I think I have had enough of how far we are willing go to keep up this stupid game of professional athletes and agents trying to outdo the salaries of others. Somebody has to say it, and call out the ridiculousness of professional sports contracts. This past week we have seen Major League Baseball contracts rise to an obscene level. This morning I wake up to the news that Robinson Cano will receive a $225 million contract for the next 9 years to play baseball for the Seattle Mariners…but the deal is not yet totally finished. He wanted a $305 million deal for 10 years, but did not get it. Wow. Really? This of course is on the heels of other contract negotiations that happen every year at the conclusion of a professional season – whatever the sport. Is it never enough?
As a former four sport athlete who did pretty well in my day as an All-American in two sports, and All-State in all four in high school, I had to hang up my jersey during college due to devastating injuries. But life seemed to go on for me. As an athlete who has played on high school state championships, and a collegiate national championship team, and to watch my kids play sports, I am so excited to watch athletes participate in the sport of their choice! But I have to say something here about these ridiculous professional sports contracts that seem to have no end of how much athletes will be paid.
In comparison, I run a foundation today for military veterans to help them with their struggles of lack of employment, and help them start businesses. It is truly an honor to server those who have sacrificed so much on our behalf. Doing this kind of work is also a great eye-opener to how screwed up our thinking is. An athlete who is coddled, and pampered and given millions of dollars each year to entertain is a stark contrast to the comparison of our military heroes who have fought for our freedoms. Our soldiers come home to oppressive debt, uncertainty of making a living and supporting a family, and very high unemployment…to the tune of 30% unemployment for young veterans.
Can you image what the impact would be, or how many jobs could be created, if small businesses had access to the same amount of even one highly paid athlete? I have done a little number crunching, and I can tell you that if small businesses had even a fraction of the money spent on these athletes, they could create billions in revenue, and tens of thousands of new jobs.
Since I helped create the Entrepreneurship system at a major university, and have taught over 3,500 students to specifically learn how to launch and grow a successful business, I have seen what the numbers look like. Here is a quick overview of the impact that $225 million, or in this case $225 million over 9 years could be for creating jobs based on a 10 year study of creating, launching and teaching entrepreneurship to 3,500 students.
The numbers from my experience are laid out like this: 3,500 students taught, roughly 34% ended up starting a business (1,190) and these small businesses created an average of 12 jobs. (Several of the businesses created hundreds of jobs, but on average it is about 12). The economic impact is 14,280 new jobs created, and roughly $92 million in annual revenue. Staying on our theme of 9 years – the combined 9 year revenue is about $835 million. On average these new companies raised about $57,000 each to launch, which comes to about $67 million raised to launch 1,190 businesses. The revenue produced with these 1,190 companies is 12X the initial investment!
Let’s get back to my question, “can you image what the impact would be if small businesses had access to the same amount of even one highly paid athlete?” If you take the same kind of formula, it would equal $2.7 billion! Now I realize that there is not an exact comparison of these two examples of athletes and business owners, but the notion of creating jobs for many, versus a ridiculous number being paid to one person, it really is crazy.
I also know how much time and effort, blood sweat and tears athletes put into building their career. That is not in question here, what is in question is how much are we willing to keep shelling out to be entertained? And, when will we stand up and start helping small businesses get to the next level of creating jobs, generating revenue, and growing our economy?
Millions of people love to watch athletes perform, and I am certainly one of them. It’s time to start thinking more clearly about creating more jobs. What if we took it even one small step further…what if we had the athletes take 10% of their pay and donate it to a charity that will do good in local communities? Now that would be something that is newsworthy and worth writing about!
Lately, I have been asked several times what it took to raise over $1 billion over a 7 year span while working with an amazing charity. What I have noticed is that SME’s (Small to Medium Enterprises) are looking for a reason to be involved raising charitable funds, and charities are always looking to find a positive way to promote their brand and raise more funds. In light of this I decided to create a workshop that goes into a lot of depth of the positive results that come from charities and SME’s working together to create something special.
Another trend I have seen during the past year is that many charities are looking outside of the traditional fund raiser who has been focused mostly on securing major gifts from high net worth individuals, and instead have broadened their search for entrepreneurial, big picture, visionary leaders who bring more innovative ideas to the table. This is GREAT NEWS for the charity and for the entrepreneur because both will benefit from the more “entrepreneurial thinker.”
