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🔑 Key Takeaways

  1. Kinko's strategic location, convenience, and founder's entrepreneurial mindset led to its massive success and acquisition by FedEx.
  2. Practical skills and knowledge can be just as valuable as traditional academic achievements when it comes to achieving success and making money.
  3. Paul Orfalea's recognition of the potential of photocopy machines, coupled with his ability to outsmart the competition, led to the success of his own business.
  4. Seizing opportunities, leveraging resources, and understanding customer needs are crucial for entrepreneurial success.
  5. Paul Orfalea's restlessness and desire for expansion led him to build a successful business beyond a single store by looking at other industries for inspiration.
  6. Focusing on the core product/service, recognizing low hanging fruit, and finding innovative solutions are crucial for long-term business success.
  7. By implementing partnership and shared ownership, Paul Orfalea motivated individuals to take ownership and responsibility, ensuring quality control and fostering commitment among store operators.
  8. Paul Orfalea's unconventional and informal approach to expanding Kinko's allowed for rapid expansion and profitability by prioritizing customer service and forming casual agreements with his employees as partners.
  9. By delegating tasks, minimizing interruptions, motivating employees, and fostering loyalty, Paul Orfalea was able to build a successful business.
  10. Paul Orfalea successfully navigated competition by prioritizing employee loyalty, enforcing company standards, and gradually positioning Kinko's as a reliable 24-hour solution for students' academic needs.
  11. Keeping a business open 24 hours can lead to a significant increase in daytime business, employee resistance can be overcome with positive results, and it provides convenience for customers needing late-night services.
  12. It is common for even successful entrepreneurs to feel insecure and doubt themselves. Remaining detached and objective, and not underestimating the value of others, is key to a happy and thriving business.
  13. Balancing ambition and success with personal connections is crucial for overall well-being.
  14. Kinko's transformed their business after losing a lawsuit, shifting their focus to commercial locations. They introduced computer workstations, prioritized customer care, and developed well-rounded leaders to find success.
  15. Clear communication and alignment of interests between founders and investors is crucial. Retaining customer service levels can be challenging under new ownership. Resilience and new opportunities can arise after parting ways with a business.
  16. Paul Orfalea believes in giving back, emphasizing the importance of a good smile, treating employees with respect, and having an optimistic outlook on life.

📝 Podcast Summary

How Kinko's Helped Thousands Beat Deadlines and Look Professional

Kinko's, the popular photocopy shop, played a significant role in the lives of many people, including Guy Raz. Kinko's provided a convenient solution for last-minute projects and applications, allowing individuals to meet deadlines and make their work look presentable. The success of Kinko's stemmed from its strategic location near colleges and universities, providing easy access to a large customer base. Founder Paul Orfalea's upbringing in a family of entrepreneurs instilled in him the desire to start his own business. His mother encouraged him to strive for more than just being an employee, emphasizing the value of having your own business. This upbringing and mindset ultimately led to the growth and eventual acquisition of Kinko's by FedEx for a staggering $2.4 billion.

Clickbait  "How Paul Orfalea Made Millions with Money Skills Alone!

Paul Orfalea recognized the importance of having either money skills or school skills when raising children. His parents encouraged him to develop money skills, teaching him the value of saving and what to do with his money. As a result, Orfalea was able to start his own business and make money at a young age. He had a vegetable stand where he bought and sold produce, demonstrating his entrepreneurial spirit. Although he struggled in certain subjects in high school, he excelled in finance classes during college. While his grades may have been average, Orfalea embraced the opportunity to learn and absorb information. This highlights the significance of gaining practical skills and knowledge outside of traditional academic achievements.

He opened a photocopy shop and crushed the competition.

Paul Orfalea recognized the potential of photocopy machines as a means of communication in 1969. Despite their limitations at the time, he saw the numerous applications and the opportunity for success. When his vegetable business failed, he realized that the photocopy machine offered a sustainable business model with minimal inventory risk. Seeing long lines as a sign of money, he decided to open a photocopy shop in Santa Barbara, where there was no existing competition. Despite competing against free labor and lower prices at the college library, Orfalea outfoxed the campus by lowering his costs and offering a better experience. With borrowed money, he took the risk and started his own business.

