Use Your Resources

Use Your Resources

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Use Your Resources

Forrest Tuff
Devin Miller
The Inventive Journey Podcast for Entrepreneurs

Use Your Resources

Go work with either Score or the SBA- The small business administration and let them guide you. A great resource that will save you from making tons of mistakes that I had to make starting out thinking you know everything. Go ahead and get some people to help you know it. They are here to assist you. I would say to go and use your resources.


The Inventive Journey

Starting and growing a business is a journey. On The Inventive Journey, your host, Devin Miller walks with startups along their different journeys startups take to success (or failure). You also get to hear from featured guests, such as venture firms and angel investors, that provide insight on the paths to a successful inventive journey.

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go work with either score or the sba the small business administration let them guide you great resource that'll save you from making tons of mistakes that i had to make starting out you know thinking you know everything just go ahead and get some people that help you know it they're here and they're here to assist you i would say go use those resources [Music] 

hey everyone this is devin miller here with another episode of the inventive journey I'm your host devin miller the serial entrepreneur that's grown several businesses into our seven and eight figure uh businesses several startups in the seven and eight figure businesses as well 

as the ceo and founder of miller ip law where he helps startups and small businesses with their patents trademarks and other business matters and if you ever need help feel free to reach out to us just go to and grab some time to chat with us now

 today we have another great guest on the podcast forest tough and i think you're actually the third person that's um been in the um sports arena that we've had on the podcast so you're in good company i think we had a player for you view then we had an nfl player and so now we have forrest so it's always fun to always an area of interest that i find fun to talk about but it's a quick introduction so forrest lettered in high school i think in three different sports i think it was track football and i can't remember the third one basketball and then he was always growing up he's kind of the geeky kid a self-described geeky kid collected cards played video games got a scholarship in basketball um an nba was originally always his dream but got an injury and ended his career and then had to kind of make a pivot worked for a foot locker and sales for a period of time did some internships in the clinic um decided to start his own business and then i'll let him fill in the rest and bring us up to speed on that but with that much is an introduction welcome on the podcast forest

hey glad to be here thanks for having me so i gave kind of the 30-second brief overview of what is a much longer journey 

so maybe take us back in time to high school lettering in the three different sports and then kind of pick up your journey from there 

yeah i mean back in high school you know everyone wanted to be popular to some degree right and so for me i was one of these kids as you mentioned i had some geeky thoughts i love chess i love you know collecting action figures coins and collecting comic books i love sci-fi movies but you know what that wasn't the most popular thing and i was in course so i decided to go into sports and i ended up doing pretty well so much so that i did really well in high school i let it in three sports as you mentioned but i end up getting a scholarship to play basketball and ultimately i played division one so there i had you know i had dreams to play professionally and i said you know what i could probably make it pro but due to an injury those things didn't happen so now it was back to the drawing board and it's where i found out these natural skills and things that i like actually started to come into play you know i had a couple of jobs in sales as you said in foot locker i worked for a couple of corporations and i managed some retail stores like radio shack and a wilson's leather but ultimately i decided you know i wanted to go in the business and that was like a to fill in those blanks of how that initial journey happened and how i got into now the media production business 

but let me before you dive into that let me just jump or jump back just a little bit so dream was for a while you know you must have been good at sports got a scholarship lettered in several ones and then you got the injury how did you make that you know mindset or shift and you know shift so to speak of 

okay my dream was originally to go you know play in the nba wanted to be in you know career in sports couldn't do that anymore how did you decide how what to do instead of that or how to re readjust your you know your your vision or your your goals you know it was a one step and one one step at a time and to be honest with you that was probably the most difficult time of my life because i didn't have a plan b you know a lot of people you know they always tell you in school you know it's like hey you've got to have an academic or you know some profession you want to go into and for me i thought i wanted to be a physical therapist you know and at my school they didn't have a physical therapy program but they had a sports management program so i would have been more like an athletic trainer and so i went into that as kind of a you know a second thing but to be honest with you i wanted to be in the nba you know i think about a doctor who's actually worked all his life to become a doctor like they don't have a plan b to become a shoe salesman so that's how it is for athletes in their mind you really don't have that plan b so for me it was a struggle you know i did an internship at health south orthopedic clinic and it was during the 96 olympics that were in atlanta and that's when i truly realized that's not what i wanted to do you know i enjoyed helping people but i said you know i just don't want to be in this sports arena because i'm not going to fulfill the dream that i wanted you know i didn't it was for me it was nba or blessed you know didn't want to be involved in sports 