I have so many stories to share about this topic, and will share several of them over time, but the message I want to drive home today is the power behind the brand, passion, contacts, and innovation that combine together to create immense success. Many charities and corporations that I have worked with over the past decade seem to have excellent programs in place – but lack a few important elements to really drive home the mission in the minds of potential donors to the cause. Charities are usually run, well, like a charity…meaning they tell people to just give them money because they will do good things with it. That is not the question on the mind of the donor or corporation. The real question is “how will you show a return on my investment?” Other than just feeling good about doing good, charitable causes need to show some measurable ways of a return on the investment made by people/companies.
DeLon Mork is one small business owner who goes above and beyond to make a difference in his community. He owns a quick serve restaurant (Dairy Queen) in Madison, SD and he has a passion to raise money for children in his area. A father, and a business owner, DeLon wanted to make a difference in local community by participating in an annual event to sell his signature product (Blizzard) and take the proceeds to be donated to his local children’s hospital.
Madison, South Dakota has a thriving population of 6,809 people. So to measure success it would be great for DeLon to sell to 25% of the population, or around 1,700 Blizzards in one day. But that seemed too low, and DeLon set out to really make a difference, and ask his friends, family, employees, vendors, the mayor, the county supervisor and a whole lot more people in Madison and the surrounding areas – to buy two Blizzards. The results the first year DeLon’s store participated were simply amazing…he sold over 12,000 Blizzards and raised over $34,000! He caught the vision and shared his passion with as many that would listen. He even drove 75 miles to deliver Blizzards to businesses who pre-purchased the cool treats.
The local hospital was more than thankful for DeLon’s passion, and they rewarded him with some catering contracts, some local PR on the radio, in print and on TV by asking their media contacts to run a story about DeLon’s success. This in turn has not only brought in more business to Delon’s DQ, it has endeared him in the hearts and minds of the local and surrounding customers. The return on his investment has been immense. The ROI to the local customers is huge as they can stake a claim to the money raised to help sick and injured children in their community.
Here are three things businesses and charities need to remember when they are asking customers and donors to do business with them…And a friend of mine, Nancy Haggerty taught me why this formula is so important. As a customer or donor, I want to know:
- Do you care about me?
- Can I trust you?
- Do you excel at excellence in all that you do?
When you prove this to your customers, you will always come out ahead! And, you and the business will look back and say that your investment, or their investment was definitely met with a solid return.
Make it a great day!
send me a note if you agree…email@example.com
Cashing In On The Next Huge Trend
By Brian Hazelgren
Wouldn’t it be cool to have a crystal ball to peer into the future and see the next trend coming so you can position yourself to be at the front of the wave? There are plenty of opportunities out there to latch on to and enjoy the prosperity that comes from hard work, perseverance, and oh yes, being in the right position and the right time.
I’ve asked myself many times how I could know when the next big idea will take shape to build a new industry, or at least position me to take advantage of a good position and ride the wave. I mean how do you know? Is it gut instinct…is it following other trends…or could be as simple as someone introducing you to an opportunity that could be the right fit for you, at the right time?
Riding the next wave is exciting to think about, but the only problem with riding a wave is that it coms to an end. So maybe a longer approach is needed…something that could last a decade or two. Something that you can be a part of and not only have a lot of fun participating in, but also be in the position to cash in on all your hard work.
A megatrend is a large, social, economic, political, environmental or technological change that takes time to form. Once in place, megatrends influence a wide range of activities, processes and perceptions, in business, the buying patterns of people, and in even in government – in many cases for decades. They are the underlying forces that drive trends. (i.e. aging population)
A megatrend is an event or movement that attracts abnormal attention from the common people and remains a craze for a certain time period. These trends have the potential to alter the movement of any market, state or society. In other words, these trends give people an insight of what lies ahead in the future. For example, a decrease in youth population and an increase in the elderly people is a megatrend that the world would confront in the coming years, thanks to the advancement in medicine and the health industry.
A megatrend is longer in duration and lasts for seven to ten years approximately, it could even last decades. These megatrends can be political, economical, social and technological in nature. Megatrends when compared to a fad have a slower formation.
