IT is 12:40 am Wednesday May 27th 2014
Well this is my hundredth blog post. It is only fitting that I dedicate this post to the early supporters of this business. There is no business that exists all because of one person.
There is no business that could exist because of just the owner by his or herself.
There are many people that help, give advice, help financially or simply give moral support. There are many people that allow the vision to become a reality. To all of you, along with the Tumblr staff and management I say THANK YOU.
I thank God all the time even 40 to 50 times a day even 100 times a day, everyday.
It is 4:06 pm Tuesday May 27, 2014
Hello Tumblr Family,
Yesterday my friend Carlene said that she wanted to buy a booklet. I went toher job to make the sale. She works at Olive Gardens at Times Square. I figured that you can come with me for what I will call “A Day ( Memorial Day 2014) In The Life Of Lowell”.
The first that I did when I went outside was that I went to the pharmacy. He ( Sean) had purchased a booklet on Saturday so I wanted to take a picture of him in the pharmacy store. Then from there I went ton125th Street to get a sausage and ice tea from the Saugage guy. I had previously taken pictures of him so I was able to tell him that people like his picture before I buy the sausage and soda. After I finished eating I got on the train (subway). I saved the soda for the train because it is kind of a treat to add life and some excitement to an otherwise pretty routine ( boring ) ride.
I took the “A” . It let me off at 42nd Street and 8th Avenue.
So as I walk from The Port Authority Bus Station I am greeted by lights, video screens, and people everywhere. I pass the AMC Movie Theater, Ripley Believe It or Not, Madame Tussaud’s, The Aladdin Broadway Theater and the Rock.
Well, it looked like the Rock. It’s a Madame Tussaud’s life — like statue.
I pass by the army recruiting station, and Chase Manhattan Bank, Walgreens, The #1, 2, 3, N, R, S subway station, and Elmo, the tour bus and The Hard Rock Cafe. Did I mention that there are that there are literally hundreds of hundreds of people everywhere? Moving on:
I pass by the naked company, and next to him is what could be called the naked women. Well in actuality both the cowboy and ladies have coverings for the bottom and women had body paint which is kind of a covering ( I guess), I pass the Hard Rock Cafe, and the cartoon character with the long hat ( I forget his name ).
As I get closer to my destination which is Olive Garden I pass by the TKTS start and there seeming to be some on the dancer from Chicago Broadway Show out there. That was so cool, I was close to the Hershey store, Mac Donould’s, Express, The Allianz Skyscapper Building, and a statue of George M Cohan 1878 - 1942. I think that he is a guy that said “Give my regards to Broadway.
All this stuff was pretty interesting stuff but my main goal was to get to the Olive Garden. Just before I got to the restaurant I saw an interesting graphic design. I think that it was for Google Play.
Even if it wasn’t I thought it was an interesting graphic display of color so I took the picture. finally I got to Olive Garden.
There was a smoothie truck right next to the restaurant and it was colorful so I took a picture. Once I got inside Olive Garden Restarant I noticed that it was very busy. I guess the Memorial Day crowd was drumming up a lot of business. I saw my friend Carlene. We spoke for a little while and she got a booklet but had to get back to work. She did get me a cup of water. I understood. She couldn’t take a picture in her uniform so we agreed that we will take the picture on another day. I left. I passed by a restaurant that had bottles of wine in the window, another with NY soulviners. I passed by a Broadway show of ” A Raisen In The Sun” with Denzel Washington. Then I passed by a new restaurant called Buffalo Wild Wings.
I was, however, able to take a photo inside the restaurant. One picture. I guess I felt that Inwanted to show thatbI was there. Years from now these will be considered humble beginnings.
So now we get to the main reason for to Times Squqrej which is to sell a booklet. The lesson here is that you have to try your best to make a sale. As long as you try your best you can never lose. The knowledge that you gain when you gain when you give it your all is amazing. This is the mystery of business. When you push yourself to give it your all, there is nothing left. For example what if I just got up yesterday and said, Let me take it easy, go to the park, or the beach, or the barbecue, it will have been nothing wrong with that BUT it would not have been good for the business. so the decision had to be made. I choose the squeeze as much of the business into the day as possible. I remember Les brown said that you cannot be an entrepreneur with a job mentality. He said that an entrepreneur does not just work from 9:00 to 5:00 he works from FIVE to FAINT.
