Bruce Douglas Clark is a serial entrepreneur from Minneapolis, MN. He is also the inventor of the cupholder used in every movie theater and sports stadium as well as several other amazing inventions.
The following is the first interview of our Entrepreneurship 101 Series, featuring Bruce.
Today our guest is Bruce Clark, the inventor of the cupholder. It’s an honor to speak with you today, Bruce. I would love to know more about your story and your background. Give us some details about your journey as a serial entrepreneur.
At age 67 I have learned many hard, valuable lessons as a serial entrepreneur with many successful and varied, start-up businesses and inventions.
Without a degree, from a broken home and with little money I learned many lessons in business the hard way.
From the fields of retail, automotive, safety, finance and distribution since the age of 21.
My most famous invention are the cupholders mounted on the seats in most every sport stadium and movie theater in North America.
I had 2 auto repair facilities, 5 retail stores in the major malls around Minneapolis including the Mall of America,
For 4 years I started an In-Home Tutoring Service with 100 certified teachers.
To this day I have a business where we invented and licensed out ladder safety accessories and enjoying the royalties to this day.
The cupholder company Caddy Products, I started and sold, indeed grew to over 5 million annual revenues.
What do you specialize in and why should someone choose you over your competitors in your field?
For our cupholders, we became the cutting edge of innovation with our products.
From special armrest style cupholders with the same matching, fabric inserts as on the seats, to specific manufacturers mounting for every theater or stadium seat in the market.
Our specialty was always superior products with exceptional service.
What are your three biggest accomplishments?
- Inventing the cupholders for theater and sport stadium seating throughout North America.
- Inventing a unique railing system for the tops of extension ladders allowing a user to walk through the top of a ladder rather than the dangerous maneuver of stepping around and on to, a rooftop or platform. This product is saving lives from the #1 cause of falling from ladders.
- Raising two wonderful children.
What’s your piece of advice for readers who want to achieve wealth and success in life?
Don’t chase the dollar. Chase the dream.
As I look back on my successes, the money is not what stands out.
It’s the satisfaction of creating successful products, employing hundreds and a confidence which causes me to believe I can do anything I put my mind to.
What do you think is they key to a truly successful business?
There is no one key. Having a unique product or service like no other is one.
Thinking outside or even dismantle the box is another. Integrity and treating others as you would want to be treated is another.
Pay your bills on time, Think positive. Perseverance, attitude, salesmanship and having an initial vision are further, important keys to entrepreneurial success.
Be like a sponge. Seek answers rather than thinking you know it all. Hire great people, not just help.
What are in your opinion the main challenges of an entrepreneur?
Fear seems to be a huge challenge, although In today’s world, capitalism is becoming a bad word by some, especially in education.
Entrepreneurs need to make clear the fruits and benefits of owning their own business, not only for themselves but the hundreds of other vendors, employees and customers who benefit from your business.
How did you overcome – or are overcoming – these challenges?
Attitude is everything. You cannot change what happens to you. You can only change your response. Instead of focusing on what can go wrong, focus on what steps can I take right now, to make things go right.
What’s your piece of advice for people who want to quit their 9-5 job and start a business?
Do it sooner than later or you could regret it. As the benefits far outweigh the efforts.
Weigh the upside and downside. The upside should be at least 20 times greater than the downside. If so, take that calculated risk.
You can easily work just as hard for someone else than you will, having your own business. Only difference is you’re determining how much money you can make and you’re making the rules instead of someone else.
How can people find you?
Do you have any app, digital course, or book you would like our readers to know about?
In the process of writing two books as we speak. Stand by….
Thank you for your time Bruce. It was a pleasure interviewing you today.
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Recommended read: How to Be Unstoppable: 4 Underrated Strategies That Will Transform You