A “trend” is an emerging pattern of change likely to impact buying patterns or social interaction with a network of people and require a response. (i.e. sharing social media with friends, family, and colleagues).
• Does it impact the emotional buying patterns?
• Is it significant? Is it broad-based? Is it national or regional in scope?
• Is it short-term or long-term?
• Is it measurable/trackable/observable?
• Is it actionable? Is there an innovative response to address new circumstances?
An “issue” is a controversial, debatable or “hot” topic or an innovative state action. (i.e. changes in Medicare or General Healthcare)
Think about the social media craze that has taken shape during the past decade. Companies have seen their technology take hold over time and all of a sudden millions of people are using the new platform to interact with their social graph. Then the companies are acquired for hundreds of millions or billions of dollars, or they do an initial public offering and raise billions. All of this is accomplished because a trend turned into a megatrend.
So where is the next mega trend lurking? Is it in technology, real estate, media, or healthcare? Well, I’m going out on a limb here to say that the mega trend I have in mind has been forming quite literally for the past decade, and is about to take center stage with an explosion of information and new products.
The megatrend I’m referring to is in healthcare. We are a nation obsessed with better health and essential products that help us reach our quest of a more healthy body and mind. Nothing wrong with this, and I too subscribe to the notion of being more healthy. With the new healthcare program we so dearly refer to as Obamacare coming in 2014, we are going to need to be more healthy.
Let’s talk for a moment about the trends that have happened over the past 25 years that have spawned not only new companies, but have created new industries for growth and development. I’d like to focus on what has been a hot product for creating a buzz about how that particular product will change your health for the better. These same products also created wealth for the companies and the distributors who have marketed these products.
These five trends have each lasted for about 5-8 years, and we all bought into the notion that we had found the fountain of youth. Then when another product was introduced as a little different that the rest of the pack, we switched our focus and started buying in the new category, believing again that the new product would be our saving grace for finding better health.
- First, herbs and vitamins
- Second, pills and capsules
- Third, essential oils
- Fourth, the latest super fruit in a drink
Each of these trends not only were the catalyst of creating some pretty good products, they developed industries to attract more buyers, which in turn created a perpetual motion of a monthly buying cycle and we simply could not live without the product.
The fact is, these products have given us some essential ingredients to help us feel better, look better, perform better, and even think better. Not too many people would argue that there are good products out there that accomplish these things. We have all taken them with the hope that the products would live up to hype. In some cases they have lived up to the hype, but not in all cases.
I’d like to cut to the chase and ask where each of the above products categories receive their essential ingredients? Where do the herbs, vitamins, pills, oils, super fruits all come from? Are they manufactured to just be supplements, or are they truly essential to the health and well being of our bodies? What is the primary source of where these products can claim to have come from? For me the answer is simple…they all come from seeds.
The secret to the science behind the best products that give us the ultimate source of essential nutrients literally comes from the seed.
So where are the products that provide a wide range of essential and powerful antioxidants, minerals, and phytonutrients (the delicate plant compounds known to give plants their color and provide humans with powerful immune-boosting agents). Where is the exclusive formula of organic ingredients that contain the most natural, absorbable forms of many vital nutrients?
There are certain seeds and their essential oils that have been around for thousands of years, and are the basis of providing essential elements for optimal health. This report focuses on three:
- Black Cumin
- Black Raspberry
- Chardonnay Grape Seed
Black cumin seed has been medicinally revered for over 3,000 years. Its wide range of healing properties has been recognized by a host of civilizations from the ancient Egyptians to the prophet Mohammed. These cultures praised the seed as a remedy for a host of ailments including:
- inflammatory diseases,
- digestive disorders,
- parasitic infections,
- pathogenic infections,
- common cold and flu symptoms,
- and some cancers.
It’s no wonder that the founder of Islam regarded this exceptional seed as the most powerful healing substance available, saying:… “Indeed it has a remedy for every disease except death.”
Black raspberry seeds contain natural plant chemicals that act as antioxidants to locate and destroy disease-causing free radicals. In fact, raspberries rank among the top 10 high-antioxidant fruits and vegetables. Among several potential benefits, the components in raspberry seeds may help prevent infections, heart disease and cancer.