Now remember that I said that I had taken the picture of the frank and sausage guy! and took the picture of Sean the pharmacy guy early yesterday morning. Well after I got back from Times Square, I returned I to Harlem and called Mr. Stukes. He is the 78 year old gentleman that purchased a booklet on Saturday. I asked him if I can come over and take a picture. He said yes and in addition to taking a picture, he purchased a flyer for his nurses aid while I was there. Later on that night, Rona purchased a booklet and took a picture.
It is now Tuesday May 27, 2014 at 11:33 pm. And I started making this post earlier today. I had to go to Whole Foods today. I wanted to take a chance and so I took a booklet with me. My goal? Charles. I wanted the picture of Charles but he is often busy. Next blog I will speak on the early supporters of this business. Anyway back to the story. It was about 6:30 pm and I walked down there. Fortunately he was outside sitting down (very rare). I took the picture. Thank God. An idea is brewing for the pictures. I will go into detail for each person inthe next post. Thank you for sharing Memorial Day with me.
It is Saturday May 24, 2014 at 11:52
Hello Tubblr Family,
Today was an interesting day. For starters, I sold 4 booklets. One to a pharmacist, one to a 78 year old man, one to a restaurant owner, and one to a frank and sausage guy. There was another guy that that just gave a dollar donation. But believe it or not, the guy that just gave the dollar donation might have proven to be the best sale yet.
I said a long time ago that there is not much of a difference in receiving 1 lump sum of 1500.00 or selling 1500 sales of 1.00. I found out that the 1.00 sale is the best sale for people that do not know you or do not care less about the concept. I decorated a design for the unemployment assistance .
I wanted the design to attract attention while at the same time reflect an artist flair. After I started with the design it took a life of its own.
It is now 9:31 am on Sunday May 25, 2014.
When I went to bed last night I had two things on my mind. 1- I wanted to make the flyer suitable to sell in black and white. By printing the flyer in black & white I can sell the booklet for a dollar and reach more people.
The second thing that I wanted to do was to use a bar code system to the booklets to keep track of the booklets. Soon the second part of the booklet will take place when the booklets are donated to the unemployed. I looked at some of the bar codes and realized that by the time that the business has enough money to pay for a system like that is a long time from now.
I prayed about it and we ( God and myself)thought of an idea. I will cre my own
It is 11:54 pm Friday May 23, 2014
Hello Tumblr Family,
I have some good news, finally I sold a booklet. Today. Thank God. History is being made! This is the start of great things to come.
I was home waiting to make the phone call. I must admit that I was a little scared because I stopped in Staples yesterday and asked them if the job was ready and they said no. Then the guy said that it takes from 7 to 14 days. Business days. I put the order in a paid for it. It took forever for them to pick up the phone. Finally some one picked it up. And put me on hold. I later called again and the manager named Raphael picked up. I was relieved because he is the one that put the order in and helped me a lot and did a lot of work on this booklet. Thank you Raphael. Your the best.
So just as I am about to go, I got my first sale.
The best first sale ever!
I am not going to release any names on this blog but I will release initials. Her initials are MLS. The reason that I feel extra blessed is because this woman march WITH Martin Luther King! Yes. THE Martin Luther King. I thanked her and told her that she has symbolically blessed the booklet, the business and the vision. God always saves the first fruits for himself so her blessing the business with the first sale was my little confirmation from God.
She was with Martin Luther King and heard when he gave the speech of “I Have A Dream”. She lived to see the day when the dream was realized with the first black president - Barack Obama. Now today, Friday May 23, 2014 she has started another chapter in history. This is the time in history when we have a social entrepreneurship business called The GPI Vision Center sold the first booklet to finance a business that will solve one of our social problems namely- unemployment.
So in her lifetime she has a good past, a good present, and is invest in the future. God is good.
