“Small Business Saturday”, November 27, 2021
At 64, I’m At It Again
Today, I officially launched my newest company, Mystery on Main Street. Well, actually launched it on Indiegogo. Why is this important? There are three reasons.
I suppose the first and most obvious, I’m not afraid to post my age in the header of this story. That I’m launching it at this age doesn’t mean anything either. The founders of McDonald’s, Coca Cola, and Kentucky Fried Chicken famously started their companies when they were over 50. For some reason, it seems any indication of one’s advanced learned experience in life and business implies mental deficiency. I’m here to tell you if you subscribe to this theory, you are woefully mistaken. True, as one ages, health begins to deteriorate and one can become slower. I haven’t reached that stage and there doesn’t seem to be any indication I will anytime soon. To my benefit, this is not my first and actually, it’s on a string of many I’ve founded, co-founded or advised throughout my career. That Indiegogo link goes into detail my background.
The second reason I’m starting and promoting my company on what is probably the worst day to do so since the target audience is out shopping or selling or both, is because today is Small Business Saturday. For the uninitiated, it’s the “brick and mortar’s” answer to Cyber Monday, which evolved after the National Retail Federation’s (NRF) Senior Vice President of Research and Strategic Initiatives, Ellen Davis, watching online sales spike the Monday after Thanksgiving for some years, came up with the term in 2005, according to Reader’s Digest. Yes, I know, timing is important. But starting a company requires a certain amount of fearlessness, a sizable capacity of creativity, a desire to constantly learn, a great deal of hard work, and of course, some luck. Yes, there is more to it than just this but when you look at it, these are really the key elements.
The third and most important is the reason for the start-up. Small business merchants and eateries, aka, the “mom & pops” are having a difficult time staying in business. They’ve been seeing their sales increasingly slip to Amazon, eBay, and every other e-commerce site with every new year. They’ve seen neighboring stores “Going Out Of Business” signs and mass retailers heading to bankruptcy, and wondering if they are next. Mystery on Main Street hopes to change this downward spiral by making going out shopping and eating, fun, exciting, and rewarding in the process.
In a nutshell, Mystery on Main Street is a interactive “whodunit” game for mobile phones. The application takes the player to local merchants and eateries to discover their offering. Once inside the location, the application can provide a clue to solve a mystery and a chance to win cash, plus other rewards. Participating locations are viewable in the app’s map with many offering prizes, coupons and discounts. The first player to guess the correct combination of clues, solves the mystery and receives the cash incentive. Think of this as Groupon meets scavenger hunt meets Pokémon Go.
Start-ups are more than just the VC funded, attention grabbing enterprise created by college age students that get all the headlines. Start-ups begin their journey every day. We are founded by a diversity of people from all backgrounds with new or different ideas. Some see the world as their oyster, where they will extract great profit. But it’s the local start-ups and businesses that are the backbone of an economy and society as a whole. They comprise everything from strip mall bakeries selling fresh apple pie, to jewelers with zinc plated watch displays in the window, to like this one, a start-up designed with a hope to ensure these small businesses continue to stay in business, for many generations to come.