Raspberry seeds contain antioxidant-like phytonutrients including ellagitannins and anthocyanins that may help fight cancer, viruses, inflammation and a number of other conditions. Antioxidants scavenge and destroy cell-damaging substances, called free radicals, that can occur naturally in the body or from exposure to environmental toxins. Although ellagitannins exist in most berries, raspberries contain the highest levels, according to immunology specialist Dr. Susan Thorpe-Vargas. Anthocyanins, also found in many berries, help provide some of the color pigment in plants and fruits.
Antibacterial and Antiviral Benefits
High amounts of the ellagitannins in raspberry seeds may help fight bacteria and viruses. The coiled structure of DNA, or deoxyribonucleic acid, in bacteria must untwist itself to replicate and spread throughout the body. This process requires an enzyme called gyrase. Ellagitannins may inhibit this enzyme and halt bacterial spread to prevent illness. This antioxidant also may prohibit the action of another enzyme involved in the proliferation of viruses. Unlike bacteria, viruses cannot replicate and must “hijack” and insert their DNA into a host cell. Ellagitannins stop an enzyme, called integrase, from enabling this process, according to Thorpe-Vargas.
The antioxidants in raspberry seeds may lower levels of cholesterol to promote the health of blood vessels and reduce the risk of coronary artery disease. Medical doctor Ray Sahelian cites a study published in the July 2009 edition of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, which observed the effects of anthocyanins on 120 subjects with high cholesterol. Participants, aged 40 to 65, received either 160 mg of anthocyanins or a placebo twice daily for a period of 12 weeks. Subjects receiving anthocyanins exhibited lower levels of dangerous low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, or LDL cholesterol, and improved overall cholesterol levels.
Grape seeds have an abundant source of flavonoids, a large class of compounds found naturally in many plants and foods. More specifically, grape seeds are brimming over with a class of flavonoids called proanthocyanidins.
- Proanthocyanidins have special value for brain health for at least two reasons – their free radical-quenching antioxidant effects and their collagen-protecting effects.
- In some test models, proanthocyanidins are 50 times more potent antioxidants than the two most famous antioxidants, vitamins C and E.
- Proanthocyanidins have also been shown to markedly delay the onset of lipid peroxidation and to effectively chelate iron ions. Free iron ions are some of the most powerful promoters of lipid peroxide, hydrogen peroxide and hydroxyl radical production. This is a major contributor to the pathogenesis of Parkinsons disease, one of the most common neurological diseases of the aged.
- Proanthocyanidins are even able to cross the blood-brain barrier in order to protect delicate brain and nerve tissues.
- Perhaps even more important than its sheer power as an antioxidant is how grape seed extract interacts with other components of the body’s antioxidant defenses. The proanthocyanidins found in grape seed extract help other antioxidants regenerate after neutralizing free radicals, allowing them to continue the antioxidative fight.
Grape seeds contain high levels of proanthocyanidins, which are powerful antioxidants that aid in reducing free radicals and regenerating depleted antioxidants. Proanthocyanidins have proven to have a special value for brain health and cognitive function due to their free radical quenching antioxidant effects and their collagen protecting effects. Proanthocyanidins have proven to be especially effective in neutralizing the hydroxyl radical, the most damaging of all free radicals, as well as lipid peroxides (rancid fats).
It’s a common fact that seeds are Nature’s Antioxidant.
Because through the process of natural selection, plant species have honed and perfected their various “fruits” as powerful defenses against the harsh oxidative conditions of the environment.
The seed ensures the survival of the species. In fact, the fruit of the plant is meant to feed the seed—to help it thrive despite being faced with harsh environmental circumstances. Without the protection of antioxidants in the fruit, the powerful radioactive light of the sun would destroy the vital seed DNA, the key to every species’ continued survival.
The simple deduction that we can cling to here is that health-related products should start with the foundation of life: the seeds. And, they should come from only the best quality seeds of organically-grown plants. Additionally, these seeds come with unequaled concentrations of phytonutrients, which should be carefully derived through a certified, cold-pressed process that preserves fragile plant enzymes. These enzymes are almost always destroyed through conventional food processing and cooking.
With the ideal source and the ideal process, the product should maintain the delicate organic compounds that are missing in the modern diet. It’s about balance. It’s about having the healthiest form of continuous energy. It’s about combining the most powerful, proven antioxidants into one place.
