I'm approached daily by starry eyed entrepreneurs who ask me, “Al, I've got this great idea for a business. What do I do to get started?" My first thought is, “Are You Nuts? Why would you give up what you have now?" For that matter, why would anyone put themselves, their family, and their financial future at such high risk? Well, I'm crazy too.
The SBA says the majority of small businesses fail in their first year and 95 out of 100 fail within their first five years. As Yogi Berra once said, “You can look it up. " Nope. These delirious folks who approach me are not crazy. As I did many years ago, we “dream the dream" for all the usual reasons:
Most of all we want to have fun working for a living. We want to wake up in the morning ready to go and grateful for the opportunity to do what we love - and get paid for it!
My answer to these future Sam Walton's is simple, “Are you willing to ‘walk the walk'?" It's not what they want to hear. But if they want a fast answer that supports their excitement, there's plenty of other resources available to them that will cater to their ego and I gladly point them there.
To ‘walk the walk’ believe this: you MUST be passionate about your dream. To quote Genco from the ‘Godfather, ’ “Life is beautiful. " Love life; love your family; love your work. Love the idea that there is no one better than you to deliver the service or product you wish to provide. Be crazy about it. Then, make a plan and work the plan. Not today sometime; not tomorrow; not in a few days; but NOW!
Business is about making a profit, right? Not totally. Profit is but a small part of the revenue dollar. The rest of that dollar goes toward creating, building, and maintaining your Customer base. The revenue dollar is the reward for your level of passion. Somebody actually paid you for your offer! How exciting is that? The amount of profit from that transaction will determine how much more you're willing to invest to do it again, and again, and again.
Business is about dollars and cents, right? Not totally. Here's the standard accounting formula:
Assets - Liabilities = Capital
Accounting is vital to our success. We need accountability systems to satisfy our reporting requirements, for “scoreboard, " and for generating predictable measurable results. The numbers are generated by the actions of our Customers or Clients. But they are not numbers. They're humans, driven by their wants and needs.
Are you up to their passion? What are you willing to do to fulfill that passion? How nuts are YOU?
Here's my business formula:
(Knowledge Investment) x Passion = Fulfillment
Let's explore the elements:
Knowledge (Asset) How much do you need to know about your offer? Everything. Learning never stops. However, your Customer doesn't care how much you know. They only want to know how much you care.
Investment (Asset) Not just money but time and energy as well. Are you willing to invest the time necessary to do the work? How's your health? Both mentally and physically. Do you have adequate financial resources? Your Customers don't care what it takes for you to deliver your promise. They only care that you deliver on time.
Passion Are life's challenges nothing but mountains to you? Or are those challenges an adventure to see what's on the other side. Your mission should be to enthusiastically fulfill your Customer's dreams and expectations. To be enthusiastic you must have fun. Shopping is fun. It's the national pass time. Customers have fun shopping. Customers are nuts about shopping. How nuts are you?
Fulfillment In his landmark book, “Guerrilla Marketing, " Jay Conrad Levinson writes that consistency leads to familiarity; familiarity leads to confidence; confidence leads to fulfillment. Give your Customers consistently what they want when they want it and they will rush to your store or your website looking for more.
Does all this seem ethereal and full of nirvana? Perhaps. But be assured that if you wish to command your ship properly and guide it towards distant ports that fulfill your dreams and expectations, you have to be passionate about your dream. No one else will have it to the degree you do. Not your spouse, not your children, not your employees, and certainly not your investors or creditors. They feed off you and the results you generate.
Be NUTS. Be passionate. Make your dream a reality. Plan it. Work it. NOW!
I'm Albert Guevara, owner/operator of Sierra Vista Enterprises, an international small business consulting firm. I've been serving the self-employed and independent small business person for 30 years. I provide “Big Business" dynamic and innovative strategies to the “Small Business" sector. I also provide personalized assistance. For more information you can reach me at my website, My StoreFront, Small Business Resource Center for YOUR StoreFront !