Friday, November 23, 2012

Stupid Business Ideas I Have Dealt With

So the great thing about the banking industry is that since most banks are insured by the FDIC, they are by law required to submit and make public their financial statements.  Doesn't matter if they are a large, multi-billion dollar megabank.  Doesn't matter if they're the local pissant community bank hiring burned out high school football heros from the 1970's.  All banks have to make public their financial statements.

Thus, every quarter I get to play "I told you so" as I look up the various banks I've worked for in the past and this quarter was no exception.  Pretty much every one of them posted a loss, though I was expecting some to either break into profitability or continue their short, albeit minor, streak of profitability.  Oh well, it's just more enjoying the decline.

However, as I was doing my quarterly perusal of banks' income statements, it reminded me of all the galactically stupid and brain-dead business ideas that people not only came up with, but scores of bankers were stupid enough to finance.  And I thought as a public service to all of you hopeful and budding entrepreneurs I would dispense my advice about what businesses are "good ideas" and which ones are "bad ideas" so that not only do YOU personally avoid personal bankruptcy, but that the taxpayers don't bail you and the world's dumbest bankers out again.

"The Sports Bar"

First, you can't say, "the sports bar."  YOu have to say it like your a fratboydouche with your hat on backwards majoring in business.  "I'm gonna start a SPortz BAR!!!  Wooo!!!"

Except you're not some 22 year old moron, you're typically a 50 year old balding male desperately trying to give your meaningless life some meaning.  So you go through a midlife crisis, you remember Cheers from the 80's when you were young and think, "Hey!  I'll start a SPORTS BAR!!!"

Do you have any experience in accounting?


Do you have any experience in managing a bar?


Food service?


No, all you know is you want to start a SPORTS BAR because you think it will be "cool."

Thank god you don't have any projections, because that would only confuse the equally desperate and sad middle aged male banker who is also going through a similar midlife crisis.  So when you're in his office and he asks you what you want $2.5 million for you can say, "SPORTS BAR!!!"

And he will in turn yell "SPORTS BAR!!!!"

Then you'll talk about how you played mediocre high school football back in the Carter years.

You'll make a go at it, name it a name you think is cool like "Dickie's" or "The Dug Out," but it will inevitably be  like your life - a failure.

"My Own Truckin' Company"

Before embarking on this venture make sure you have a decent job as a trucker, but no experience managing a trucking company.  It also helps to max out your credit as much as possible so that you spend every penny you earn with no cushion for emergencies or start up capital.  Buy all your toys, pick up trucks, snowmobiles, motorcycles, RV's, and then make sure to spit out just enough kids so you're above the poverty line.  Make sure your wife still has that hot 80's feathered hair and bonus points to you if you still have your mullet.

Declare to the world,

"Hoo dang dinglely dangilee!  What fer I need dis here truckin' job fer?  Why I kin do it myself!  Don't need no boss.  Gonna be my own boss!  How hard can it be doin' all dat accoutun' un stuff."

Quit your well-paying reliable job as a trucker.

Declare your wife, who has 3 months cosmetology school, your "Controller and CFO."

Don't bother registering an LLC or any form of a corporation at the state.  You won't be around that long.

Go on the internet and find the crappiest POS of a semi-truck that you can afford and after doing that don't worry about maintenance or anything as such.

Go to the local community bank and ask for the entire amount of money you need to pay for the truck.  When the banker says, "we can only loan 75% of the value of the truck" have the betwixt look on your face and say, "Nuuh uhh.. I need git of it."  The banker will then ask if you have a business plan, which you won't.  Go back home.  Grab a sheet of paper.  Have the Mrs. take .75 and multiply it by the price of the semi-truck (she do dat math stuff) and write that number down in the middle of the paper.  YOu write above that number:

"business plan."

You then write below that number.

"How much I need for the truck." (I swear to god I'm not making this up, this did happen).

Return to the banker and sign every piece of paper he puts in front of your face.

Well hot giggity, Jessup!  You is an official truck driver!

Make sure you don't have any business lined up before you start your venture.  When you do get business lined up, make sure you're drunk about half the time delivering only semi-regularly.  Remember, those idiot bosses of yours managing the trucking company didn't know nothing!  It is that easy.

In 4 months when you can't understand why you don't have any money left, ask your wife (she's the CFO anyway).  She wont' know.

