You know the drill. A hundred jokes begin that way. “Guy walks into a bar…”
How many of those jokes end with the guy moving into the bar and setting up his own business?
That's exactly what happened in Sacramento, California last week. A homeless man broke into a defunct bar and reopened it, beginning by selling a six pack of beer he bought from a local liquor store. Like a true entrepreneur, he went back to the store, reinvested the profits into more beer and set up shop. Days later, he was serving over thirty customers and by all accounts, set up a pretty good, albeit illegal, business for himself.
The bar was so successful it received a write up in the local paper, prompting the sheriff's office to inquire if the establishment obtained a liquor license. Upon investigation, they discovered a considerable amount of cash and alcohol. Police arrested the homeless man, one Travis Kevie, charging him with burglary and selling liquor without a license.
Business consultants constantly tout the virtues of thinking out of the box when times are tough, and here is a guy who did just that. Instead of panhandling he came up with an audacious plan, implemented it, and made a successful go of it (for a limited time).
I'm not about to condone breaking and entering, or flouting the law, but there's a lesson to be learned here. In this tough economic times, we keep talking about how we need to approach things differently and come up with new paradigms for business.
Travis Kevie did exactly that. He saw opportunity and took advantage, setting up the adult version of a childhood lemonade stand.
What rules (rules, not laws) could you break that would expand your market? If failing did not matter to you, could you be bold enough to undertake something truly transformational?