See the second post in this series: 4 Things We Learned From LivePlan

They say starting a successful business is an exercise in falling down and picking yourself back up again, possibly over and over…and over. Henry Ford had businesses fail and leave him broke five times before he founded Ford Motor Company. They say you have to fail to learn to succeed. Well, with Binary Star Systems, this has definitely been the case. We originally started this company as Star Dot Star in 2003 when we lived in Phoenix, AZ. We basically offered the same services we do now: graphic design and software development. During the first 5 years of our company we had ups and downs.

“Henry Ford had businesses fail and leave him broke five times before he founded Ford Motor Company.”


Let’s first go over what we did right. We know graphic design, marketing and software development. Those things are what we are passionate about; we live for them and spend a lot of our time learning new skills and applying them to help our customers. Ever heard the old adage about the shoe cobbler whose shoes are falling apart? Well, in a way, that’s us. We know how to apply all of our skills to another company to help them be more successful, break into new markets, look professional and, in general, run more smoothly. We didn’t always apply those same skills to our own company! So from a purely technical perspective our ups were almost always because of our expertise in graphic design, marketing and software development. In fact, and probably not too surprisingly, we really shine in those areas. The downs were from another side of things.

“We know graphic design, marketing and software development. Those things are what we are passionate about”


The funny thing is that most of those downs were caused by us. We had complete control over them. Here are some of the downright foolish things we did: we didn’t invoice people on time, we didn’t call people who were late on their payments, we didn’t focus at all on networking or sales so we rarely got new customers, we didn’t spend any time trying to reconnect with existing customers. Each of these things is bad by itself but all of them together can make it very difficult to run a successful company. I mean, what company owner doesn’t feel right sending invoices or procrastinates on sending them? It makes no sense and is no wonder that we frequently ran into money problems. We weren’t even taking our company seriously enough to send invoices! How could we expect anyone else to take us seriously? I bet this all sounds a bit too familiar to some of you…

Fast forward from 2003 to 2014 and things for us have changed greatly. We took some time off from running our own company to work for another company full time. We spent about 4 years at this other company. We learned a lot. Recently we decided we wanted to jump back in to our own company again.

So here we are! The question on our minds lately has been: How do we make sure we don’t make the same mistakes we did before?

“Don’t be scared to succeed.”


This blog post is the first in a series that will show the steps we are taking while starting over to help make sure we don’t fall in the same traps we did before.

One of the first things we wanted to do was to find a way to inject some new energy into our business. Anyone that’s ever had a business (whether it’s successful or not) can understand that we needed to feel excited about our business. When thinking of all of the mistakes we made last time and considering how much anxiety and frustration came out of them, we decided we didn’t want to pull any of that baggage along with us. We wanted a fresh start. But we also wanted to keep the company history intact and not lose all of the hard work we put into building a business in the first place. So, after researching some other options, we decided to give our company a new name: Binary Star Systems. This is a DBA so in essence it’s still Star Dot Star but now can have a fresh new look and name. So far this decision has really paid off and we both feel very strongly that this time around will be much better.

There are a lot more things we’ve planned and started doing for our re-start.

Here are 3 steps we are taking to avoid repeating our mistakes:

  1. Take our business seriously
    • Use LivePlan to build our business plan and keep it up to date.
    • Use Wave as our accounting software.
    • Hire a Bookkeeper/Accountant to handle our invoicing, etc. because we’ve shown we aren’t good at these things.
    • Focus on Networking to generate new business.
  2. Don’t be scared to succeed.
  3. Think big!

In follow up posts I’ll go over each of the above items in more detail. Stay tuned!

See the second post in this series: 4 Things We Learned From LivePlan