Monthly Archives: February 2016

Stumpy’s Hatchet House Business Tips

Our Small Business Snapshot series features photos that represent, in just one image, what the small businesses we feature are all about. The owners of Stumpy’s Hatchet House, Mark and Trish Oliphant and Stuart and Kelly Josberger, explain how this image represents their business.

Stumpy’s Hatchet House offers a back-to-basics form of recreation, bringing together friends for a primitive and organic experience. In this adults-only business, our customers experience “a social throwdown” — meeting friends, throwing hatchets to targets in a competitive game, cheering one another on, and ringing the bulls-eye bell!

We believed there was a need for activity and socializing, a place where people could “power down” and engage in something that was invigorating and unique. Stumpy’s features eight throwing pits that accommodate up to eight people each for the sport of hatchet throwing. After a brief training with their throwing coach on safety and procedure, participants are led into the rustic outdoor-like setting of the hatchet throwing pits, complete with tall timbers and an outdoor feel.

In their safe, controlled throwing pit (each with a clever name such as the “Brad Pit,” “Snake Pit” and ‘Peach Pit,” to name a few), customers take turns hurling their hatchet to the target, honing in on their form and technique. After several trials, most find this activity to be addicting. When not throwing, friends gather in the common area at large farm tables and comfy couches.

We also wanted our venue to provide more than just hatchet throwing. In our Wood Shed party room, the experience is extended to allow guests a place to gather and have meal. Additionally, for those who use Stumpy’s as a corporate team building venue, the Wood Shed also doubles as a meeting room.

This business did not open without challenges. Finding the right location with the proper zoning was a trick, and proper insurance was necessary, of course. Throwing sharp objects sounds dangerous, so we were determined to make our business safe and smart, attracting like-minded people who are looking to have a place to escape and do something primal and fun.

We opened in 2015, and in just a few short months, Stumpy’s Hatchet House has become a local Jersey Shore attraction. Adults of all ages have raved about the experience and returned for more. Repeat visitors are excited to bring new friends to share this hidden secret nestled in the industrial section of Eatontown, New Jersey. What’s next for Stumpy’s Hatchet House? Perhaps opening more locations in North Jersey, the northeast corridor, and/or across the United States. Who knows – maybe hatchet throwing will be the next Olympic sport!


How to reach the success business

To succeed in business today, you need to be flexible and have good planning and organizational skills. Many people start a business thinking that they’ll turn on their computers or open their doors and start making money – only to find that making money in a business is much more difficult than they thought. You can avoid this in your business ventures by taking your time and planning out all the necessary steps you need to reach to achieve success. Read on to find out how.

1. Get Organized
To be successful in business you need to be organized. Organization will help you complete tasks and stay on top of things to be done. A good way to do this is to create a to-do list each day – as you complete each item, check it off your list. This will ensure that you’re not forgetting anything and you’re completing all the tasks that are essential to the survival of your business.

2. Keep Detailed Records
All successful businesses keep detailed records. By keeping detailed records, you’ll know where the business stands financially and what potential challenges you could be facing. Just knowing this gives you time to create strategies to overcome the obstacles that can prevent you from being successful and growing your business.

3. Analyze Your Competition
Competition breeds the best results. To be successful, you can’t be afraid to study and learn from your competitors. After all, they may be doing something right that you can implement in your business to make more money.

4. Understand the Risks and Rewards
The key to being successful is taking calculated risks to help your business grow. A good question to ask is “What’s the downside?” If you can answer this question, then you know what the worst-case scenario is. This knowledge will allow you to take the kinds of calculated risks that can generate tremendous rewards for your business.

Entrepreneur Tips

The biggest problem founders and small business owners have is that they’re experts in their field and novices in what it really takes to effectively run a business. That’s what usually trips them up, sooner or later.

Don’t let that happen to you. Admit that you don’t know what you don’t know about business, starting with these 15 tips guaranteed to help keep you and your company out of hot water. Some are straightforward, others are counterintuitive, but they’re all true. And some day they’ll save your butt.

Always make sure there is and will be enough cash in the bank.

Period. The most common business-failure mode, hands down, is running out of cash. If you know you’ve got a cash flow or liquidity problem coming up, fix it now.

You can’t fire bad employees fast enough.

You just can’t. Just make sure you know they’re the problem, not you (see next tip).

Related: Busting the 6 Myths of Entrepreneurship

The problem is probably you.

