The Biggest Hurdle


Yesterday I was enjoying the summer weather, laying in the sun at a local park. Dogs filled their designated play area, a pickup game of frisbee golf had formed near me, and I was just falling asleep when I received a call from a Kentucky area code.

I was pleased to learn upon answering the call that it was an enthusiastic young gentleman interested in opening a float center. I had heard there was a gentleman interested in opening a float center in Kentucky and I couldn’t wait to hear his accent. The good news was he did not disappoint. The great news was that we talked for about an hour and had a great conversation ranging from his burning desire to open a float center, to paleo diets. It was a real pleasure and I can’t wait to talk to him again.

Doubt kills more dreams than failure ever will.

Based on our discussion he said, “so… money is the biggest hurdle to opening my business”. It was a statement, not a question, and it was certainly not the message I had intended to give. Our conversation had naturally led to fundraising and all the possibilities and hurdles associated with it. First you’ve got family, then friends, then friends of friends. There are angel investors, business scholarships and bank loans. More recently there is the option of crowdsourcing your money (without needing to pay it back) through sites such as Kickstarter. There are even business association meetings that get together specifically to educate entrepreneurs on how to fundraise. Despite all of this, he felt that fundraising was the biggest hurdle to opening his float center.

He felt that he could get a portion of the necessary funds from immediate and extended family, but was concerned that the idea of opening a float center in Kentucky would be considered too crazy; that there would be difficulty acquiring the rest of the funds to open his center. While things may look difficult, there is hope. Starting a small business is a journey, and money can sometimes appear to be an incredibly steep hill along that path, but it doesn’t have to be.

The key component that I believe my new friend was missing is that most people are never going to get to the point of fundraising. The biggest hurdle is in fact motivation; finding that drive and focus to develop a solid business plan that will bring you to the eventual point of fundraising. Potential entrepreneurs see fundraising in their future and lose motivation; becoming paralyzed when there are earlier steps to be taken that are of more immediate value. The steps required to build a business plan will free you up to gain forward momentum, while you work towards making your dream business a reality.

If you have the inspiration and motivation to complete your business plan, you will have created something that will inspire people. Taking a look at your finished business plan will inspire confidence in yourself and will also help build potential investors’ confidence in you. Because you already know your business inside and out, you will already be an expert in the field. Your knowledge, coupled with your excitement, will breathe energy into any conversation you have about your future business. In fact, you will be a different person than you were before you started working on your business plan.

The journey towards starting your business will look much different once you have a business plan in hand. Better yet, you will know that it can be an enjoyable part of your journey, not something to be feared.

Once Sandra and I had a business plan to show people, potential investors began to pop up that we had no idea existed. We had an infectious energy that created a buzz within our small social network, and discovered that this exciting endeavor was something that others wanted to be a part of. This was due to the fact that we had a single focus for about six months that resulted in researching the float industry; molding that information into the shape of how we wanted our center to be; and finally filtering it into our business plan.

In summary, the biggest hurdle is in your mind. To see projects and goals as insurmountable is human, but your passion coupled with the ability to break down a project into smaller pieces (in this case, the pieces that make up your business plan) will eventually bring you confidently to a goal that before seemed impossible.

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9 responses to “The Biggest Hurdle”

  1. Gini Stanwell-Smith Avatar

    Hi Dylan!
    Your blog is a real inspiration! Many thanks!
    Keep it up! 😉

  2. Jan Avatar

    Great story Dylan!

    1. Dylan Schmidt Avatar

      Thanks so much, Jan!!

  3. colin roald Avatar

    Being in the middle of this process myself, I keep trying to find encouragement where I can. Thanks for this. But I’d love to know more about exactly how you went about raising money from friends and family — what did you ask for? Loans or investment? Terms?

    1. Dylan Schmidt Avatar
      Dylan Schmidt

      Hi Colin. From the reading I have done, most small business funds come from personal savings, next family, then friends, finally outside sources. We definitely started with our own personal financial resources as well as family. We did find that as word got out about our project, more and more outside sources wanted to contribute. We decided to start with less money but more ownership of our business.

      I’m reluctant to tell the exact details of our deal, but part ownership was purchased by investors and another part of our initial money was raised as a loan to be repaid with interest.

      There are an infinite number of ways to structure how you want to raise money from investors. As long as both sides are happy (and signatures are on paper) it’s all good!

  4. Chad Avalos Avatar
    Chad Avalos

    I’m hoping you can help point me in the right direction. My wife and I are very serious about starting a float spa in Maryland. The closest float spa is an hour away from our town and no one here is really familiar with it. I’m confident I can build the business, but it will probably be a slow start with trying to educate the consumer and build a customer base. For this reason we were thinking it would be most feasible to start a float spa in a house, one where we could conveniently live in a separate part completely away from the spa. This would save us on rent while we build our customer base. Of course a big expense would be buildout. I’m wondering what information you can provide on things to consider for buildout. My biggest concern is the showers. Is there an easy way to add showers into rooms of a house that obviously do not have plumbing? Do we have to reinforce the floor in order to support the weight of the float tanks? Lastly, is it costly to sound proof the rooms?

    Once we have a customer base built, we figure we could move the spa into more of a business district or convert the whole house into a spa and we move out. The good thing is we don’t have a house yet, so we have the advantage of looking for one that would work well for our purpose. I look forward to hearing from you and I greatly appreciate your time.

    1. Jack Avatar


      How did the business turn out for you?

  5. ryan Avatar

    love the float tanks. Had my first dip last week and the mental clarity I got was amazing. Now I am wondering if I should open a business in my area since there does not seem to be much competition. Any advice? Cheers!

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