If you pick Steven Schussler’s brain, the entrepreneur, founder of Rainforest Cafe, and author says it’s a jungle in there.

“Everyone told me ‘great idea!, call us when you’re open’. You could see eyes rolling behind their head.”

He grew used to skeptics when describing his themed restaurant, thick with tropical birds and featuring endangered species.

“It becomes easier to tell other people about it,” says Schussler. “Then you need to create a business plan, that you use as a guide. Anybody that wants to own a business that doesn’t have a business plan is making a huge mistake.”

As part of Schussler’s plan he decided investors needed to see to believe in his vision. He transformed his home into his idea of the Rainforest Cafe, by holding a dinner party one evening.

“They would call me two to three hours after leaving my home and asked me if I actually live there. They couldn’t believe that I would immerse myself into a concept and I put that much into it.”

He says his display of personality and persistence is what eventually hooked investors. Schussler adds, there are also two must-have characteristics of new entrepreneurs.

“You need to bring concept to fruition. Disney likes to say imagination is king, so it’s really important to embrace what you want to create then learn as much as you can about it. You need to become the expert in your field.”

His nugget of an idea developed into 45 restaurants. Now he’s helping inspire other entrepreneurs to paddle through those early rough waters, to reach smooth sailing ahead.