In my humble opinion, by combining all of this into one source, we as a human species would hit the holy grail of health care with a source of essential ingredients, and not just a supplement. This type of product would accomplish the following things for us:
- Dramatically Increase Energy
- Amplify Immunity and Endurance
- Drastically Improve Clarity and Focus
- Reduce Inflammation In Ways You Have Never Seen
The good news is that we have a product now that accomplishes these things for our bodies! The product is called Soul and is manufactured by Rain International. It has been tested and refined for maximum essential elements that the human body can greatly benefit from. So the first side of the equation is in place for the formation of the next mega trend: a powerful product that can be consumed for the maximum benefit to the human body.
But there are two sides to this equation that need to come together. The second is the financial aspect that accomplishes what I stated early in the discussion of a movement that attracts abnormal attention from the common people and remains a craze for an extended time period.
What if we had the potential to alter the movement of a market, or society that could create wealth for those that distribute the product that also creates significant health benefits?
The next trend that is turning into a mega trend is upon us. By taking the power of essential ingredients all packaged into one source, and by allowing others to profit from the distribution of the product, you can see how this trend will play a huge role in the formation of a mega trend in the market.
I have spent my life working with tens of thousands of business executives, from start up entrepreneur to the corporate c-level executive. My life’s work has been spent training and educating executives on achieving more efficient, effective execution. This program developed by Rain International is exactly that not only from the product standpoint, but also with the training and education provided to help distributors achieve their maximum potential earnings in a distribution business of their own.
For these reasons I say again that the next trend that is turning into a mega trend is upon us, and is fully ready to create higher levels of better health, and higher levels of wealth. The only question I have for you is: do you want to be a part of it, and if you do what are you doing about it?
Brian Hazelgren has authored 10 books, and developed over 80 workshops for small business owners and corporate managers to improve their business skills. He has trained over 40,000 business executives over the past two and a half decades. You can reach Brian anytime via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Entrepreneurship Training is Different Than Business Training
Youth entrepreneurship education has been largely ignored by our high schools, and most of our colleges are just starting to figure out that this is an ever-widening chasm in this area of education that needs to be addressed. Few schools across the country embrace this economic driver, and those that do usually have the curriculum taught by academia instructors who have not experienced business ownership. But even when part of the curriculum, it’s traditional business education that gets taught.
I helped develop the Entrepreneurial curriculum at the University of Utah and taught the concepts for 10 years. Aside from the curriculum taught, we also developed competitions for the students to bring out the inner-competitor in them. We also picked up many sponsors for our events who in turn also sponsored other events for the university. And, we reached out to the local business leaders and built up a nice mentoring program. All of these things were then turned over to the student council that we help form to bring more productivity and ownership to the program. What I learned from that decade long experience is that Entrepreneurship education is different from traditional business education. Entrepreneurship education pretty much has no right or wrong answers. It is education that dives into many areas that need to be taught by entrepreneurs who have been there…done that. This is a critical characteristic that can shape kids into either employers or employees.
Entrepreneurship is at the heart of job creation, innovation and wealth. Early innovators such as Ford, Edison and Franklin were able to not only develop new inventions, but they took a risk to create them into usable products suitable for the marketplace. The foundation of entrepreneurship was to seek opportunity by solving problems and to invent products that made societies better.
Entrepreneurship Versus Business Curriculum
There is a substantial difference between entrepreneurship and business curriculum, Entrepreneurship training is based on hands-on experience, while while traditional business training is based on theory and corporate case studies.
Here are few things Entrepreneurship education provides:
- Education with an opportunity to learn and hone real skills.
- The tools to innovate new products and services that solve consumer needs.
- Ownership over decisions and ability to take calculated risks.
- Allowing students to actually start a workable business, to become involved in the intricacies of a business start-up and to realize a profit.
- An understanding that creativity and hard work are imperative drivers.
- Students with ability to seek opportunities, create self-employment and provide employment to others.
- Students a valuable education with an opportunity to learn innovation, risk, and fast business operations that can also be used in a corporate setting, even if they decide entrepreneurship is not for them
Traditional business curriculum provides:
- Theory based stories and case studies on past corporate experience.
- How to use other people’s money in making decisions.
- No real-world application to test what really works in the marketplace.