Go to the bank and ask for more money.  When the banker asks for your financial statements, give him that blank stare with your bucktooth dopey grin that proves humankind can devolve.

If you're lucky the banker will take a 2nd and then a 3rd mortgage on your crappy trailer trash home (true story) and that will buy you and your utterly crappy excuse of a family another 4 months to live.

Blame your failure on George Bush.

Coffee Shop

First, get your Masters in English so you can spend your time and your daddy's money sipping down $6 a cup coffee.  Find a group of equally stupid people to tell yourselves how smart you all are while doing everything you can do avoid math and contributing anything to society.   Upon graduation and after 2 months of an unfruitful job hunt, declare yourself too smart to work a menial job and that you're going to start your own coffee shop.

Find equally ungifted friends who have the same abysmal lack of business acumen and experience.  Go to the richest, most liberal part of town, you know where all the hipsters hang out and spend their parents money, driving up rent and costs, and use a computer program to find the area of town with the HIGHEST coffee shops per capita.

Locate there.

Sign a lease without knowing what a lease is and go running to daddy to help you pay.  Unable to help you because he's working an extra 50 hours per week in the coal mine to pay for your English degree, you'll have to get a loan.

Spend hours on your Apple laptop downloading pastel colored power point presentations and business plan templates filling them out very verbosely and with unnecessary words, remembering at all times to avoid math at all costs.  Outsource any of the accounting and math to that nerdy accounting beta orbiter friend you have.  Fail to realize the irony you are marxist starting a for-profit company because you've never given ideology much thought.

Go to the bank, but make sure you talk to a female banker.  Preferably middle aged and angry looking.  When meeting with her blather on about how you're an independent woman as your father is trapped in a collapsing mine unbeknownst to you.  Mention 40 times you have your MASTERS degree and 42 times your are a young, budding entrepreneurial woman and 65 times you plan to go "all green and all organic."

The banker will give you an SBA loan, don't worry about what that is or what it means, have your beta orbiter worry about it, besides the tax payer will bail you out anyway, Julia.

Sign every piece of paper put in front of your face, and meet the construction crew at the new coffee shop as you also have your equipment delivered.  Have your engineering beta orbiter put it all together for you.  Start drinking into your profits.  Name the coffee shop something you think is cute, but doesn't differentiate it from any of the other 200 coffee shops on the block.  Say, "Cool Beans."  oh, you clever intelligent independent woman you!

Invite all your friends over for your grand opening.  Most of your friends end up at different, but equally crappily designed, 1990's grunge coffee shops confused about which one is yours.  Design an accounting system where the currency isn't dollars but "likes" on Facebook.  Make a go at it for 6 months and when you get tired of it, just put a "closed" sign on the door.  Dont' tell anybody, including your landlord.

Contemplate going back for your doctorate in English.  Buy some cats.

Horse Farm

Get fake books.
Don't even bother going to college.
Find a rich husband (or at least you think he's rich, but you can't tell the different between debt or equity anyway, so tee-heee HORSIIIIIIEEEESSSS!!!!)
Beg and plead of him to buy you horses.
Hubby will rearrange his 45 inter-owned shell LLC's to make it look like there's equity to borrow against.  Dumb banker will lend against it never asking the simple question "how does ONE person have the time to manage 45 separate companies?"  Besides, he had nice hair (true story).
Pledge horses as collateral.
Wait for the IRS, FBI and Post Office Investigative Division to arrest your hubby on fraud, tax evasion, and mail fraud.
Bank's loan committee will constantly renew your husband's line of credit used to buy the horses doing "drive bys" to confirm the horses (or at least the barn) is still there.  After 2 years of extend and pretend and vigorous debate on whether or not to repossess, loan committee will finally decide to repossess the horses.  Repossessing banker finds out horses are dead skeletons...will hold out for $40,000 per horse (that's an inside joke there).


Izanpo said...

Those were great stories, Cappy.

The freaky thing is, I knew that guy who decided to start up his own trucking company! At least the moron in your story had years of actual truck driving experience, and his company actually provided a service for which there was a demand.