Back to the booklets and Staples. Raphael said that the booklets were there and I went out to get it. When I got there, Raphael was not there and they couldn’t find the booklets. Until……Finally……
Tommorow I plan to sell two more booklets. 1- I plan to sell to sell to a pharmacy store. And the other one I plan to sell to the franks and sausage guy on 125th Street. I asked them to print about 10 black and white prints so that when I go out to sell them I can have an option of the 5.00 or the 1.00 booklet.
It is a start…..
More pictures from the last year.
It is 3:03 pm Thursday May 22, 2014
It is 2:00 pm Thursday May 22 2014
Hello Tumblr Family,
I just wanted to go over some of the pictures that I used in the blog posts in the last year since September 2013. I believe that this post and the next will be about the pictures in the blogs.
It is 1:01 am Thursday May 22, 2014.
Hello Tumblr family,
I want to, in this blog, finish talking about the costs of producing the booklet because I only have one more day before the booklet should be finished.
I am choosing to have Staples print the booklets for me. They will charge about 50.00 for 25.00 booklets. I decided not to start off in B&W. I have learned a long time ago to use professional services when you are in business for yourself. Professional services cost a little more than doing it yourself but the quality is the same as the professionals use. This is important. Just because you are a small newcomer doesn’t mean that the final product has to LOOK like a newcomer. When I made signs in the past I for my vinyl supplies from the biggest sign company in New York called Big Apple Signs. I have over 300 signs in New York City so I know that it pays to use professional companies. Staples is the leader in desktop publishing access able to the general public. The desktop publishing services that they offer is,professional.
I like using their printing services for another reason. They have a professional grade paper called brochure grade paper and I think that this will be the extra “wow” factor that I need to be competitive and professional as I go out and sell the booklets.
I received about 50.00 at the beginning of May which was on a Thursday. By that time I had made all the corrections to the booklet. I decided to use color ink ( as opposed to black ink). I also decided to add three improvements to the original blog post.
The first improvement is what call an update. I might call it is THEN AND NOW. I figure that the blog is good but there have been a lot of things I have learned from the first time that I made blog #1 all the way back in September. If someone was looking at the blog on the internet they could scroll to the current I blog to find our what the recent episode of my story is. Since I am taking one page out of history, my story changes and likewise my update will be a good way to show how you can be flexible and adaptable to any situation as long as you stay focused on your vision. A god way to illustrate this is the writing of this content right now. At this exact moment in what we call time it is 7:27 am Thursday May 22, 2014. I first wrote this content on April 29, 2014. I have to change around a lot of present tense past tense statements to allow it all to make sense. One thing for sure, every day, every moment that we live is a moment in history. And everyday brings you closer to God’s vision for your life. For me, since my purpose and vision is to assist the unemployed ( which I will call “The Least Of These” ), it is one day closer to my ultimate vision. If I sell one booklet or if I sell all 25 booklets, I know that I will be fulfilling this part of the vision that God has assigned to me at this time in history.
The second improvement will be that I will incorporate is a section I called ” KINGDOM PRINCIPLES”.
This section will most likely have a scripture and a principle based on the Bible. I believe that the Bible is the best source for dealing with business and especially a social entrepreneur business. There are many scriptures that deal with leadership and success while keeping a realistic concern on social values and morals. The Bible is an excellent source and resource for business. I will also incorporate highlights from secular (non - religious or non Bible based) books.
The third improvement that I will make in the print version of the blogs will be what I will call FOCUSED ON PURPOSE AND VISION. This section will show how the everyday decisions that I make will (1) reflect on the past, (2) be put into use and practice and use today ( in the present) and (3) produce favorable results or “fruit” for the future.
I will explain the difference of having a job, a business and a vision.
I will also explain how each of us can take steps to discover, acknowledge and maximize the purpose that God has put in all of us. I will explain by example of how I will be fulfilling God’s purpose for my life which is ( for me ) to assist the unemployed ( “The Least Of These”).
Another improvement or addition that I incorporate into the booklet is what I call the THE GPI VISION CENTER MARKETPLACE. I will have some kind of filing system on the bottom of each booklet. I think that I will end up using some type of bar code system. A bar code is the pricing material that supermarkets and retail stores use to store a lot of information about the merchandise in a short amount of time.
