Que : Kindly give our readers an introduction to your business. Please include what your business is all about, in which city you are located and if you have offices in multiple locations/ cities.
Ans : Thompson Mug Company, providing an alternative and unique option for consuming a frosty beverage — we are transforming wooden baseball bat barrels into bad-ass, one of a kind, drinking mugs. We operate and grow out of Saint Petersburg, Florida.
Que : Kindly give us a brief description about yourself (it should include your brief educational or entrepreneurial background and list some of your major achievements).
Ans : Randall Thompson, former college and professional athlete in the Toronto Blue Jays organization; in addition, a college pitching coach for a pair of universities in the state of Florida.
While starting Thompson Mug Company, I drove a delivery van for a paint company and served tacos at a Mexican food restaurant.
Que : What inspired you to (start a new business venture) or (to make significant changes in an existing business)? How did the idea for your business come about?
Ans : I was born with a strong desire to be entrepreneurial. I have been blessed with a creative mind and a very strong will — I feel unexplainable responsible for leveraging those two blessings to construct something larger than myself. So, I don’t know where the inspiration came from (if there was any at all) — it is an expectation I have and always have had for myself.
The idea came from a time while I was coaching at a college in Melbourne, FL. The recruiting coordinator/my great friend cut a barrel off a baseball bat (for an unknown reason) and left it in the dugout — one look, and BOOM — drinking mug.
Que : What three pieces of advice would you give to budding entrepreneurs?
Ans : Ironically, I would challenge an entrepreneur to stop seeking advice for a while. Rid themselves of searching for answers from other people or books — rather, go out and create their answers. It’s amazing what can be accomplished and learned when a person just listens to themselves. As an entrepreneur, they naturally want to “always be learning,” or “finding ways to better themselves” — however, unknowingly — they become guilty of latching onto a circular process called progressive procrastination — commonly, by over-reading about a topic or asking an ‘expert’ in the field or industry they are attempting to become an expert — which, to me, is a form of fear. Three pieces of possibly horrible, yet ballsy – built for growth advice: 1. talk less, 2. think less, and 3. be present in the right places and be ready to react instinctively based on your gut.
Que : What would you say are the top three skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur?
Ans : The ability to make decisions. More specifically, make decisions and take action based on those decisions. “Three frogs are sitting on a log and one decides to jump off. How many frogs are left on the log? The answer: 3 — decisions are not actions”
The ability to stay liquid. Understanding what worked yesterday — might not work today.
The ability to sometimes say “eff it.” It is certainly a practiced skill to look at something you have put your life into and say “eff it.” But, sometimes — in certain circumstance — it’s necessary.
Que : How many hours do you work a day on average?
Ans : A lot.
Que : To what do you most attribute your success?
Ans : I do not label or consider myself successful. As everyone’s definition is/should be different — my personal definition of success is feeling inner peace. At this time in my life, I do not feel complete internal peace.
Que : How do you go about marketing your business? What has been your most successful form of marketing?
Ans : Quickly, I have learned that my best form of marketing is a customer with my product in their hand at an event with a significant crowd. I get e-mails daily about someone taking their mug to a bar, stadium, house party, etc. and everyone asking about it. They are one of the firsts to discover the mug, therefore they gain attention from others because of it, and that makes them take it and talk about it in more places. I have also put some money into Facebook Ads and bartered for some pretty awesome SEO work.
Que : Where did your organizations funding/capital come from and how did you go about getting it? How did you obtain investors for your venture?
Ans : To this point — everything has been bootstrapped. This dream started shortly after I was fired from working at a Mexican food restaurant as a waiter. For a while, I was funneling the money I was making in my 9-5 into building the business.
Que : What is the best way to achieve long-term success?
Ans : I believe I will have a better answer to this a long time from now.
Que : Where you see yourself and your business in 5 – 10 years?
Ans : Hmmm, teaching business entrepreneurship at a university or traveling to colleges around the country to speak to athletes about the correlation/congruency of college athletics and being a business owner. It is hard to say where Thompson Mug Co. will be in 5-10 years — but, hopefully in a majority of baseball-lover homes.
Que : Excluding yours, what company or business do you admire the most?
Ans : Any of the hotdog stand vendors on the outskirts of any beach— they’re operating with low overhead and killer margins — not to mention — they get to be in the sun, on the beach…wow — what is not to admire about that business.
More specially, this past summer — I was in Captiva Island with my family and girlfriend — and a guy anchored five feet off-shore of the Gulf with his pontoon boat converted “concession stand.” He was selling ice-cream, cold sodas, and water — while grilling burgers and hotdogs. All I could think was “wow!” I spoke to him about his business and he had been turning profit for over 10 years…
Que : What motivates you?
Ans : I someday want children, growing up – my dad was my hero, and with that — I pretend there is a camera crew following me around at all times recording my every move, and that footage will someday be seen by my kids. I want my kids to watch that, and say their dad is/was a bad-ass m***er f***er. That is what moves me.
Que : How do you generate new ideas?
Ans : I am blessed with a creative mind that connects the dots that most people do not see — it is just how I see the world. I once heard a college professor say “If you want to become rich — listen to yourself think.” That has always stuck with me, and I would suggest that advice to anyone that struggles to creatively or constructively think.
Que : How do you define success?
Ans : Having complete inner peace.
Que : What has been your most satisfying moment in business?
Ans : In one word, characterize your life as an entrepreneur.
Que : Do you believe there is some sort of pattern or formula to becoming a successful entrepreneur?
Ans : Kinda – if a person discovers what they are curious about. And, turn the phrase “I don’t know” into “I gotta know” — I think they would be surprised where that would bring them.