How Paul Orfalea built a thriving business with just $5,000

Paul Orfalea's successful business, Kinko's, was built from a $5,000 loan, his father's signature, and strategic decisions. Orfalea capitalized on Xerox's inefficient invoicing system, which granted him a significant amount of float and allowed him to rent a copy machine without any initial investment. With a small space of only 100 square feet, Orfalea operated Kinko's through a window, copying documents for customers at a rate of 4 cents per copy. By offering a unique and memorable name, Kinko's stood out in the market. Through observing customer requests, Orfalea discovered that students copied a variety of interesting things. This success story emphasizes the importance of seizing opportunities, leveraging resources, and understanding customer needs in entrepreneurial ventures.

This college student started a copy shop, but what he did next will shock you!

Paul Orfalea started his copy shop, Kinko's, while still attending college and it quickly became profitable. Despite the initial success, Paul had a bigger vision for his business and didn't want to be confined to just running one store. He followed his mother's advice to try different things in his twenties, figure out his strengths in his thirties, and make money in his forties. He didn't want to be known only as the person who did copying for students. This restlessness and desire for expansion led him to look at other successful businesses with multiple locations, like drugstores and gas stations, and inspired him to find a way to grow his own business beyond one store.

How Paul Orfalea's Bold Move Led to Business Success

Focusing on the core product or service offering is crucial for business success. Paul Orfalea's experience of branching out into offset printing and facing numerous challenges highlighted the importance of staying true to the original concept. Despite facing difficulties and realizing his lack of mechanical ability, Orfalea made the wise decision to sell the print shop and concentrate on the copy shops, which proved to be more profitable. This teaches us the lesson of recognizing the low hanging fruit and not getting distracted by harder tasks. It also emphasizes the significance of adapting and finding innovative solutions, such as partnering with professors to provide cost-effective alternatives for students. Learning this lesson early in one's career can lead to long-term success.

This business strategy helped Kinko's thrive and succeed!

Paul Orfalea's success in expanding Kinko's was built on the concept of partnership and shared ownership. By allowing individuals to have equity in the individual locations, he motivated them to take ownership and responsibility for their stores. This model ensured that the partners had a stake in the success of the business and were highly motivated to make it thrive. Additionally, Orfalea implemented profit sharing in every store, further incentivizing the employees to work towards the company's success. While the franchise model could have been a more cost-effective option, Orfalea chose partnership and equity ownership as a means to ensure quality control and maintain a strong sense of commitment and dedication among the store operators.

How Paul Orfalea's Unconventional Approach Revolutionized Kinko's Expansion

Paul Orfalea's approach to expanding the Kinko's business was unconventional and informal. He found potential partners through his own employees who knew how much money he was making. This led to casual agreements where he entrusted the brand to individuals across America to run their own Kinko's stores. Despite the lack of a corporate structure, Orfalea maintained control through reconciling bank statements and managing payroll and accounts receivable. His focus was on removing obstacles for his partners and store managers so they could prioritize serving the customers. This "fly by night" approach allowed for rapid expansion and profitability, as the cost of renting the machines could easily be covered by the revenue generated from copy services.

This entrepreneur's secret to success will blow your mind!

Paul Orfalea recognized the value of delegating and finding talented individuals to handle various tasks in his business. He understood that he couldn't do everything himself and that others could often do certain tasks better than him. By supervising every job in the business at one time, he gained a deep understanding of the operations while also identifying individuals who could handle specific roles effectively. Furthermore, Orfalea realized the importance of being inaccessible and minimizing interruptions to increase productivity. He prioritized his time and made sure that there was a valid reason for someone to contact him. Additionally, he understood the significance of motivating employees by emphasizing the meaningful connections and impact the business had on people's lives. Finally, Orfalea recognized that loyalty was key and he actively worked to keep his team loyal by addressing challenges and creating a positive work environment.