I would like to incorporate a bar code sticker onto every booklet. The code will explain the price that is charged and the value points. The value points refers to the dollar amount that can be redeemed by turning in the booklet to The GPI Vision Center Marketplace. This allows each booklet to be recyclable. These booklets will be part of history. They will be the first printing of the worldwide launch of the first GPI Vision Center Booklet. I will only have 25 booklets. I will show you and the world how God uses something small to produce something great. It will be the modern day (2014) equalalent to the miracle in the bible where Jesus turned water into wine or when Jesus fed a multitude of people from a piece of bread and fish. You will see how God uses the faith of few to bless many. You will see a modern day miracle. It will be a Joel Olsteen said in his sermon ” You Are The Miracle”
My goal is to give back discounts to registered customers and employees ( supporters and recipe taints). The discounts will either be a discount on merchadise mentioned in the booklet or a cash value at can be redeemed by using your GPI Value Points. If the booklet had items such as headphones or grocery items, the purchaser will be able to use the value to purchase everyday items like groceries, electronic equipment, iTunes downloads, amazon downloads, and several discounts on restaurants and retail stores.
It will be similar to the box tops with the bar code on cereal tops or the serial numbers that are present when one has to register for a warrenty for a purchased item. The bar code will allow the booklet’s value points to only be used once or redeemed once. It will be simular to when you get a coupon in the mail or in the Sunday Paper. I am very excited about this aspect of the booklet value.
These are some of the ideas that I have for the booklet. In business you cannot assume thT you know exactly what the customer wants and you cannot assume that the customer perceives the same value that you want the customer to perceive. It goes back to an earlier post that I had about a John F. Kennedy and a monument to a staue of him in Prospect Park. The words say ” Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country”.
In the post, I said that we should ask ourselves the same in business. We should not ask ourselves what can a customer do for us. the obvious answer to this is of course that we want the customer to patronize us. The deeper question is ” what can we do for the customer?”. We should try to squeeze as much value into each goods or service that we supply.
I guess the best example for journalistic excellence and value in a secular ( non religious or bible based ) printed material would be The Sunday Paper. The first decision that must be made is which Sunday Paper to purchase. In New York’s inner city neiborhoods, the choice might be either The Daily News Sunday Paper or The Post Sunday Paper. In other parts of the city the additional choice would be The New Times Sunday (weekend) Edition. I like to see the NYTBR
(The New York Times Book Review)
The unique thing about the Sunday is that everyone gets the paper for different reasons. some get it for the sports section, some get it to have a summery of all the important, some people get the paper mostly for the TV guide, or some get it for the shopping or you have people like me. All I want out of the whole paper is the circulars particularily the electronics circulars like Best Buy, Staples, PC Richard or Target.
Regardless of what reason that you get it, the fact is that you purchase the Sunday Paper even though it cost more than the newspaper would cost on Monday, Tuesday or any other weekday. Why? Because there is something for everybody.
Our business should be just as diversified.
Note from Lowell. Thank you for reading this post. As I mentioned earlier, this post was originally written on April 29, 2014. It is now 9:47 am Thursday May 22, 2014. In April, planning to write the booklet. I have since produced the booklet and submitted it to Staples for printing last week Wednesday. It takes 7 business day to complete. So, tommorow is the day that is will be available. I will have have 25 booklets. I have choose a few more divisions to the booklets since April. I will show you the booklet and describe the sections in the next post. For now: the names do the sections.
HOW IT ALL BEGAN
THEN AND NOW
SCRIPTURE - Ecclesiastes 31 on purpose
FOCUS ON PURPOSE AND VISION
THE GPI VISION CENTER- assisting the unemployed
SCRIPTURE- Proverbs 29:18 on Vision
SCRIPTURE- Matthew 6:33 on the Kingdom of God and Righteousness
Kingdom Principles : Kingdom
A message from Lowell
The Least Of These
Kingdom Principles - Righteousness
The Vision Center Marketplace
Redeem this booklet for 50% of the purchase price
It is 1:06 pm Wednesday May 21, 2014
Hello Tumblr Family,
I always try to start off my posts with hello Tumblr Family. I Know that I presently only have 1 follower but I will have more. That is kind of what an entrepreneur has to do. You have to plan for the future. How do I know that I only have 1 follower. I will show you.