yeah and i think you mentioned maybe i'm reading putting words in your mouth but i think you mentioned you know one it would be hard to in my mind you almost take the doctor or sports or whatever to see other people living out your dream and helping them on a daily basis right in the sense that you're in clinic and you're like that was my dream and that's what i wanted to do and now i don't get to do it i just get to watch everybody else do what i want to do so 

i can certainly get you know hey i want to do something that i can find gratifying it's not you know kind of looking forward and doing something else and so you know kind of making that pivot or shift i have to do the clinic and say hey this is not for me my dream was to be the player not to just work with you know work with them to help help them in the clinic type of a thing 

so you kind of have that realization hey clinic's not for me so then how did you pivot or transition into what you got you know where you're at today with doing your business 

so i got in sales and you know it was a thing that i didn't really know that i wanted to be in sales but i realized sales is really the nature of most businesses to a degree you have to be able to help people understand the value that you provide them so for me during that time that i was working in sales and in management i actually was learning a skill that would later be very beneficial to what i was doing now one thing about it in high school i always carry the camcorder high school and college i used to record everything because my mom used to do it so i just picked that up and so that later would turn into a job you know someone asked me hey would you do this birthday party for x amount of dollars how much would you charge and that's when that light bill went off ding ding ding right this could be a business and that's how i got into the media profession simply from just the passion of doing it so now you get into the 

so first of all you get into sales and i think you know that sounds like hey and i i'm in agreement i think every business has an aspect of sales if you don't know how to sell your product you know or someone else's product you're never going to succeed the business can't if it never gets customers and never sells what they're doing whether it's service product or anything it's not going to last very long but then you said okay we're going to get into video and i think when we even talked before was kind of hey we'll do this kind of as fun videos some birthdays started a bit of a business and it said okay this is enjoyable it's fun now let's build a full business around it kind of out of the idea of kind of storytelling and doing the music videos and doing them more of a production sent so as you now say okay this is where i'm going to head or set up the business this is where i'm heading you know was that a smooth transition just had clients coming out of the woodwork to do it was it a slow build and trying to figure out how to get clients or you know knowing sales how did you start to build a business that you can say because you know there's a lot of people with the camera a lot of people that say that they're in you know video production and many of them don't do a very good job but how did you differentiate yourself or build that business you know starting out you don't really know you just know that okay i can do this and i can do it well and that 

that same mindset that i had as an athlete i think that kind of you know was the driving force behind what i did i always wanted to excel and be the best and so one way that i decided you know this is how i could be the best is i need to win awards you know that's what tells people you're actually good because other people recognize it so i started to find out about different awards in the production industry in that world that's respected and so we began to you know tailor our work to make sure that we were meeting the qualifications the needs we're being creative you know we're listening to the clients but also i'm looking at other work going wow look at what they're doing you know look how they're growing and so that's when the nature of my business started to change at first you know i'm doing a lot of weddings we're doing a lot of uh personal events for people music videos sporting events and then it evolved into working with corporations and government agencies and non-profits so it was a slow move you know it was four five six years of really doing something i think you know pretty successful but then it was like okay you know i see a cap and i want to grow so now i'm gonna have to diversify what we're doing in this industry so that was kind of how we now evolved into getting bigger projects and and bigger clientele 

hmm so snowing i think that makes sense and it's kind of hey let's let's start in you know in a little bit of the sports i just area i know and then let's branch out from there go governmental see what other clients kind of brought in the scope of people that you can bring on in clients and tell their story and i think one of the other things we meant you mentioned as we were doing that before the podcast as well as you've also yourself branched out a bit and also doing a bit of professional speaking and coaching and other things it kind of it almost seems like you know it's a broadening of telling other people's stories and now telling your own story but how has that gone as you've also kind of diversified or broadened into that as well 

well as a company grew and we began to take on more clientele it opened up the doors for me to now do some i call it leadership development you know i get to go out and learn how to become better at what i do you know because when you're in that island you're doing the work doing the work and sometimes you're not growing you're just actually really good but the world is constantly evolving media technologies are constantly evolving and people want to now understand the process or the big idea you know and i didn't know how to how to explain that so that's why i started to go out and learn how to do more in public speaking so i joined toastmasters and this was an organization that helped me to learn how to gather my thoughts together and do presentations in various formats and you know at this time now i've branched off into making films and movies and documentaries and you know working with different clientele we're having to go back and forth and what i found out in public speaking is that there's no cookie cutter talk you know there's a different talk that's relevant for each of these different industries so now i've branched out into not only being a speaker learning how to talk about my company in the media world but now i'm doing training on entrepreneurship and small businesses and talking about you know how to get grants and money for producing films so as i started to expand everything is really in my world it's been an evolution of hard knocks and lessons learned you know and so with those i would always say let me go find out the training to help me become better as this continues to evolve because i think that's the nature of growth has how it's been for me anyway is that every time i stumble upon something else i realize okay i need to get training in that and so that led me to becoming a business mentor with the organization called score are you familiar with them 

