Lessons Learned In Business

Learn From My Mistakes and Profit

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Hey how’s it going?  I’m Chris Potter, and I’m the founder of Lessons Learned in Business.

If you want to learn from mistakes where others have been there, and done that, you’re in the right place.

If you are involved with online selling, marketing, customer service, warehousing, management, or really any sort of business – This blog will help you!

I share intimate details about lessons I’ve learned during my 20 years in business, to help grow your business skills.

Are you still here? Great.  Continue on, young grasshopper.

Why You Should Learn From Me

During my career as an employee and entrepreneur, I’ve achieved the following:

  • Built a company from scratch that at one point had 22 employees.
  • Built a company that was ranked 755 in the 2013 Inc 5000 list for the fastest growing companies in the US.
  • Won multiple achievement awards, such as “Top Gun” and “Specialty Coach” in management and customer service while working for a Fortune 500 company.
  • Organized and designed a 20,000 sq ft warehouse for optimal productivity.
  • Created and managed a company that generated over $11 million in retail sales during its existence.
  • Rebuilt a new company from scratch to $500k in retail sales within the six months.
  • New company surpassed $2.4 million in retail sales in its first full calendar year.

About Chris Potter

Chris Potter

My name is Chris Potter, I recently moved to the Charlotte, North Carolina area, and I’m a self-proclaimed “business-aholic”.  I’m a serial entrepreneur that loves to start businesses, and figure out what works.

My Story

I start my entrepreneurial story back in the late 1980’s.  I thought it would be a great idea to put together a newspaper at the ripe age of 9.  I would go around and find out what was happening in the family and “report” on it.  Such pressing details as the newest car purchased, and the score of the never-ending pool match between my parents were par for the course.  Fittingly, I called it the “Potter’s Press”.  I went on to sell the newspaper at family functions.  I didn’t exactly make a mint, since newspapers only cost 25 cents back then, but it showed me I could create something and sell it.

When I was in High School, I started working at the electronic retailer Best Buy as a cashier.  During my 11 1/2 year stay at Best Buy, I ran the gamut of positions from customer service, to computer repair to Management.  I won several awards such as “Top Gun” and “Specialty Coach” while building my career.  I learned many lessons such as hiring, managing people, sales, merchandising, time management – all things  that helped me in the future building my own businesses.  In addition, many people I trained went on to have successful management careers.

Early Entrepreneur Days

While working at Best Buy, I always knew I wanted to do something on my own.  I just didn’t know what.  Before the real estate bubble burst in the mid 2000’s, I started learning about real estate.  Yep, I bought the classic Carleton Sheets training course to kick start my creative real estate career.  After learning nearly everything I needed to know about the real estate business, I bought a few properties.  I learned many hard lessons I still pay for today.

I also tried a mail order business before “e-commerce” was a thing.  Yep, that didn’t work.

In 2005, I was watching a show on CNBC about some guy that was selling a ton of stuff on eBay out of his barn.  I thought “if that guy can do it…I sure as heck can!”  And so, my e-commerce company was born.

Quick Growth, Quick Fall

I started my e-commerce company, which was later known as Click Ship Commerce.  I took it from a part time business in my basement, to a full fledged operation that made it to the Inc 5000 list in 2013.  At its high point, we did $3.4 million in sales and had 22 employees.  We sold on 3rd party marketplaces such as Amazon.com, eBay.com, and Buy.com (now Rakuten.com).  I faced many challenges during the growth process such as hiring the right people, training employees, building out the sales process, creating and designing the layout of a high productivity 20,000 sq ft warehouse, testing out many different software solutions, and building out systems and structures.

Ultimately, Click Ship Commerce had a flawed business model.  It took 8 years to go from $0 in revenue to $3.4 million in revenue.  But, it only took 1 additional year to collapse.  The writing was on the wall in October 2013.  Click Ship Commerce was going to collapse, as there was not going to be enough working capital to continue operations.  I had to make the decision to start laying off employees, and close down the business.

Business and Life Rebuilt

In August of 2014, I helped my wife start a new Amazon business, mainly focusing on retail arbitrage and dropshipping.  With only $10,000 of seed money (a 0% interest balance transfer) we grew to $500k in sales within the first six months.  In June of 2015, we launched a private label product, which has now become our most profitable product.  In 2015, our new business grew to over $2.4 million in sales based on a steady mix of help from multiple employees and contractors.  Currently we have a mix of retail arbitrage, online arbitrage, wholesale and private label as part of our sourcing mix.

Why Did I Start This Blog?

I feel I have a unique perspective on business that can help other people.  Sure, running businesses is great, but I love helping others.  Nothing brings me greater joy than seeing someone else profit from the advice I’ve given them.

I decided it was time to share my stories with the world.  There are many lessons learned during my time, and I’ll share them all with you here.  You’ll find a lot of information that will immediately help you with your business.

Here’s the deal:

I believe smart business people must learn lessons from other peoples mistakes.  I’m here to do that for you.

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