Profitable or perfect?

profit_ahead

Here’s an interesting question – would you rather be profitable or perfect?

To answer this question I’m going to focus on an article that is too good to pass up. It’s what I’ve been writing about and preaching for years.

Take a look here 

Tech startups are very similar to small businesses. Although you’ll probably have better success with a small business than a tech start up (only about 10% of tech startups survive past a year or two).

Why don’t more businesses survive?

1) It’s an uber competitive market place
2) Small business owners are worried about too many things other than profit
3) Small business owners don’t allocate enough money to marketing

The ‘Build it and they will come’ mentality WILL KILL YOU. Everyone thinks their own product or service is great. Guess what? You’re never as good as you think you are. If every small business owner is thinking the same thing than why do so many businesses shut their doors after a couple years (or should shut their doors as some businesses haemorrhage money year after year)?

The truth – you need to get your product or service in front of as many people as possible. You need to use traditional media, digital media and/or start knocking on doors. You need to do whatever it takes to make your business known. Setting up in a good location doesn’t cut it anymore. Bottom line – YOU NEED TO SPEND MONEY ON MARKETING YOURSELF. Whether you’re sponsoring a community group function or spending money on media.

How do some of the most profitable small businesses get to be to where they are today? They got in front of as many people of possible. Heck, some of them are at the point where they don’t need to do as much advertising as they used to because they’ve done such a good job in branding themselves. As a result, business just comes to them. And guess what? The number one line item they track is PROFIT!

For example – I spend thousands of dollars every year on myself. Whether it’s marketing, education or books. And guess what? This past week I quadrupled my return on investment. IN ONE WEEK! That’s a pretty good profit margin.

I don’t want to be boastful, but I get it. I understand it takes money (and time, but time is money) to make money. I spend the dough and I get it back…every single time. I’m not afraid to spend a few thousand dollars if I know I’m going to get tens of thousands in return. I believe in myself and if you believed in yourself you’d stop what you’re doing and start marketing and focusing on the things that are going to make you money.

This past week I spoke with a small business owner who was holding off on marketing because he wanted to make a few things behind the scenes, “perfect.” Fuck waiting to get your product or service perfect. YOU’LL NEVER BE PERFECT! You’ll be broke before you’re perfect. Start doing and stop procrastinating. If you’ve opened the doors of your business your product or service better be at 70 – 80%. Then you can tweak it from there, but you need to start making a name for yourself NOW. Start investing in yourself and your business and you’ll see the returns. How do I know? I’m living proof and I’ve dealt with hundreds of businesses who are living proof.

What would you rather be? Profitable or perfect? You can’t have both.

Jordan

Powerful decision-making questions

left-and-right-brain

When it comes to making a decision, your brain lights up like a Christmas tree as it tries to figure out the issue at hand and devise a plan of action. This can be time consuming and mentally draining depending on how big the decision is.

Thanks to a couple decision-making coaches of mine, Chip & Dan Heath, here are a few questions you can ask when faced with a BIG decision:

1) What would your best friend tell you to do?
2) If you only had 10 more years to live, what would you do?
3) If someone came into the same position you’re in, what would their first reaction be?
4) What would happen if the decision you make goes wrong and how far along would you let it go before you change course?
5) What would happen if the decision you make goes perfectly well?

Seeing as I have moved across the country a couple of times and have had to make quite a few life changing decisions, here’s how I used one of the questions above to figure out what I should do.

When I was living in Halifax an opportunity came up for me to move west and closer to home. It was tough because my head office was based out of Dartmouth (across from Halifax, if I said it was in Halifax, people from Dartmouth would probably kill me) and I would be moving across the majority of the country to plant roots in Calgary. It was a tough decision…leave a job, team and friends I really came to love and pack up my family and move across the country…again.

I was mulling over this decision (with the help of my family) for months. Then I asked myself, “What would my best buddy Blair tell me to do?” I instantly knew what I was going to do. Blair would’ve said, “Move you big dummy.” So, I moved and now I’m happily set up with my family in Calgary although I still miss my friends in Halifax.

On a business level, I found some of the above questions to be very powerful. Within the first week I moved to Calgary the team was faced with a HUGE decision that would affect close to a quarter-of-a-million dollars.

I asked, “If we were all fired today and a new team replaced us, what would they do?”

The team’s eyes lit up and instantly rendered a decision. It was magical. A quarter-of-a million-dollar decision was made in the equivalent of you snapping your fingers. All based off one, seemingly simple question.

As you can tell, questions are extremely powerful. The tough part is figuring out which questions to ask. I hope the questions above help you in your decision-making process.

Discover more questions by visiting Chip & Dan’s site and ordering their books. All of them are great. They have helped shape my colleagues and my career. I’m sure they’ll help you too.

Jordan

Just do it!

upholstery

My dad was faced with a tough decision 15-years ago. Sell his shop or give it a go for a few more years. My dad is an upholsterer and a very good one. He was working from home until he decided to ramp things up and open a shop in a high traffic area. He based his decision off the whole, “Build it and they will come,” mindset. Unfortunately, it’s not that easy. Especially in the highly cluttered market place where seemingly everyone and everything is trying to get your attention.

My dad swallowed his pride and closed up shop after a couple years. He moved back to the basement and worked part-time in someone else’s shop. It was a big decision and I believe he made the right one. There was no sense putting our family in the hole.

The reason I mention this is:

1) It’s Father’s Day
2) It’s a great lesson in decision making

When people are faced with a decision they will procrastinate and keep putting it off in hopes of it going away or someone else coming in to make the decision for them. How do I know this? I do it and I have been doing it for years.

I used to do up a Pros vs. Cons chart and away I went. Sound familiar? Don’t be shy, everyone does it, but how effective is it at enabling you to come up with a decision?

First – you already have an idea of what you’re going to do and this clouds your Pros vs. Cons list. Should I buy this house or that house? I’m positive you already know what house you want to buy, but you’ll go through the process anyway. However, you’ll find you have more positive things to say about the house your mind already knows you’re going to pick and vice versa. You feel it’s necessary to do your due diligence when really this Pros vs. Cons list is a big waste of time. You know what you want, so make a decision already!

Second – There’s no way you can predict the future and Pros vs. Cons lists are usually future based. Stop wasting time and take action now. Your gut knows what it wants, so go ahead and take it.

When my dad decided to close up his shop, he didn’t use a Pros vs. Cons list. He looked at his family and he knew what he had to do. Yes, he could have tricked himself into believing he could forge ahead with another 2-year lease, but in his gut he knew it was time to give up.

It takes a strong person to admit defeat. I’m proud of my dad for making that decision 15-years ago and I’m so proud to call him my father. To this day I still remember the lesson he probably didn’t know he taught me 15-years ago…stick with your guy and take action instead of wasting time on meaningless procrastination measures.

The best way to do something is to do it. If you fail, at least you tried and hopefully you learned something. Don’t think about it, don’t make a list, just do it. Nike figured it out and made billions. What about you?

Happy Father’s Day!

– Jordan