Imagine if you purchased a brand new car. A car, by itself, is a significant investment. This car, however, is the one that you’ve always wanted. Therefore, it means so much more to you. You might consider it your ‘baby,’ and if you are anything like my brother-in-law, you will name it, wash it almost daily, wipe down the dashboard and upholstery at any sign of dust and keep anyone under the age of 12 out of it unless they are directly related. But they must be clean and come wrapped in plastic.
Now that you’ve gotten your car – would you refuse to invest any more into it? Would you refuse to put gas in it because, well, we all know that after a while, the gas will run out? Would you refuse to do oil changes. I mean, heck! It’s just going to need another one in 3,000 – 5,000 miles, right?
In conversation with a gentle lady a while back, around the topic of running and growing a sustainable business, the woman asked me how she could get beyond living from check to check and make some real, sustainable money in her business. My response was that in all likelihood, she could not. Not that she didn’t have a great service, great report with her customers and vendors or have good business practices on a whole. The problem was that she could not see the business as being bigger than herself. She could not relinquish controls so she could focus on the things only she could do in the business.
“Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of
their appointed rounds” – “Motto” of the Postal Service
As a young person, we had a mail man named Mr. Brown. In our neighborhood, the mail carriers (still do) park their vehicles at the end of our street and carry the mail from house to house in their mail sack. I remember that no matter what – rain, snow, wind, Mr. Brown was always there with our mail.
One of the things that I see beginning to plague small businesses and make the world “un-flat,” again is obsolescence. As you know, most small businesses that start up go out of business after a few years. Only two out of the ten that opened their doors 10 years ago are still in business under the same leadership that established the business.
A little known fact is that probably only 4% (that’s right four out of 100) of business leaders ever make more than $100K per year. (That means that if our mutual friend is bringing home more than $100K, you and I are out of luck!) The reason I bring that up is because one of the reasons people go out of business is because they are under financed. What that equates to is not having the resources necessary to keep the business in business.