- A lack of profit realization.
- Project-based curriculum, such as fundraisers, rather than long-term business growth and reinvestment
- Prepares students to become dependent upon employment by corporate businesses.
Early entrepreneurship preparation is so important. One thing that used to drive me crazy was MBA students who did not have any basic clue about running a small business. Young companies, those less than five years old, are responsible for the majority of new innovations and net new jobs. Studies show that GenY students are far more entrepreneurial in their thinking than past generations; however, entrepreneurial activity amongst 6 to 19 year olds has declined by 40 percent. This generation encompasses 25 percent of the total US population and without long-term entrepreneurial growth, US global competitiveness, competency and employment will suffer.
Furthermore, studies show that entrepreneurship education improves academic performance, attainment and attendance while preparing them to be team players and leaders in a competitive workplace.
The bottom line is that we need to start embracing Entrepreneurship Training in our public schools more than ever before. This educational experience will be a huge benefit to generations to come as they roll up their sleeves and stake their claim on independence and innovation.
To learn more about how you can bring true entrepreneurship education to the classroom or to find out about integrating science and innovation with entrepreneurship, contact Brian Hazelgren at (480) 499-5392 or visit www.e3factor.com.
Can you think of any failures in business that may be undermining your current success? _______
I want you to focus on what is ahead, and learn from what is behind you. What things can you think of that you are presently working on? ________________________________________________
What things will you be working on over the next week? _________________________________
What will you be improving on over the next 30 days? ___________________________________
The next three months? ___________________________________________________________
The next six months? _____________________________________________________________
The next 12 months? _____________________________________________________________
We are going to revisit each of these items you have listed and see how well you are staying on task. I will be following up with you to make sure that you are meeting your goals: Specific…Realistic…Aggressive…Consistent.
As we do this together, what you may have failed at in the past will not even be an option in the future. Together we will continue to refine and adjust your plan and keep you moving forward. So “lessons learned” takes on a whole new meaning! You will learn from your mistakes, and well as others, and steer clear of them for future success.
TREAT FAILURES AS FRIENDS, NOT ENEMIES
Elbert Hubbard said, “Constant effort and frequent mistakes are the stepping-stones of genius.” Failures can be great learning experiences. As a leader, I believe I’ve had more failures than most people. But I’ve also had many successes. Why? Because, to me, “trying” is more important than “not failing.” And when I do make mistakes, I use them as learning experiences, asking, “What did I do wrong, and how can I do it better next time?”
Don’t try to hide your mistakes. Admit them, and then learn and grow from them. Since you will have failures, why not treat them as the friends they can be?
HAVE SUCCESSFUL FAILURES, NOT FAILED SUCCESSES
With each setback, Lincoln continued to persevere and learn from his mistakes. Rather than being a failure at success, he experienced successful failures. The experiences didn’t stop him; they taught him. Four failed attempts made his more resolute to succeed. How many times will you make mistakes along your journey as an entrepreneur? I don’t have a definite number to offer you, but what I can assure you is that you should plan on making mistakes, and even failing. Successful failures can be excellent teachers and provide you with sound advice on how not to do it the next time around.
SEE FAILURES AS FRESH OPPORTUNITIES, NOT FINAL DEFEATS
When shipwrecked on Malta, the Apostle Paul ministered to the people. When arrested, he saw it as a chance to preach the Gospel. As he said, “My dear friends, I want you to know that what has happened to me has helped to spread the good news” (Phil. 1:12, CEV).
When our attitudes are right, failure actually helps and improves us. It gives us a chance to see where we fall short, to change, and to learn more about ourselves and how we can grow to our maximum potential.
“Failing to try” is the greatest failure anyone can experience. If we don’t make the attempt, we cannot succeed. A very good example of this can be seen in the life of the baseball great, Ty Cobb. In 1915, he set what was then the all-time record for stolen bases in a season with 96 steals. Seven years later, Max Carey set the second-best record with 51 stolen bases. Amazingly, Carey failed only 2 times in 53 attempts. Cobb failed 38 times in his 134 attempts. I suspect that if Carey had tried more times, he would have had more failures, but he may have been the one to set the record that would be unbeaten today!
