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Last Update: Monday September 20, 2021

Key Idea: Keep Your Job

Bill Tobin points out that starting and running a business is harder than it looks.

Key Question:


Bill warns that strong business owners make what they do look easy. It is probably best to test your idea before you quit your job.

Search for more on the topic of startup.

Think about it

How can you test the waters to see if you are cut out to own a business?

Clip from: PC Flowers & Gifts

Stamford, Connecticut:  Bill Tobin has always risen to a challenge. He's always been an entrepreneur. When FTD Florist told him to go away, he began looking to find a way to take over. He said, "I had to do it. I had to do it. Everybody said it couldn't be done. Everybody said, `It won't work.' "

When this episode of the show was taped, Bill Tobin was selling more flowers than any one person in the world. He started PC Flowers and Gifts in 1989 and by 1996 he had become one of the most successful entrepreneurs in cyberspace. Though he sold the business to Figis, he continues to leverage his knowledge with strategic cyber partners throughout the world.  
Among other things Bill established over 2,700 co-branded web sites. In 2000, Bill was awarded a patent for web co-branding protocols. 

PC Flowers & Gifts

Bill Tobin, Founder

134 Davenport Circle
Stamford, CT 06902

Visit our web site:

Business Classification:
Internet Sales

Year Founded: 1989

Keep Your Job

BILL: I become everybody's new best friend. I develop...

HATTIE: Because you bring them a new idea.

BILL: I develop strategic alliances. I never try to do everything myself. Pigs don't get rich. You simply take the best and you bring it together and you form strategic alliances, and my Web site is nothing but one massive strategic alliance and every business I've ever had is one big strategic alliance.

The Internet is the biggest thing that I've ever been involved with.

HATTIE: This is your eighth company and it's the biggest one, which is why the partnership is so critical to its success.

BILL: Absolutely.

HATTIE: And you're willing to take a little of a lot rather than what you've done in the past, a whole lot of a little.

BILL: Absolutely.

An entrepreneur to me is sort of like a dog with a bone. He doesn't drop it until there's not a scrap of meat left on it. He stays with it. He is focused, he is myopic, he is tenacious, whereas people that try to be entrepreneurial but are skipping and jumping and spreading themselves thin. An entrepreneur is absolutely driven and cannot sleep, cannot eat, cannot do anything until he accomplishes that goal.

I mean, I meet guys all the time in large corporations that tell me they want to go out on their own, and about 90 percent of them shouldn't because I can tell you right now the difference between an entrepreneur and a guy that is used to working is a guy says, `Well, I've made $50,000 this year. I'd be willing to go out on my own for $40,000.' No, you're willing to go out on your own for nothing and with no income possibility for the next couple of years, and you must take everything that you've got continuously, as opposed to saying, `This is for my kids' college. This is for this. This is that.' You got to take all those marbles and put them up on the table every single time. Take a little aside, keep a little back, but most of it must go on the table for the next venture or to get the penetration you need for this venture. An entrepreneur is absolutely one of biggest gamblers in the world, but he gambles in an area where he's figured he controls the odds, as opposed to the house controlling the odds.

BILL: The Internet is tantamount to being alive 100 years ago. It's sort of a time machine for me. It gives me the opportunity to take a look at all this broad, new area that's never been done before. And I understand the Internet and I understand where it's going to go as well as anybody does. I mean, I'm going to look back at myself five years from now and say, `Phew, back then, I didn't know anything about anything.' But basically I understand where I want to go with the Internet and the Internet's going to give me an opportunity to take, expeditiously, what I've done in a very limited way with PC Flowers & Gifts and move forward into 100 other areas. It's just a wide-open free-for-all highway. It's the Autobahn of opportunity.

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