Media Kit

Welcome to the online Media Kit for “Don’t Let Your Dream Business Turn Into a Nightmare” by Alan Stransman

Alan Stransman’s Bio

Alan Stransman began his professional career as a teacher of English and Film at Westminster Secondary School in London, Ontario. After teaching full time for two years, he enrolled in the Newhouse School of Communications at Syracuse University, and graduated in with an M.S. in Telecommunications/Film in 1980. He also has an M.A. in English Literature from the University of Western Ontario.

in 1980, Stransman was hired at CFTO-TV in Toronto, and, in 1982, was given his first producing assignment, a one-hour prime-time special for the CTV television network, entitled “Children take Care”, which was awarded a Gold Medal at the Canpro awards presentation that year. he went on to write and produce a number of award-winning programs and series on such topics as wife assualt, missing children and teen pregnancy.

In 1995, Stransman left CFTO-TV to embark upon a career as an Independent Producer, and in 1999, wrote, produced and directed the series Spectacular Spas, which was broadcast in over 50 countries around the world.

In 2005, Stransman founded one of the first spas for men in the world, called The Men’s PowerSpa, in downtown Toronto. June 2010 marks the fifth anniversary of the company’s launch. In 2009, Stransman wrote a book about his entrepreneurial venture entitled “Don’t Let Your Dream Business Turn Into a Nightmare”.

In March, 2010, Alan Stransman was invited to attend a class in a fourth-year course in Entrepreneurship at Peterborough’s Trent University in which the students made oral presentations based upon his book “Don’t Let Your Dream Business Turn Into a Nightmare”.

What People Are Saying About “Don’t Let Your Dream Business Turn Into a Nightmare”: Some Sample Testimonials

(Don’t Let Your Dream Business Turn Into a Nightmare) describes the challenges faced by entrepreneur Alan Stransman as he starts up a men’s-only spa with no money, no business experience and no team. It provides students a real-life opportunity to discuss the needed ingredients for business success: an attractive idea; a qualified team; a compelling plan and adequare funding. Stransman arguably encounters challenges on each of these four fronts. This case is valuable reading and extremely useful for facilitating real-world discussion of all of these critical issues.

Ron Close

Executive Entrepreneur-in-Residence

The Richard Ivey School of Business

University of Western Ontario

Alan Stransman’s book provides an entertaining cautionary tale for all those with dreams of turning an entrepreneurial idea into reality some day. The huge surge of interest in entrepreneurship that accompanied the dot-com boom in the late 1990′s produced a whole generation of mainly young people , who wanted to drop whatever it was they were doing in order to launch a start-up. The equally huge rate of dot-com failures should have been enough to demonstrate that starting a new business is fraught with pitfalls, but somehow, that message didn’t seem to get through as well as it might have done. Alan’s book is, thus, a timely reminder to all would-be entrepreneurs that the road to realizing entrepreneurial dreams is by no means an easy one.

Patrick Turner

Affiliate Professor of Entrepreneurship

INSEAD Asia Campus

Alan’s book is a true “hands-on” account of a real business experience. The reader is in Alan’s shoes to get an experiential trip, warts and all. If you are thinking of starting your own business and want to get a feel for another side of the coin, be sure to include Alan’s book in your research.

Donald Prescott

Director, The Eric Douglass Centre for Entrepreneurial Studies

Faculty of Management

Royal Roads University

After having read Alan’s book, I can say it is a must read if you are planning on starting your own business or expanding your already existing one. Alan was very generous in sharing his own experience and warning us of the mistakes to avoid. …A wonderful book.

Hamad Benaicha

Owner/Operator of PC RELIEF,

Toronto, ON

Fortunately, for anyone trying to start a new business, Alan Stransman has been through it already and provides a great roadmap of things to avoid. This is a great book to guide anyone who isn’t a veteran in the business of their dreams. The biggest lesson that I took away is to find out who the real industry experts are, search them out, and pay them acordingly! Funny, but sad, too.

Ian Shaw


Mobilize Me,

Toronto, ON

Whew! I finished your book and I must say that I am impressed! Although it did not have a happy ending as I was hoping that it would. You are a great writer. It was a very compelling storyline and I didn’t want to put it down until I came to the end!

Jessica Swanson,

Founder, Shoestring Marketing,

Chicago, Ill.

