The Mad Hatter Business Plan

The other night we enjoyed The Late Show, the 1977 movie starring Lily Tomlin, Art Carney and Bill Macy.

Bill Macy plays Charles Hatter, a down-on-his-luck entrepreneur.  We first meet him leaving his office, and catch the following glorious screen shot:

Five businesses all named after himself, all with the same address but various specialties?  I love it.  Hey, if you have a skill, why not make a business out of it on the off chance you succeed?

He reminds me of me. Had Charles Hatter hired me as a marketing consultant, though, I would have told him that if he wanted to list all his various enterprises in the lobby directory, he should definitely not name them all after himself.  Each business should have its own unique vibrant identity so that they seemingly stand on their own.  Naming them all after himself sends an almost desperate message–hire me to do anything!  I can do anything!

Just like me.  Lushes in Love is now my third official business venture.  That’s not counting my often-neglected Tupperware sales business or the Super Sponges I love to peddle. Someday I will have a sign in a lobby that will read all the various business names I’m running, and a staff to support them.

In the mean time, why wouldn’t I start additional businesses?  In this digital age, the barrier to entry for a new business is low.

Sure, you gotta get a business license and register the fictitious business name.  But if you drag your heels on that one it’s only the government or your accountant who will call you on it.  Patrons for the most part don’t pay any attention to that.

All you need is a polished website and some good content.  And boom, you’re in business.  Or five businesses.  And apparently, back in 1977, the barrier for entry was also low.  Just put a name on a sign in a lobby and boom, you’re in.

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