Jim Glasgow has a black belt in karate, does jui jitsu, kickboxes, cycles, and has competed in triathlons and marathons. Oh yeah, and he operates a successful business too.
What connects these pursuits? The passion that he brings to them all.
Jim had always wanted to have his own business. And as a long time devotee of the martial arts, he says he couldn’t think of anything he’d rather be doing than introducing other people to his passion. But while teaching martial arts was fulfilling, he says, it wasn’t going to pay the bills. When he had an opportunity to start a business producing a line of products specifically for martial artists and athletes, he jumped at it. “There’s really nothing better,” he says.
Sick Gear is based in Chicago, and launched in December 2008. They manufacture and sell uniforms, shirts, and gear for martial artists. “Sick Gear was an idea I had a couple of years ago, to come out with a line of products that really dealt with the individual athlete, and recognized how that athlete is separate from somebody in a team sport.” The main product focus for Sick Gear is jui jitsu gi’s, with logo branded apparel and training gear rounding out the line.
Glasgow had a fleeting previous experience as a business owner. “In the past I worked with entrepreneurial companies. I’d been involved with small companies, and I’d wanted to start my own company for years. So I started a small consulting firm in 2005,” he says. “I was only in business for two or three months,” before an old employer lured him back. “They gave me an offer I really couldn’t refuse,” he remembers with a smile.
But it wasn’t what he wanted to be doing. Looking back, he says, “I spent a lot of years in business dreading going to work, just hating it and wondering what I was doing. Life is too short to do that.”
With a motto of “succeed or fail, you just have to take a shot” when you really want something, Jim took his shot. And a few years later, Sick Gear became a reality. “I’d written some very rough business plans before, when I started my consulting business,” he says, and had covered the topic in college as well. “I had some classes that included the concepts and components of business plans. But they never brought you through a thorough business plan, integrating the financials with the marketing… This is the first time that I really put everything together.”
“When I did the Sick Gear business plan, I used Business Plan Pro. That was really a nice tool. It was very user friendly, and just walked me through all the steps. It helped me think about the plan in a logical format,” he recalls. He added that the process of writing the plan, and the questions and issues the software brought up, made him think about areas of his business that he might not have previously considered.
Jim continues to use Business Plan Pro to help him manage his business. “I truly believe a business plan is never done. It’s a living document that you have to incorporate, every day, into your business. It makes it a lot easier using software like this.”
Through his martial arts training and his business experience, Jim says he has learned the value of seeking advice and listening to other people’s stories. “I think the more advice you get from other people, the better. You pick up on the success stories and learn from the mistakes. It’s so helpful getting the advice from people who’ve been through it.”
Ultimately, says Jim, success comes down to a few key factors. “You’ve got to have a passion for what you do. You’ve got to be resilient, and you’ve got to be prepared. If you don’t do your homework and put together a business plan, you’re doomed to failure. There are going to be things that come around that you just didn’t plan for,” he adds, but you’ll be better prepared to deal with them. “And Business Plan Pro really helped me do that.”