After a freak incident required months in the hospital, bills were piling up as high as Mount Everest for Eduardo Garcia and his co-founder, Jennifer Jane. The goal of their startup, Montana Mex, was to bring clean label Mexican food to the masses with a kick of spice (and humor, with marketing slogans on their seasoning line such as "Take My Top Off and Pinch Me"). Like any entrepreneurs, Garcia and Jane were determined not to let their troubles stop them from pursing their dream.
One solution for paying the medical bills, along with mounting startup costs, as many founders know oh so well, was refinancing the house. The resourceful duo dialed up the mortgage company only to learn their house did not qualify because the floors were not finished. The disgusting, 25-year-old carpet they had ripped up when they first moved in now looked like a luxury--with the sprawling space they had in the middle of the magical mountains in Montana, the cheapest flooring option was $5,000.
Jane decided it was time to be even more resourceful. Years before, Garcia found a box of vintage Playboy magazines in an abandoned cabin. Little did he know they were truly worth their weight in gold. Jane cleverly ripped out pages, and some from a few other magazines, tiled them across the entire floor, glued them in place, and coated them with polyurethane to fulfill the requirements of a finished floor--all for a total of $150.
The floor turned out better than they could have imagined. Artsy. Provocative. Durable. It's been down five years and still looks fantastic! It's a conversation catalyst to see what page people pick as their favorite. You can even slide across it like Tom Cruise in Risky Business, making it the best floor for spontaneous dance parties. In fact, for anyone building out a space this is a brilliantly simple and inexpensive idea. Jane envisions yoga studios with pictures of poses in the floor or an urban office with inspirational quotes underfoot at all times.
The mortgage man could not deny the claim or the creativity. Jane and Garcia got the refinancing to help with the bills and have taken their company to new heights. Without their ingenuity, the two would have lost their home, company, and dreams.
Now, it's the requests for Montana Mex on HSN and in grocery stores across America that are piling high instead of those bills just a few years ago.
What are you facing in your business that seems as challenging as climbing Mount Everest? As unfathomable as it may seem, I guarantee there is a solution--and likely multiple ones--to help you get to the top. Here are some ideas for surmounting any startup obstacle.
1. Align with your passion. Life will always bring you learning opportunities. When you are aligned with your heart, life will also bring the answers. If you are not following your passion, you will be met with struggles. Be honest with yourself.
2. Trust yourself. Your thoughts create your reality. If you believe in yourself and what you are doing, a solution will appear. As Rumi said, "Live life as if everything is rigged in your favor."
3. Identify what the problem truly is. Often people look at the symptom rather than the root of the issue. It can make a problem seem unsolvable. Keep asking why until you find what you are truly trying to solve.
4. Be creative. Brainstorm the 10 most ridiculous ideas your team and you can come up with to solve the problem. Ask a non-business-savvy friend for ideas. Once you allow yourself the space for creativity, you'll see solutions appear.
5. Be open to the possibilities. People often get stuck in a rut within the confines of their own limiting beliefs. By opening yourself up to all possibilities, you'll be surprised at the solutions that come your way.
6. And, most important, keep all your issues of Playboy. You never know when they might save your business.