When I was a young manager, my company sent us all to a week of quality training where the most important concept we learned was that 90 percent of all problems are management problems. When things aren’t going well, the first place to look for answers is in the mirror.

Take care of your stars.

This goes for every company, big and small. The cost of losing a star employee is enormous, yet business leaders rarely take the time to ensure their top performers are properly motivated, challenged, and compensated.

Your people are not your kids, your personal assistants, or your shrink.

If you use and abuse them that way, you will come to regret it. Capiche?

Learn to say “yes” and “no” a lot.

The two most important words business owners and founders have at their disposal are “yes” and “no.” Learn to say them a lot. And that means being decisive. The most important reason to focus – to be clear on what your company does – is to be clear on all the things it doesn’t do.

Listen to your customers.

It boggles my mind how little most entrepreneurs value their customers when, not only are their feedback and input among the most critical information they will ever learn, but their repeat business is the easiest business to get

Learn two words: meritocracy and nepotism.

The first is how you run an organization – by recognizing, rewarding, and compensating based solely on ability and achievement. The second is how you don’t run an organization – by playing favorites and being biased.

Know when and when not to be transparent.

Transparency is as detrimental at some times as it is beneficial at others. There are times to share openly and times to zip it. You need to know when and with whom to do one versus the other. It comes with experience.

Trust your gut.

This phrase is often repeated but rarely understood. It means that your own instincts are an extremely valuable decision-making tool. Too often we end up saying in retrospect and with regret, “Damn, I knew that was a bad idea.” But the key is to know how to access your instincts. Just sit, be quiet, and listen to yourself.

Protect and defend your intellectual property.

Most of you don’t know the difference between a copyright, trademark, trade secret, and patent. That’s not acceptable. If you don’t protect and defend your IP, you will lose your only competitive advantage.

Unexpected Burning Man Business Inspiration

Despite Burning Man’s reputation for drugs, sex and EDM, many substantive conversations are inspired by the ethos of the festival itself: communal efforts, gifting and social responsibility.

Five years ago, the Burning Man Festival became the point of origin for Open Road Alliance, a philanthropic fund that helps solve the unexpected challenges that nonprofits face every day.

The problem we were discussing was the lack of fast funding for nonprofit projects that encounter an unexpected roadblock; in this case it was the absence of $25,000 to send donated hospital equipment worth $500,000 to a hospital in East Africa. The machinery sat for months on a loading dock in the U.S. because no one would pay the incremental costs to make sure it got there. Truly, a problem that could be easily fixed.

Although it would take us a year or two to prove out this notion, it turns out that there is virtually no back-up planning included in most donor grants to non-profits. The attitude is, “Congratulations, you got your grant. Don’t come back to us with a problem.” This would be akin to watching a fellow Burner run out of water in the desert and refusing to come to their aid. It doesn’t fly at Burning Man, and it shouldn’t be acceptable in the philanthropic world either.

Even putting altruism aside, leaving non-profits and their beneficiaries to suffer is bad business. When contingency funds aren’t available, donors essentially lose their original investments. Moreover, as the example of medical equipment demonstrates, solving these common problems often requires only incremental resources. In our portfolio, Open Road puts in only one-eighth of the original project budget on average. This leverage model gets us more bang for buck and has allowed us to rescue more than 70 projects to date, such as providing counseling on Indian Reservations, creating an open source sex-ed curriculum, and facilitating peace and mediation training for young African leaders.


Embracing the unexpected

“Be prepared” is the Burner mantra, and it is the message that Open Road Alliance brings to the philanthropic sector. Be prepared to act fast and responsibly to protect your investment in the people a non-profit project is designed to help. Don’t let patients go undiagnosed in Kenya because equipment is sitting on a loading dock; make sure the organizations trekking through deserts to bring water to stranded communities aren’t ironically derailed by unexpected flooding of the roads; and contribute to underserved communities by fully providing the resources they need to weather the unexpected storms we know they will inevitably face. Make sure the glass of water they have is full to the brim, because we should expect some unfortunate spills along the way.

My experiences at Burning Man made me realize that while you can’t plan for what you don’t know, you need to be able to adapt and evolve to get the most out of any venture — whether philanthropic or psychedelic in nature.

About the author: Laurie Michaels, PhD, is the founder of Open Road Alliance, where she works with her team to make charitable and recoverable grants to nonprofits in need of contingency funds. Dr. Michaels currently serves on the Board of Directors for PATH and Search for Common Ground.