As leaders, as entrepreneurs, we must be less like Carey and more like Cobb. We must make the attempt and become the best we can at whatever God is calling us to do. We will only do that if we put failure in the proper perspective. So, let’s start establishing some goals and objectives, and move into the next discussion.
Stay strong, stay positive.
Treat Failures Like Success – Part I
As we all know, a lot of new small businesses fail each year. In most of those cases, the small business owners were probably convinced that their idea for a business was a perfect match for their skills, and in many cases, they were wrong. You can learn from their errors and avoid the mistakes they made. You can learn from my errors, and the mistakes that I have made over the past two decades. In fact, there are some common mistakes that many failed small businesses make. I have had to learn from my own experiences on successes as well as failures.
Think about it for a minute…every business has had failures. Even something as simple as changing a color in your logo can be considered a failure…because something else replaced it. Which leads into a brief discussion on the success that can come from failure.
Behind every successful person is a legacy of past failures. Consider Abraham Lincoln who suffered defeat in four elections before being voted in as President. Babe Ruth struck out 1,330 times on his way to hitting 714 homers. He also hit a record 60 home runs in the 1927 season. Then, there is Tom Monaghan who failed in business twice before launching Domino’s Pizza.
Failure hurts, traumatizes and can even destroy one’s ego, but it also challenges, motivates and humbles people…cutting right through the false impression that success is easy to obtain.
Avis Rent a Car founder, Warren Avis, gives a little advice about failure. This comes after years of business experience.
- There is no such thing as the perfect deal. Look for what is wrong with it.
- Despite popular opinion to the contrary, the first solution to a problem is usually not the best. Force yourself to list at least four other solutions…because 80 percent of the time one of them will be better than your original solution.
- If properly put together, groups make better decisions than individuals. Take advantage of the talents others possess…especially the oddball who sees things a little differently.
- Expect the unexpected—more often than not, it happens. Be prepared for the worst.
- Never say never.
Source: Entrepreneur Press
Many entrepreneurs believe that failure is essential to long-term success. “The more you fail the more you succeed,” maintains Karl Mason, author of Using Intelligent Fast Failure.
Go and get a copy of Mason’s book and read through it. It has some excellent advice on learning how to fail fast and get to your end goal. To help you with one of his concepts, he suggests that we develop “intelligent failure”—the type that Mason says forms building blocks to success–the first step is to get over the fear of failure. We are constantly dealing with failure. If you find something not working, you try something else…that means the first thing has failed. Or, that there is something better and you need to find out what it is.
Jobseekers line up dozens of interviews because they know most of them will result in rejection. Sales people call on dozens of people because they know most of them will say no. Inventors know they will fail many times over before they come upon the magic formula that will eventually work.
Mason coined the term STRAFFING…Success Through Rapid Accelerated Failure. He suggests that entrepreneurs put together many ideas and try them out quickly to see which ones work. In other words, try out many ideas at the same time. This greatly accelerates the learning process and compresses failure time, allowing you to progress more rapidly toward a solution. Each idea will possess some positive elements that will combine with other positive elements of things/ideas discarded—to form a new solution.
It’s no secret that creativity is crucial to the success of any venture. Business owners need to constantly address new ideas and develop new ways of looking at problems or situations. This was made evident at a conference on failure at the University of Michigan. Participants were asked to build the tallest structure they could, using only notched ice cream sticks. The results offered some insight into different ways of learning from failure:
- Some participants persisted in building the same type of structure despite repeated collapses, while other participants altered their designs, trying out different approaches. Typically, people who tried different options were able to build higher structures.
- Some participants peeked at what others were building and borrowed (or stole) their ideas. This can be great way to leapfrog technology. There’s no sense in reinventing the wheel every time.
- Other people worked in groups to pool resources. Just a winning team, a group can capitalize on each other’s ideas and share in the success (or the blame if the venture is a flop).
The key is learning from our errors as we go so that small failures do not become big ones. To learn from experience, including past mistakes, we need accurate perceptions and honest self-appraisal. While denial may heal the wounds failure inflicts on our egos, the successful entrepreneur spends quite a bit of time analyzing his or her mistakes and finding innovative ways to profit from them.
Put things in the best possible perspective and learn the most useful lesson possible. Work quickly to get out from under your failures and into your best frame of mind. This is where problems yield solutions.
