Local entrepreneur, Billy Canu, has been supporting the Food Bank for many years through his local businesses. Canu has helped the Food Bank with SEO support through his company, BrightHaus, since 2009 – helping the Food Bank to significantly increase our online donations and help the Food Bank appear on search engines for clients seeking food assistance.
Canu and his team have been volunteering at the Food Bank for several years, multiple times a year. His staff of 20 plus employees visit the Food Bank, and they help inspect, sort and package food drive donations. Over the years, Canu’s team has helped the Food Bank sort and distribute thousands of pounds of food.
Canu has expanded his ranges of businesses to include a new business that he launched last month called Plumber Tom of San Diego.
Asked about what makes a successful start-up business, Canu provides his advice to other aspiring entrepreneurs, and it’s pretty impressive. ‘I do what a lot of other people can’t. I make you busy,’ said Canu.
Speaking about his salon business, Fox & Jane, Canu said, “I’m constantly working on branding, constantly working on image and I’m making data decisions every 5 minutes. Nothing rests that much. Of course without our stylists and my business partner it would be nothing.”
“It takes money to make money,” explains Canu. “You can’t compete in crazy industries unless you have cash upfront. And whether you have the cash or not, as the business owner you should be involved every step of the way.”
Canu gives 5 tips for those interested in embarking on a new venture.
1. It takes money to make money.
“The above is an obvious one, your business will fail without cash to start it. But a lot of people are in the predicament where they have an idea, but no cash to make it even out of the gate. Depending on the industry you’re wanting to work in, you’ll need at least $10,000 – $20,000 to feasibly get it off the ground and start advertising. Find something you can do and save the money. If that means shoveling snow, then shovel snow.”
2. Find a partner.
“My main superpower is coming up with an idea and finding someone to execute it with me. I’m not a plumber, I have no idea how to go into a house and fix a toilet, but I know that it’s a killer industry, and if I find the right people to work with me, I can make it as busy as the company that’s been around for a decade. I’ll find the right partner, offer them 50% of the company to do the manual work, while I do everything else. And don’t be cheap with your partner. Just because it’s your idea doesn’t mean you should keep 80% of a company.”
3. Cut the Ego
“You’re not a ‘visionary’, and until you make it, you’re not an entrepreneur either. As above, so below – and you’re only as good as your last sale. So cut out any ego. Don’t argue with your partner over trivialities. Most businesses fail because they have an ideology of how things should be done, which is often wrong. This goes for the brand image too. I do my research. Take a look at most plumbing sites. What do you see? Sites that look like they were built in the 1990s. Plumber Tom is different, I used a basic WordPress site to build it and I cut to the chase.”
“One guy said to me that he wouldn’t dream of taking the sales calls. He’d hire someone to do it! I bill over $10 million each year through all of my businesses, but until the recipe is perfected, I’m the chef, the baker, the buyer of the ingredients, everything. I talk to the customers and take the calls.”
4. Utilize the latest Tech to help you
“I use tech to help me also. House Call Pro is a system that is like Uber. I can’t do it all alone, when we book a job for one of our plumbers, the customer’s details are entered into it, and I don’t have to worry about a thing. All of the scheduling is done. Stuff like this is just one small item that takes care of the little things.”
5. Reinvest your profit
“When you make money in the beginning, you’ll need to take some to live, but make a deal to invest back into advertising. All of your cash needs to go into advertising. If it’s you and a partner, then take a 3rd each. 30% toward advertising, 30% toward you, and 30% toward your partner. If it’s just you, then invest the majority of your budget back into ads and take what you need to live.”
The Food Bank thanks Canu and the volunteers from his businesses for supporting our mission to end hunger in San Diego County.