Categorized | Shoestring Startup

From Car to Cash-cow, How I Started All Things Equal on a Shoestring Budget

Name of your company and URL?

From Car to Cash-cow, How I Started All Things Equal on a Shoestring Budget












My company is called All Things Equal. We develop and produce board games including 7 versions of Loaded Questions, Awkward Family Photos, The Greatest Day Ever Game and The New Yorker Caption Game. Our website is but our old site (which is still up) is

Date started?

I started All Things Equal in 1997.

Why did you start your company?

I started my company because I thought I had a great idea and I wanted to do something fun and creative, and outside of the “9-5 box”! Also, I was 23 at the time (not yet married with children), so I had no excuse not to try and make something of my idea.

How was it financed ?

It was financed with my savings and a loan from my folks which I was able to pay off within a year.

Date officially launched?

April 1, 1997…and that’s no joke!

What free online or offline tools do you use?

Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn

Do you use Social Media tools like Facebook, twitter, LinkedIn ?

We have a great facebook page

Youtube watch video URL?

We have a hilarious YouTube page:


What is the best advice you never got?

Stick with it!

What almost killed your business in the start?

While driving around the country, I got into a car accident (nobody hurt) while looking at a map and trying to find a toy store in Cincinnati. My car was totaled…and so were my spirits. I began to question my whole sales/marketing quest, especially because I was $60,000 in debt! Luckily, I managed to regroup, continue the drive and build my business to what it is today.

What is the one thing that you did right?

Creating a solid, compelling and fun product. Also, I was willing in the beginning to really get out there and market it. Through sheer tenacity, I was able to get stores to look at my product and give it a shot.

What was the biggest transition you had to make (i.e. new skill set, habits, abilities, focus)?

I had to learn how to sell something! The product development and marketing was fun and felt natural, but I definitely had a learning curve when it came to convincing someone to buy my games. Now, it’s second nature.

Are you currently in the black or red?

We are making a good profit. We have sold over 1 million Loaded Questions games.

What type of marketing or advertising do you do?

From Day 1, I have employed a PR-driven marketing program. All of my exposure has been through earned media. Most recently, Loaded Questions was included in a segment on the TODAY Show. We also do a lot of radio advertising and promotions, including Howard Stern and Elvis Duran.

What would make your business more “Successful”?

I believe that our key to continued success is in adding new games to the company’s portfolio. Games that are fun, light-hearted and bring friends and families together. We are doing just that with the launch of Awkward Family Photos and The Greatest Day Ever games.

Would you want to be acquired by a bigger company, run it yourself or sell in a couple of years?

If I was approached with a great offer I couldn’t refuse…then I wouldn’t refuse. I have two kids at home. Those are my babies! I can always create more games!

What do you think your projected annual revenue will be?

$2,000,000 for 2011

How long do you think it will take you to get to your projected annual revenue?

That # is a real estimate. Orders are already in.

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One Response to “From Car to Cash-cow, How I Started All Things Equal on a Shoestring Budget”

  1. Fluffy, your post reminded me of someone I know. He runs a small business, and he said that if Obama enacted any new policies that forced him into layoffs that he would go to the parking lot and people with Obama/Biden bumper stickers would be the first to be let go.


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