The dope I knew had no trucking experience at all. He just got up one morning and thought it would be cool to have his own trucking company. All he had to do was buy a rig, come up with a cool logo, and he was in business, baby! The idiots at the bank took out a 3rd mortgage on his home and he bought himself a Navistar CXT. What's that, you say? The CXT isn't a semi? Well Fozzy's nebulous "business plan" kept mutating from week to week. In the end, in a state of panicked desperation, he though he was going to make money by entering the CXT in parades.

It all fell apart after that. He lost the house, the wife left with the kids. Now he's living in a van down by the river eating government cheese.

sisterbrat said...

No Candle shops? No paint your own pottery shops? Wow. Maybe that is just east coast specific bad business plans.

Anonymous said...

Did you ever see any business ideas that didn't suck?

Southern Man said...

What a laugh. My sister and three of her friends just pooled their money and took out loans and opened a coffee shop near downtown. They have no business experience. They have no food service experience. None of them know how to make coffee, much less good coffee. They couldn't even operate their cash register until my 19-year-old daughter read the manual and figured it out. They have no traffic. But it's very hip and cool and trendy and they have a movie room, so everything's OK.

gauthijm said...

Just bought the book Cappy!

Putting my plug in , amazon-wise, so you can continue as My Admiral of the Man-O-Sphere (TM)

take care!


Captain Capitalism said...

Southern Man,

Cool! How many likes does she have on Facebook?

allie said...

These are hilarious! I have been reading your blog for a few months now, and others that are on your blogroll. Learning a lot. I am trying to understand more about the ways that feminism affect the overall economy but a lot of it is over my head, despite being an otherwise fairly intelligent person. These realities are just new to me. Do you have a post or resource that explains some basics of how feminism impacts the economy?

Alas, I am going to start asking questions if you don't mind to understand more... so I am wondering, and please humor me here, How is the coffee shop grrl an example of Marxism?

Anonymous said...

I can well believe all this. And what offends me more than anything is how insulting this is to people who actually do this kind of stuff for a living.

I have friends who do things like run bars and bakeries. They work hard. They're smart. They watch the maths and the numbers like hawks because they have to.

And the thought of some ass running in and assuming that anyone could do the job makes my blood boil. The thought of a supposed professional agreeing with them is something I prefer not to dwell on.

Captain Capitalism said...

hi Allie,

The most simple and succinct connection between feminism and the economy is titled "How Commnism Killed the American Muse"

You can find it here:

Anonymous said...

OTOH, you could tell the banks you are opening a Sports Coffee Shop and use the money to pay off your student loans. Then, immediately declare bankruptcy.

Anonymous said...

I think I went to a coffee shop like that. Free wifi. Lots of comfortable couches. and nothing for sale but coffee. You can't sell enough coffee to pay the rent let alone hired help. I called it at 6 months.

Jorge Gonzalez said...

Was this you dealing with these people?

allie said...

thank you. ;)

LordSomber said...

Again, people who don't know the difference between a business and a hobby.

Unknown said...

If you've ever watched Gordon Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares show (both US and UK versions), you'll see a common theme with the majority of the restaurants featured on the show. Most of the owners themselves have no business experience whatsoever and created their restaurants to be hip and cool. Then when Gordon's gone through the trouble of fixing up their restaurants and everything and they still end up failing, they blame him for the loss of revenue and all this BS. Here is one such example. An all women run restaurant gone wrong.

Warning: Language.

I also recommend looking up The Burger Kitchen, an example of a family run restaurant disaster.

Anonymous said...


Goddamned hilarious stuff! I'll be laughing for days over this one!!

I know morons that tried the horse farm, coffee shop and sports bar. Was glad to see all of them quickly tank and suffer terribly as a result. Sadly, they still get to vote...

Anonymous said...

This is the problem with trying to convince people that the free market is the solution. Most people do not have what it takes to run things. Better to throw them a few bones in the form of that evil welfare state and keep them happy rather than fill them full of unwarranted self-importance that they too can be a captain of industry.

Anonymous said...

Hey Captain - I think more people fail at opening a restaurant than any other business.

I think you're right on the money with the horse farm, coffee shop and sports bar.

You could open a sports-oriented coffee shop that specializes in horse-racing and hope for a trifecta!

I think though, there's another to add to your list - it's the small town hardware store.

An honorable mention is opening a personal computer repair shop in a small town.

Yes, I know of people who successfully run a trucking business, another who runs a cafe/coffee shop and one that has a successful computer repair shop, but they work very hard and run a good, tight business.