Now, you have to follow me here. You see on the left of the screen shot ( picture ) it says followers. It says followers:1. That’s it. Simple. But this simple fact gave me an idea. Increase my followers.
We will talk about that later. For now I Would like to continue the conversation about the cost of business- beginnings.
First, I want to show you a book that I am reading, well a few books that I am reading.
So, I mentioned earlier that I used some information from Myles Monroe about vision, purpose, and kingdom principles. But I don’t want you to think that I spend all day reading Bible books all day everyday. I also read what I call secular books. You might call these books Business Books. I am presently reading (and putting down in excel spreadsheets) information from the book called “The Thank You Economy” and this book is another way that you can fulfill your vision. I will explain. I was looking for an extra boost to the idea of selling the booklet.
It is a cool book. It is talking about the trends In busness. The trend that has been going on for some time is the computerization business. When was the last time that you saw a business advertisement that didn’t have a Facebook or Twitter symbol on the bottom. Why is is there? It is there so that you can continue your shopping experience at this store continues. The Thank You economy is saying that in order to keep your customers and stay competitive, you must ENGAGE your customer.
What does engage mean?. It means basically to be nice to your customers. Engage them in conversation from of your heart. We will talk about that later. For now let’s us talk about the cost of doing business. Let’s talk about the production of the booklet.
In my last few posts I mentioned that I had a few other businesses in the past. I sold computers, I has a photography ( portrait wedding and church ) business and I had a signage business. I also mentioned that being the CEO is just the beginning of being successful.
For example, I was speaking to a bank called Capital One and they told me that I have to keep 250.00 in their bank to have a business account. “Imagine that. This 250.00 cannot be spent, it. Just has to stay there. This is before you even begin to earn a penny!
By point is I that the time that you become a business owner you are so busy trying to make money to just keep up your company. Then, another cost of being a business owner into a sole propriortaship business is the DBA (Doing Business As) license. That cost is 120.00 not including transportation costs. It is not use saying that it costs 2.50 to take the subway downtown to get this DBA license because you have to at least have enough for a round trip. That is 5.00. Everything cost money. I normally just get a “weekly unlimited” metro card for 30.00 a week. So now the business license, weekly transportation and a business bank account is about 400.00. All these costs are all before you have even made one nickel.
Another cost that must be addressed is insurance. There is the everyday cost of life and health insurance there is also business insurance. All of your equipment should be insured in case it is broken or malfunctioning.
For example, my computer ( a HP 17” laptop) now has a problem with the log-in under my name. In addition to that problem is the fact that my laptop cannot get on the Internet. I have to take the laptop to Staples to have it repaired. They (Staples) told me that I have to have 69.00 for them just to look at the laptop.
Fortunately if I allow them to find the problem and agree with their repair price, they will deduct the 69.00!price from the cost of the repair. Sounds good right? It sounds good if you have the 69.00. I don’t so I have to wait. For now I have to design the booklet at home, put it on a flash drive except for the fact that you have to also buy the flash drive for 10.00 for 8 gb on sale. I saw the same exact flash drive at Rite Aid for 29.00. Everything costs.
Then after you finally design and put everything on the flash drive You have to go to Staples and print the content from the flash drive onto their printer but guess what? You have to pay for the computer time .30 per minute or another way of looking at it is 3.00 every 10 minutes which is 18.00 per hour.
Then there is the cost of making the print. The best thing to do is print in black and white until you have the print aligned properly to print in color because guess what? Prints cost money also. In addition the computer time is the color print price of 1.00 as opposed to
B&W prints costing 28 cents.
There is another problem. I have to print two sides which jumps the price to 2.00 per page color and .56 per page B&W. Thank God you do not have to pay for the paper.
I cannot use the printer from Fingerhut yet because the Log in feature does not work and that would log me into the administrator log-in needed to download the software.
The advantage is in the quality. Staples has a color printer has the average business would not be able to afford.
I mention all of these facts and cost so that you would know some of the realistic costs to consider when going into business. For me I had to wait until I got 50.00 to print my first set of booklets to sell.
I choose to have staples print the booklets for me. I will talk more about the production of the booklet in the next post.