So when it came to getting the business going. I was completely clueless as to what  all it would entail. Was there a high school elective I should have taken..."small business success 101"? I'm pretty sure that wasn't offered.

Where do I start? Small business books, business plan, business model decision, operating agreement, TN Ag application, business name, business location, or maybe all of them. Now the real adventure has begun! So I immersed myself in everything small business that I could find or was given to me. Oddly enough my Audible subscription would help in this area! "How to start a business:the ultimate step by step guide to starting a small business from Business plan to scaling up plus LLC". That was my go to guide and mentor for this process.  It clarified the path forward for me - what to do, what not to do, and most importantly in what order to do it. Very much like fextra life Dark souls 3 wiki;-) I'd be lost in a strange land without you! So thank you Greg Shields. 

My marching orders are business name, business model, business plan, and business location. So from an infinite list of to do's, I have 4 clear actionable tasks.

Let's come up with a business name. At a previous job I had heard every possible coffee roastery name that could be or ever be! That jaded me, naming my business was a real challenge. The four of us started coming up with names....

None seemed to stick. Then one day I was looking at locations and spotted the Mountain City Stove Co. building in Chattanooga. It is a beautiful old brick factory still standing but no longer running, it had a classic font in red. I loved it! I wanted "Mountain City Coffee Roasting Company". We can even use the same red font. Nope! Turns out a company with the same name already exists in Asheville, NC. Back to the idea board. We hit a wall. The name carries so much with it, and we weren't coming up with anything that carried the meaning and brand we wanted. I was still living in Nashville at this time. After another weekend passed that we failed to come up with a company name, I was brainstorming in my wedgewood apartment. I thought maybe we need to go in a completely different direction. Create a word/brand. What would that even look like? Since I was floundering in the current direction I figured I would go on a flyer (a road cyclist term for a stupid effort that comes to nothing) and see what would happen. My mind envisioned  this in two ways - Architectural letter building(using letters that look good together almost like Lego's) and using letters that had meaning to me (meanings I wrote down next to these letters). It didn't even take me an hour to come up with the word and a crazy list of meanings to the letters and overall name. It just flowed out of me. When I was done I had a brand, a name and a guide for our company and the process to follow. This all seemed to me sitting in my apartment alone, very special. Now I need to gain the confidence to share my idea and get feedback. By the next Chattanooga planning weekend I had it fettered out and presented it. It was a little weird to explain a word/brand that you made up, but everyone seemed to genuinely like it. So we decided to take a couple more weeks and continue to work on a name for our company, and then see what sticks. Well now it's history that we went with my creation. XOZIO has now become part of me. It no longer seems new or obscure. It's very clear with objectives!

Now we have a brand name and some ideas that give it meaning and purpose. Now the unknown path to making our brand a reality begins, back to the list of to-do's.  

*Excerpt from my notebook 9/18/22. 

           X O Z I O 

X-  crossroads, meeting place, path/paths

O- circle of life, all things connected, cycle

Z- us, journey with change and challenge, the not straight path, diversity

I- individual, responsibility, mental health, awareness, kindness, compassion, vulnerability

O- earth, community, stewardship


February 15, 2024 — Derek Delapaz