David Letterman, KEN, John discussed on Entrepreneur on FIRE
So can say what's up to fire nation and share something interesting about yourself that most people don't know. Sure, thanks for having me on the show, John, and hello fire nation. Something unusual about me? Well, I had 330 kids in my high school graduating class. And one of the only things that all those people knew about me in high school was that my career ambition was to be the director of the David Letterman show. And I always wanted to be behind the scenes and kind of not stand out. And I think probably the reason that people didn't know much about me was because I was really, really shy. In fact, I was voted the shyest person in the class. So for years, I was really embarrassed about that. Mostly because of all the opportunities that I felt like I missed to connect with people and for them to get to know me. But really, I think in the end, it was probably a gift because the pain that was associated with that title really forced me to struggle outside my comfort zone. And I think it was that recognition that struggle is a good thing when it means overcoming our fears and our limiting beliefs. And that was really probably one of the things that really led me to start my own business. Well, that's a great and interesting share and a great life lesson as well. So definitely appreciate you sharing that. And fire nation as I mentioned briefly in the intro, we're going to be giving an incredible audio masterclass today on using credit cards to get an edge for your business. We're going to be talking about some really important things. So I don't want to waste any time with any fluff. I want to dive right in and can one thing that I really love that comes from your mouth very often is do good by the world and buy your employees. This is your approach to business. Tell us why this is your approach and why it works. You know, it's really simple. It's always been a simple thing for me. And that is just treat people the way that you want to be treated. And everything really always works out that way. I've always been very empathetic. I think that's a skill that has gone has helped me be successful in sales. I'm always empathetic with other people. I spend a lot of time thinking about how other people feel and kind of putting myself in their shoes. And so for me, succeeding by only acting with integrity and doing the right thing by all the stakeholders in our business, whether they be suppliers or employees or clients is really the only way I want to be successful. So it was kind of a no brainer for me. Do good by the world and buy your employees. Just think about that fire nation. And something that I think goes a long nicely with this is be humble, be happy. For me, when I was growing up, I can always remember my uncle saying those words to me. And I was just like, I didn't really get it, but I always kind of associated being humble with being happy. I'm like, well, I want to be happy in my uncle says I need to be humble. And so that humbleness was really a big part of me growing up and kind of maturing. Through the army, through corporate finance and then now running my own business, be humble, be happy. So going along with what you just shared is your thoughts behind that. What do you think Ken about being humble? Does that play a part in what you do at all? Oh my God, it's so resonates with what our company is about. And in fact, that's the reason behind calling the company good start packaging is really having some humility and we call it good start packaging because we really feel like doing something for the environment or with business or self or your health every single day is what matters. And that's what generates momentum. We don't pretend as a company that we have the best solution ever out there. We are ultimately about disposable products. We are about compostable disposable products. And we think they are for a lot of people. A step in the right direction. But I think people are in this age of all the advertising messages and politicians and so forth. There's so much hyperbole out there. And there's so much cynicism and distrust as a result in consumers mind. I think people are starving for messages that are just are transparent and honest and not full of hyperbole. And that are humble. So it really does connect with me a lot. Well, be humble, be happy, feel free, Ken, to use that phrase at any point. Just give me credit the first few times you use it, but then it's yours for life. Be humble, be happy. Now, what are your philosophies that I really do love? And this is for you fire nation. This is for success as a small business owner. This philosophy is don't do one big thing. Do a thousand little things to get an edge. Now, I want to talk about this because you hear a lot of people just say, focus on one thing, just do one thing. Then you're hearing other people say, well, be a renaissance man or a woman and do a thousand little things. And again, I want to kind of rephrase what your philosophy is and then have you expound upon that. Don't do one big thing. Do a thousand little things to get an edge. What does that mean? I think that some of the inertia for a lot of people behind doing anything that they consider big like starting a business or getting in shape or whatever is because they think of it as this monumental thing and they have to be incredibly successful at one big huge thing, but the truth is, I think that most people are successful over time by doing lots of small things that collectively add up to a lot of things. And that's ultimately what, again, good start packages just means about in a snake. It's about, it's not just about the cup, if you will, the disposable cup in our case. It's about the consciousness around that and inspiring other people to do more. And when you do a little bit, you actually get excited and say, gosh, what else can I do? And so a lot of the things that we do are really centered around that kind of philosophy and a lot of the success that we've had over time is not due to any one specific big thing. We don't have any patents. We don't have any secret sauce. We don't have venture capital that has helped us kind of buy our way into the marketplace. It's doing a thousand little things really, really well, whether it's programs for our employees, programs for our clients, improving our website, or one of the things that we believe heavily is finding opportunities to not just increase our top line revenue, but finding creative ways to reduce our cost and in ways that don't take a lot of resources. And one of the things that we've done in recent years, for example, was we started getting educated about rewards credit cards. And we came upon this credit card called the smart card. It's from Capital One. And it's credit card that we use quite extensively for our business because it gives 2% cash back an unlimited cash back on everything that you bought. And we buy a lot of stuff for our business adviser as much stuff as we can on this car. And it adds up to a lot of money. And I think a lot of businesses leave a lot of money on the table. Just little things like that that actually end up being a big convenience for us, but that 2% with a recharging lunches out with our employees or travel or our cost of goods, last year was $36,000 this year, added up to 50 is going to add up to $51,000 that goes right to our bottom line. And that's made a huge impact for us as a small business. We use those funds towards pretty much exclusively towards giving back to our employees group continue to invest in our employees, whether it be through additional benefits, health insurance and bonus programs as well. This is one thing we talk about quite a bit fire nation on this show is entrepreneurs, businesses, they're not running out of ideas. They're not running out of enthusiasm and excitement. They're running out of money. They're running out of time. So whatever you can do in your business to elongate that time to increase that dollar that's going to elongate that time, you need to be doing these type of things. And one thing that we talked a little bit about in the intro was your company can, which is good start packaging. You're a supplier of compostable takeout containers for restaurants based around New Hampshire. I don't think you probably know this, but I'm actually a mainer Kenny bunk for the win. So I definitely love the tri state area. And you have been using for your company credit cards to help your business out as you mentioned. I mean, over $50,000 that would not have been coming back into your pocket is now coming back as a result of you. Wisely using spark as a rewards card. So talk about maybe one or two other ways that you're using credit cards to really help.