i am not so tell me a little about them 

yeah score is a resource partner through the small business administration and so basically what we provide is pro bono mentoring services for aspiring entrepreneurs and other you know businesses that need to that are looking to sustain their business or just to grow so with that i was vetted for 90 days you know at this time i've been an entrepreneur for about 10 years and you know for me i feel like i'm always trying to grow because there's these points where i feel stagnant like okay i don't know i need to know more and so here i'm working with a lot of successful entrepreneurs and ceos that are retired and i'm able to get all this information from them picking their brains but i'm also helping small businesses you know that are starting up and that kept me sharp it helped me learn more it helped me to avoid certain mistakes that i probably would have made had i not had that advice so for me going out and helping others in that capacity actually was very beneficial to me as a business owner and it's helped me grow different aspects of my my business 

no and i think that makes perfect sense so now as you so now that kind of brings us up to where you're at today and now looking kind of forward the next six to 12 months you know kind of where do you see things going how are you going to grow the business are you going to pivot where are they where are you what is that have in store for you 

so we're currently looking to get on something called a gsa schedule and that's working with the government where you get larger contracts you know they have a larger dollar amount attached to them so we're actively pursuing those now we've been working with government agencies state and local and federal for now for about six years so we're looking to expand on that so we're working with the sba and different organizations to get some of the uh accreditations we need to become you know like a minority owned business or 8a certified these are certifications to work with the government uh with corporations that has done well through word of mouth you know a lot of companies they pass you along so that has been great for us and now we're really going to start marketing our services to other you know entities but so far word of mouth has really done well for us in the corporate area and for me as a public speaker i've now i'm a member of the national speakers association so i do professional speaking i do a lot of training and mentoring and i recently became a certified master uh business and life coach because like i say it's always important for me as i start to broaden and i realize that i'm now branching out into different areas is you know great to get the training to know how to specifically help people and know how to do it in a manner that's going to be beneficial and you're not just blowing smoke you know blowing gas so that's kind of where i am right now and on the last thing 

i think this would be relevant for you in the film industry 

i actually recently achieved uh my trademark the name filmpreneur so i just received that december and that was a process took about a year and a half but that's my stake in the film industry and it's basically a person that's creative and a businessman you know i love the creative side but i love to take care of the business also 

i love it i think that's awesome so that's that's cool so now as we start to wrap towards the end of the podcast i always have two questions i ask at the end of the podcast so we'll jump to those now first question i always ask is so along your journey what was the worst business decision you ever made and what did you learn from it 

oh we had a situation where i had a client we did a we had a government contract and we were doing a conference and in this conference this is the one time we didn't do we didn't cross the t's and dot the eyes and during that conference the audio turned out horrible for uh one of the keynote speakers the main speaker i mean it was a travesty it was the worst thing that could have happened in that particular instance fortunately we had a great history with them but in that situation we had to give them total refund of everything you know we we just flat out apologize wrote an apology letter we did the entire holding on and we just accepted the whole responsibility and that was a big hit for me because i'll be honest with you the money that came with that project i really needed it the company needed it but that was one of the things that we lost we didn't really double check and you know we we paid the cost for it so some positive things came out but i could say that was one of the worst situations that i've had to face as a business owner and it was on me and just not you know taking care of the business on that one but i think that one's 

those are always hard ones because on the one hand you want to keep it made the client happy keep them loyal on the other hand you say no but i need the buddy it hits a pocketbook and like do i really need to give the money back or fix this okay you know and so i think that but i think that you know if you're looking long-term if you're building a business and wanting to be successful you don't you know you can't take the short-term wins or keep trying to keep the money in your pocket but you've got to make build a brand build a reputation even as much as it hurts and i've been there and it doesn't make it sting any less 

it does not i mean it was terrible but you know that's the lessons you learn from because really that's when you as a business per person you really learn what you're about that's when you really know when you you know you got your vision your mission and all this great write-up but that's when you really find out what am i what is my real moral stance on doing business you know and how am i going to handle it so it was a test but i think we came out doing pretty good but it was a hard one 

