Stuart Durland December 1, 2009 No Comments

What is Business Idol, you ask. Well, last week, the Orange County Chamber of Commerce held their 17th annual Business Expo, and at the center of it all was the 3rd installment of the enormously popular Business Idol contest…..

Business Idol is a competition for small businesses who are members of the Orange County Chamber of Commerce. They compete for a $12,000 “marketing makeover”, which in essence is a free package of PR, radio ads, brochures and sales assistance”“all given to the winner who can convince a panel of judges that they are the most deserving of this valuable largess.

As always, over a dozen local small businesses competed by performing their story with wit, humor, creativity and some compelling stories. This year’s winner was A Sparkling View and the star was owner Pete Artusa. Maybe that name is familiar. His lovely wife, Tammy is part of our team here at Seely & Durland.

After all the contestants had performed and each had made their case, there was a three way tie. The judges had been equally impressed by the performances and the story of these three businesses and saw them each deserving of the $12,000 marketing windfall. What would break the tie? It would be a final question that allowed the judges to get to the heart of each of these small business owners. The question was: Give us an example that demonstrates that you are willing to do whatever it takes to be successful.

Each answer was intriguing, but it was Pete Artusa’s that most resonated with the judges and swung their votes squarely to him. Pete’s answer went something like this: Upon retiring as a 20 year police officer, he cashed in everything”“his savings, pension and spare cash”“to purchase the truck that would in essence serve as his business. This mobile business vehicle is the center of A Sparkling View, much the same as a landscaper’s trailer containing all the tools and equipment in order to provide their service.

He then proceeded to drive that truck everywhere that he saw even a chance of an opportunity. He’d park and talk to a Dunkin Donuts owner, a retirement home administrator, an office building manager, an apartment complex manager, a home owner”“all about cleaning their windows and their shades. And when they said no, he’d come back two weeks later. And for those who could still resist Pete’s infectious enthusiasm and charm, he returned two weeks later.

In just 9 months, Pete has carved out over 200 customers in this highly competitive business. And so what is the point of all this that you can come away with? It’s a question that each of us needs to ask ourselves: What are we doing each and every day that is above and beyond to build our business. It’s a question that needs to be asked constantly. It’s a question that needs to be answered honestly. It’s a question that just needs to be answered. What’s your answer?

Thanks Pete for reminding each of us the importance of that answer.