA classes, which is pretty rare, at a very good University too. We started hearing about each other, that there was this other guy who also teaches the same sort of stuff you do, very practical, not academic, comes in and tells stories. And, so, we started doing some seminars together and doing some classes together and starting some companies in our classes together. It got some media attention here in town.

One of the reporters that was writing about us said, “You guys should really do a book.”

And we were like, “Sure, you sell it and we will write it.”

The reporter, whose name is David Beasley and was with Bloomberg and Global Atlanta, Atlanta Constitution, and is one of the co-authors of the book, went out and sold it to McGraw Hill, we were like, “Oops, guess we better write a book now.”

So, we kind of backed ourselves into it, it was not our intention to write this book. But, we are certainly glad we did because we really loved the message.

Dr. Cathy Greenberg: Well, we love the message too, and you know what else we would love to ask people; Who really, kind of, influenced you and your work today? I mean, 26, starting a company, could we go here to Steve Jobs and Bill Gates, what’s going on here?

Jim Beach: Well, you know, I’ve had a lot of influences. I love to say the market place has taught me the most, the fact that I couldn’t get a job and the reason I could get a job is; I just finished up with Coca-Cola as you said in my Bio., in Japan and it saves them a tremendous amount of money in their Japanese office and came back to Atlanta to get married and thought I was going to easily get a job here at the company headquarters, many good companies said, “No, we are not interested in hiring you.” The marketplace had voted, they said, “You belong working for yourself. You do not play with others very well.”

So, that certainly had a big influence, the job search that I did in 94-95, around in then, which was a bad economy, just like now. It was easier to go create a job back then, as I learned than it was to get one. That was certainly an influence.

My parents are also fantastic supporters of me, but they were also very much supportive of me moving out of their house and getting something that would support myself, you know.

Dr. Cathy Greenberg: Launch, Jim, Launch. Yeah.

Jim Beach: Exactly, and so, they were very supportive of me starting a business that didn’t involve their money or living in their basement. So, they were great, and have been fantastic along the way.

Steven Jobs and the names you mentioned, I did hear your interview last week when you were talking about Steve Jobs and what he had done at Pixar at the end of the interview and, you know, I often say that Steve and Bill Gates, in a sense, broke entrepreneurship for so many people. For that 72% that you were referring to that want to be entrepreneurs.

They’re like, “I can’t be Steve Jobs. I can’t be Bill Gates. I can’t hope to be that successful.”

That’s when we are trying to talk to, there’s that group in the book, and say, “You know, if you go start a business that’s $100,000.00 into year 3, that’s still really, really, really cool and worth doing.”

And so, that’s what we are talking about in the book.

In the intro we mentioned this Jim, but where do you think the desire for, you said 72% of people want to be entrepreneurs, where does that desire come from?

Jim Beach: Well, you know, from Steve Jobs and Bill Gates who have this incredible lifestyle. But not only that, the person that you see at the soccer game, or the soccer coach, this guy who strangely has time to help his children at 3 o’clock every afternoon. You find out, oh, he’s a business owner and that’s why he has time, every afternoon. Just over, through the media and throughout learning life lessons, you see that entrepreneurs have what Cathy likes to talk about, this special happiness and what you wanted to talk about, this emotional intelligence. Where they have a really cool lifestyle. Maybe it’s not rock star cool but, this is interesting, more people want to be entrepreneurs than rock stars.

I certainly am in that category, I’m interested in the freedom and the excitement that entrepreneurship offers but I would never want to be a rock star and all that sort of silliness, or even famous like a movie star or anything. That’s just not appealing.

But people like what entrepreneurship represents, which is American freedom. It’s the man on the horse, out west, conquering his own destiny. You know, that thing Americans truly love, the going out and conquering and succeeding on your own is still very appealing to, you know, 72% of Americans.

Dr. Cathy Greenberg: Yeah, not only is it, you know, something that’s appealing to 72% of Americans, it also is highly focused in specific areas and, for me – in my world, that’s not only executives who want to do well on their own, but it’s women who realized that much the same thing happens to them that happened to you; they love to play with others but not necessarily in the same sandbox because they have kids at home.

Jim Beach: That’s right.

Well, you know, I’m a stay at home father, believe it or not.

Dr. Cathy Greenberg: And you have three beautiful children!

Jim Beach: Yes, Cathy and I were trading children pictures over the weekend, so, we did have fun with that.

I’m the stay-at-home-dad in our family, and the only reason I can do that is because of the lifestyle that entrepreneurship provides, and that’s what’s really cool, I think why 72% are so attracted to this, you know, I’m a beacon to entrepreneurship. People see me around town, and they see me in the café at lunch with my baby and they hear what I do. That’s a nice lifestyle, I have a very nice lifestyle. And so, that’s what’s interesting but you know, only 10% of people actually act, it’s that 62% gap that we are so concerned about. Those people that need to learn that, you know, you don’t have to wait around for an idea, creativity is great and that’s what Steve Jobs was so good at, but you know what? There are a lot of businesses that are not creative, they don’t need to be creative.

Now, there is nothing wrong with running one of those, and so, we love to tell people to get on Google and type in, ‘top 100 business ideas.’ And just see the plethora of free ideas that are out there for people to get started with. So that 62% that we really want to talk to and say, “You know what, go get happy by doing what you want to do, which is, not having a commute and not having a boss to report to and controlling your own destiny. Go start something.”

Dr. Relly Nadler: So, say that again, I missed what you said. You said 10% act and 62% . . .

Jim Beach: Right, so if we have 72% of Americans want to be entrepreneurs and 10% of Americans are. That’s 62% that are unfulfilled and unhappy secretly wishing, as they drive in their 40 minutes commute every day to report to ‘the man’ at jobs they really don’t love. That 62%, over half of America secretly wishes they could be doing something else.

Leave a Reply