You will find yourself often wondering why you decided to take on being an entrepreneur. You will experience setbacks…it is part of life…moving on is the key. Ask yourself “What is the lesson in this setback?” Be honest with yourself. And then ask, “Where is the opportunity?” Find the opportunity. Think it through, and come up with a solution.
Don’t beat yourself up emotionally about setbacks or the past; use them to change the future. As an entrepreneur you will need to have (or develop) a high sense of tolerance to failure. It is inevitable that you will fail at something…even multiple things. Learn from it and move on.
Sometimes an attitude adjustment is needed in dealing with stress and pressures. Bad things happen to good people, but often there is a big difference in reality and your perception of it. When tense moments creep into your life, ask yourself, “Is this really a crisis, or am I making a mountain out of a molehill?”
Think about this…reality must be balanced with a courageous sense of vision and perseverance.
For those who listen, setbacks are good teachers. (If you don’t listen you are doomed to experience the real definition of insanity…doing the same thing over and over and over, and expecting a different result.) Mix it up a bit. Try something a little different. Thomas Edison failed over a thousand times before he invented the light bulb. He kept trying something a little different each time. Besides honing your business skills, setbacks can also develop an inner resiliency.
Those who fail are more likely to see the bigger picture, take the lesson to be learned from the failure and try to incorporate those lessons into their daily life in business as well as personally. As a result, these individuals are less likely to be disturbed by daily pressures. They quickly learn not to sweat the small stuff, but to focus their energy and talents on solving the bigger problems.
Do entrepreneurs learn more from setbacks than from successes? One entrepreneur has figured out an important element of success and failure: “Success is a reward for hard work—not a teacher. It is the hard lessons that I learned along the way that led to my success.”
Have you seen the inspiring commercial that Michael Jordan did for Nike? It’s the one where he talks about all of his mistakes, such as the free throws and game-deciding shots that he’s missed over the years. I love that commercial for its right attitude about failure, but I’m even more impressed with it after seeing a follow-up interview with Jordan.
A reporter asked Michael Jordan if the statistics that he quoted in the commercial were correct. Jordan’s response? “I don’t know.”
Now that answer surprised me at first, until I realized its significance: Michael Jordan is so unconcerned with failure that he truly has no idea how many shots he’s missed in his career or how many games have been lost because of his mistakes. He simply took the word of the statisticians at Nike for those numbers.
Like Jordan, we all fail. Success isn’t based on “avoiding” failure, but on “facing” it correctly. William A. Ward said, “Failure should be our teacher, not our undertaker. Failure is delay, not defeat. It is a temporary detour, not a dead-end street.”
Successful leaders don’t avoid failure. They “handle” it –successfully. If you spend much time worrying about failure, you, too, increase your chances of taking a fall.
From my book The Entrepreneurs Game Plan
I recently finished a book titled “Wise Optimism.” I decided to write it and compile some previous writings with the hope of helping as many people as possible. It’s the type of book that goes through and discusses things we can all use to help us in business, our personal lives, and in our communities.
It’s actually kind of funny, probably the biggest reason I wrote it was to help me stay positive and keep a good perspective on remaining optimistic during trying times. Instead of going to the expense of printing up thousands of copies and taking the next couple of months to heave it ready in printed format, I decided to make it an e-book.
The holiday season is a time to be happy and reflect on family, friends, and associates who have influenced us in a positive way. It brought me to think about John Lennon’s song “So This Is Christmas.” The words are simple and make me want to reflect on the things I have been doing with my time and talents (what little there may be) throughout the year; the thoughs and ideas I have had running through my mind and whether or not I took action; and the time I have spent trying to make a difference in the lives of my family, friends and associates.
The song starts off “So this is Christmas and what have you done? Another year over and a new one just begun. And so this is Christmas, I hope you have fun. The near and the dear ones…the old and the young. A very merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year. Let’s hope it’s a good one, without any fear.”
My hope is that we can live our lives to the fullest degree and to do our best each and every day…even when it seems like all we are doing is trudging up hill.
Remember that the world needs people like you – someone who is willing to jump in, roll up their sleeves, and make a difference.
In the next couple of days the book Wise Optimism will be in ebook format for you to get a copy. There are also a bunch of extra special offers that will be yours to claim. Look for it soon, and I hope you enjoy it!