i would agree those are always the best lessons learned and the hardest so that's right now as we so now as we jump to the second question which is if you're talking to someone that's just uh getting into a startup or small business what would be the one piece of advice you'd give them 

go work with either score or the sba the small business administration let them guide you great resource that'll save you from making tons of mistakes that i had to make starting out you know thinking you know everything just go ahead and get some people that help you know it they're here and they're here to assist you i would say go use those resources 

no i think that's a great and i think there's one that is you know people often overlook they think oh i've got to do it on my own or oh these are for other people and yet they have a lot of great resources they can you know at least know what the sba and it sounds like scores that same way has a lot of things hey if you need to know how to get your business going how to start to tackle marketing yourselves or how to get a small business loan or how to do you know any number of things they're a great resource so i definitely think they're it's a great tip yeah excellent well as we wrap up you know we have now we do have just for everybody's listing the bonus question that we'll ask uh forrest number one or intellectual property question we'll hit uh that in a minute um but if you'd like to keep listening we'll hit that after the normal episode but as we wrap up before we get to there if people want to reach out to you for us they want to find out anymore or find out more about you they want to be an investor they want to be a client they want to be a employee they want to be your next best friend any or all of the above what's the best way to connect update and find out more 

go to my website it's and i'll spell that it's f o double r e s double t u double f dot com all right simple as that and i definitely encourage everybody to check for us website find out more about them reach out and make or make some connections 

well thank you for coming on now stay on because we are doing the bonus question but thank you for coming on now for all of you that are listeners if you have your own journey to tell feel free to go to apply to be on the podcast we love to tell your journey um if you are listening as well make sure to click subscribe so you know when all our awesome episodes come out and leave us a review so other people can find us as well last but not least if you ever need help with patents and trademarks just go to grab some time with us to chat so now as we wrap up we wrapped up the normal we're on to the bonus question so now as we shift gears just slightly and i now i have to talk or i have to answer questions 

and i don't get to ask him all the time what's your number one uh intellectual property question i can answer for you for us all right so devin if i have a specialty food that i'm trying to package and market and put out what is the best way to go about doing that so for instance let's say if it's a pie or a macaroni and cheese what would you suggest are the steps that i would need to take to make sure that i have some ownership of my product 

yeah there's there's kind of two different two different ways that you can tackle that and both of them i think have their marriage so i'll walk you through one is what's called a trade seeker where basically you have controls in place you don't tell people what the thing you know what the formulation is you know no let them know how it is you know you don't let them know how you make it or what the process is and you know if you're to look at coke and pepsi they both are under trade secrets they basically under lock and key nobody supposedly at least nobody knows other than you know one individual the full the full recipe and they only they split it out so only some people know about some parts of the process and so if you're looking and the same thing with mrs phil's cookies same thing that they do that and so sometimes if you're looking and saying hey this is something that i can keep secret right in the sense that they're not going to be able to figure out what my recipe is or what that secret sauce is or how we do it sometimes it's better just to do what's called a trade secret keep it now the thing you have to think about trade secret is if it does get out and that's why pepsi and coke and all of them are very judicious about not letting or the seeker getting out is once it gets out if somebody figures it out they reverse engineer it you have an employee that tells the world you don't have any protection meaning there's really once the genie's out of the bottle you can't do anything about it the alternative is you can a lot of times not always a lot of times you can get a patent on food products and where the patent goes is it's more protecting you have let's say for example you're you make the world's best whatever food product it is you know macaroni and cheese or whatever it is but you have to have certain amounts of this ingredient certain amounts of this ingredient has to be in cooked at this temperature it has to be done this way and it's almost more of a process to make this new or different food so it's not just that it tastes good but you have kind of a process behind it then you can get a patent on it for that process to make the food or for the food and so you know there's one that um there are a few out there one of one of them that got invalidated but i still love it as a story was a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and it was more how they made it as a you know it's the old ones that have a little crimp around the outside so it doesn't spill out and little kids can eat them they had a patent on that for a while now it got invalidated for a longer story for different reasons but a lot of those kind of patents you can still go after and you can get so depends on if you think you can keep it a secret forever go for a trade secret otherwise you can get a patent on it and then you have 20 years of that exclusivity afterwards everybody can make the same product so i think that answers your question is there anything else to clarify on that 

no that was worth its weight and gold thank you so much that'll be very helpful 

all right oh awesome well glad that i could answer the bonus question for you um now as we wrap up i want to wish you the next leg of your journey even better than the last and appreciate you coming on the podcast 

hey thanks a lot devin it was great being here

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