A new Chinese restaurant opened in Zumbrota last Saturday - I wish them good luck, place your bets how long it will stay open.

Anonymous said...

"This is the problem with trying to convince people that the free market is the solution."

It is not a "problem" that stupid, unqualified people fail spectacularly and go out of business. It is a problem when they DON'T. This describes pretty much every government-funded or subsidized activity in the USA today -- stupid, unqualified people failing spectacularly but not going out of business because the taxpayers are propping them up.

Anonymous said...

What gets me is not the over-optimistic naif trying this crap.

What gets me is even though I have _ZERO_ training as a loan officer, and know next to nothing about Horses, , Trucking , Coffee Shops or Sports Bars ( A quadri-fecta of stuff I don't give a damn about.) it's pretty obvious to me that all 4 a serious business where you have serious competition and where the owner and/or his partners better me very serious people with skills and talent.

i.e. Horses - unless you are all-in in the horse world (i.e. you know your horses and the whole ecosystem) , and/or your Stallion/Mare has a name like "Man o' War", "Sea Biscuit" that it's going to lose money like water.

Coffee houses: Have you SEEN the competition? Unless you have none for miles or some other sales gimmick your profit margin is likely =0.


Seriously. How can anyone with the IQ necessary to get the credentials to became a bank manager even take stuff like that seriously? I'm not that smart and I'm not in the business and *I*see it.

Anonymous said...

Horse Farm?

The purpose of a horse farm IS TO LOSE MONEY, it's a tax dodge. Horse farms are hobbies for rich people, rather than paying tons of taxes on surplus income, they decide to sink it into a really fun "business"

lol that someone thought this was a real business, shows how much effort they actually put into their research.

Anonymous said...

All of these businesses except the horse farms are good - good for real capitalists. Why? Because their stuff goes for sale at bankruptcy auctions, usually for 10 cents on the dollar. It's a kind of natural process, the unfit die to nourish the fit.

Let me tell you, when I and three others were founding a business (it still operates, after 27 years, and has been profitable, but is small) we haunted bankruptcy auctions. I think the best we did was on a large inventory of electronic components. The auctioneer didn't know what he was doing. We did. Result, about 2000 components (most of which we did use) for pennies on the dollar.

God bless the incompetent! God bless the fools!

Dave said...

Replace "trucking" with "plumbing" and you have an exact replica of my wife's unemployed cousin.

Jenny@Blandy and Blandy Solicitors said...

A funny touch must say have had those ideas I cant stop laughing. Some people get lucky though when they hire the right people who just take care of the business to ensure that the BOSS is happy.

The Phantom said...

I looked into the coffee shop thing. I got no farther than finding a location before deciding against it.

$3k a month for a shitty storefront with no parking and no traffic, that's just rent. Three thousand samoleans is a lot of friggin' coffee. Add some labor and some renovations and some CITY FEES and some TAXES and some more TAXES and a bunch of other expenses you never thought of... that's a big nut to crack every month.

The kicker? A -successful- coffee shop owner takes home about the same money as a successful dental hygienist. But they work a 70 hour week.

Anybody want to guess what a -successful- McDonald's franchisee takes home? Between $100k-$150k. That's on a two million dollar investment.

It would be better to take my money and burn it on the front lawn, then tie a millstone around my neck and jump into the river. I'd end up in the same place as trying to run a coffee shop, but it would hurt less.

Anonymous said...

Can't believe you missed....

Independent Film Maker! I can't count the number of those I've seen come and go after 20+ years in the production business.

The whole SBA scam is what really rips me a new one. When we opened up we put everything on the line and survived through a lot of starvation and working our rears off. Then, the "latest and greatest" college grad appears on the scene - usually son of a prominent community member - and SBA hands them a small fortune for equipment and such. Dad's contacts get him a couple of jobs that they usually blow. Then they close up, file bankruptcy and walk away from the loan subsidized by my tax dollars.

Anonymous said...

artisanalpencilsharpening DOT com This guy is not only in his second year, he was featured on the PBS cartoon show "Nightly Business Report". Warning - put your beverage down before you click the link, lest you incur an unwarranted sinus rinse.

--Jimmy don\'t play that

Anonymous said...

There's an old saying: if you want to make a million dollars in the horse business, you better start with 2 million.