How Paul Orfalea Built Kinko's Empire Despite Fierce Competition

Paul Orfalea faced significant competition in the early days of Kinko's, as people could easily open their own shops with Xerox machines. To overcome this, Orfalea chose not to franchise his business but instead shared profits and provided benefits to his partners, keeping them loyal and happy. Another challenge was getting his partners to conform to company standards, such as using the company color blue. Orfalea had to manage his partners differently, sometimes using a "steel fist" approach. While some partners did leave to start their own shops, Kinko's eventually gained recognition and value through its trademark. The shift towards becoming the go-to place for last-minute school assignments, like getting reports bound, happened gradually, culminating in Kinko's becoming a trusted 24-hour option.

How Keeping a Business Open 24 Hours Transformed a Franchise

Keeping a business open 24 hours can significantly boost daytime business. Paul Orfalea discovered this when he spoke to a convenience market owner who saw a 50% drop in daytime business after closing from midnight to 6 AM. When Orfalea implemented 24-hour operations at Kinko's, daytime business doubled, as customers could rely on the store's availability. Initially, there was resistance from employees who didn't want to work those extra hours, but once they saw the positive results, they were convinced. The 24-hour Kinko's became a game-changer and led to the growth of local Kinko's franchises. This strategy not only increased business but also provided convenience for customers who needed late-night services.

Successful entrepreneur reveals his secret battle with insecurity and self-doubt

Having a sense of insecurity and self-doubt is not uncommon, even for successful entrepreneurs like Paul Orfalea. Despite building a thriving business like Kinko's, Paul constantly questioned himself and felt insecure about the future. He attributes this to witnessing his uncle losing his business and losing his will to live. Paul believes that as a business owner, it is essential to remain detached and objective rather than being overly confident or arrogant. He emphasizes that a business should be seen as a tool to make oneself happy, rather than becoming a love affair that consumes everything. Additionally, he highlights the arrogance that sometimes comes with education, where people can underestimate the value of the average person.

Discover the secret weapon of success: having a chip!

Having a "chip on your shoulder" can be both a strength and a weakness. Paul Orfalea, the founder of Kinko's, attributes his success to his belief that average people are smarter than executives. This mindset fueled his drive and energy. However, this chip on his shoulder also led to a focus on making money rather than other aspects of life, such as relationships or personal growth. Paul's experience of losing his son and having to comfort others during a difficult time highlights the importance of shared grief and the healing power of collective support. Ultimately, this conversation emphasizes the need to balance ambition and success with personal connections and emotional well-being.

How a Lawsuit Forced Kinko's to Become a Versatile Office

Kinko's faced a major setback when they lost a copyright infringement lawsuit and had to pay millions of dollars in settlement. This forced them to shift their focus away from college students and towards commercial locations. While initially challenging, this change in direction ultimately led to the transformation of Kinko's into a versatile office away from the office. They introduced computer workstations and positioned themselves as a branch office for customers. Additionally, Kinko's brought in John Davis, a professional leader, to help reshape the company's philosophy and develop well-rounded leaders. One significant aspect of their philosophy was prioritizing customer care, even to the extent of firing customers who were consistently rude, emphasizing the importance of co-worker relationships in their success.

Managers sometimes need to fire customers - here's why

Sometimes it is necessary for a manager to consider firing a customer, especially when faced with ambiguity on how to handle a situation. In the case of Paul Orfalea and Kinko's, the decision to sell a stake in the business turned out to be a disempowering experience for the founder. It emphasizes the importance of clear communication and alignment of interests between the founder and the investment firm involved in the acquisition. Additionally, it highlights the challenge of retaining the same level of customer service under new ownership. Ultimately, Orfalea found a new purpose in his life through teaching and philanthropy, showcasing the resilience of an entrepreneur even after parting ways with their business.

This Entrepreneur's Secret to Success? Giving Back and Smiling!

Paul Orfalea believes in the importance of giving back and making a positive impact on society. He strongly disagrees with the notion of accumulating wealth without helping others. For him, the ultimate goal is to ensure that every child has access to orthodontic care and proper nutrition. He believes that a good smile leads to improved self-esteem and better chances of success in life. Despite his success, Paul attributes a large part of it to luck, acknowledging that hard work alone isn't always enough. He emphasizes the importance of treating employees with respect and fostering a positive work environment. Overall, Paul's outlook on life is one of optimism and trust in humanity.