(more testimonials on the Home Page)

10 Questions for Alan Stransman

1. Why did you write your book?

A. When I was first embarking upon the process of launching my own small business, I didn’t have a background in business, and had no idea how to write a business plan. My background is in television production, so I knew how to write a proposal for a television program or series, but a business plan is a very different animal. And I had no idea of what it would be like to run a small business, or what mistakes to avoid. But the biggest problem that I had, in restrospect, was not being able to see through all of the smoke that was being blown in my face by people who had a vested interest in telling me how successful my business was going to be. There wasn’t a book out there that I could read that would tell me the truth about what it is like to start a small business, especially with someone else’s money. So, I wrote one.

2. What is the biggest mistake that you made in starting your own business?

A. The biggest mistake I made was not building a team, and by that I mean, bringing in investors or partners, who would be patient and understanding of the fact that making mistakes is part of the trial and error process. If you have investors who blame you instead of sharing the responsibility, your dream business can turn into a nightmare very quickly.

3. What is the biggest misconception that first-time entrepeneurs have about starting a business?

A. F. Scott Fitzgerald said that the sign of a first-class intelligence is the ability to hold two contradictory ideas in your mind at the same time and not go crazy. That is exactly what an entrepreneur has to be able to do. On one hand, you have to believe that your business venture is going to be a huge success - not just say it, but really, truly believe it, because if you don’t, no one else will - and at the same time recognize that it could very well fail, and do everything you can to make sure it doesn’t.

4. What is the single most important piece of advice that you would give to someone who is thinking of starting their own business?

A. Based upon my own experience, I would say that the most important element in starting a business is a passionate desire to change the world in some way. I’m not talking about starting a home-based business that is really about making a living. That kind of business doesn’t require a lot of risk or overhead. I’m talking about a bricks and mortar business like Starbucks, or anything that involves a fair amount of startup capital and ongoing operating expenses. Taking on the responsibility of that kind of enterprise is much harder than a job - any job. You can always quit a job - but you can’t just quit a business, so you better be driven by passion, not just the desire to make a living. There a lot of easier ways to make a living than starting your own business, so I would advise anyone thinking of tarting a business to think long and hard about how passionate and committed they are to their dream.

5. How important would you say a Business Plan is in the process of starting a business?

A. A business plan should really be just what it sounds like - a plan for launching and running a business - something analagous to a road map. But if you are looking to raise money from investors, your business plan becomes an instrument for attracting investors. I didn’t know that when I first embarked upon the process, and I made the mistake of bringing in consultants to help me with the business plan who thought that their job was to help me raise money, not to create a realistic road map. These can be two quite different things. Investors don’t like to hear bad news, but the truth about any new venture, especially one that has never been tried before, is that it will likely take a lot of time and money to make it successful, and no one seems to want to say that in a business plan. But if you don’t, you can create unrealistic expectations for your investors that can make eventually your life a real misery.

6. You speak of “the dirty little secret” of starting your dream business? What is that “dirty little secret”?

A. The dirty little secret is that is you raise money from investors to get your dream business off the ground, if you don’t have a majority ownership position, then you don’t own the business. That means that someone else owns your dream business - someone who may not have the passion for it, the dedication to it or even the understanding of if that you do.

7. What is the most important thing that first-time entrepreneurs should know about dealing with investors?

A. Investors are not your friend. Their loyalty is to their money, not to you.

8. Since a Business Plan is a necessary tool to attract investors, what should a first-time entrepreneur who doesn’t have experience writing a business plan do?

A. Based on the experience that I had, I would advise anyone thinking of raising money to start a business to write their own business plan - and if they don’t know how to do that, look into getting a job. Failing that, I would say, only look for investors who are passionate about your concept and prepared to accept losses for three years. Any investor not prepared to accept losses for three years should be eliminated from the discussion.

9. Is there anything positive about starting your own small business?

A. The only positive element is the ability to bring something new and different into the world. For example, if you are a really good chef, why would you start your own restaurant, if what you end up creating is just another restaurant? If it’s something unique, something that no one else has ever created, then the risk, the work, the responsibility and pressure may be worth it. Otherwise, work for someone else. If you don’t like it, you can always quit.

10. What is the most important difference between an investor and a partner?

A. Either one can turn your dream business into a nightmare, but, at least a partner shares some of the responsibility for what happens in the business. An investor only cares about the return on investment - not the business.

To Contact Alan Stransman:

Phone: 416-519-4427

Email: [email protected]