Monday, June 29, 2009

How Do I Get Paid? Be Crystal Clear

"I know, that's SO true!" Susan agreed. (Also a business owner.)
That entrepreneurs can easily spend 90% of their time on the 10% that pays!

It's as beguiling as the Emerald City- you know it's there, you can see it- but please don't forget about the Wicked Witch of the East and the poppies! Both will slow you down and eventually kill you.

You have a good plan- I understand. You see that over in this market- you netted a 10% cash flow return. Great. But here's the trap that's as bad as Britney Spear's hair extensions- IF YOU ONLY GO AFTER WHERE YOU GOT A

I don't mean to yell at you- but someone is going to have to if you do this!

"Yeah, but..." Tony argued. "But it's been a pretty good market and I believe that by advertising more stringently in this market, we can even do better. I mean, this market IS doing something after all."

Normally, Entrepreneur Chick is not that great of a math person. So I was a little shaky at the start- with my black sharpie and forlorn little piece of copier paper.

I began to draw. "Look, here's a pie- and of course, the pie represents our cash flow."


"Give me a percentage- how much business would you say comes from this market? How much have we gotten from it so far?"

"About 30%".

I take my sharpie and carve out 30% of my pie.

"Okay. Now- how much cash flow would you say we netted from this other market?"

"About 60%."

I take out 60%.

"Now, how about this market that you want to go after- that's the remaining ten percent, right?"

I take out the 10 percent.

Pointing with my sharpie at the biggest piece of the pie, I say, "If this huge piece is from the corporate market, why do you want to reach the private sector so bad? Do more of what's working and less of what didn't."

I have to tell you- it was profound moment. I could have easily stated in low and hushed tones, "And come back at yet another time, Grasshopper, and see if you can snatch the pebble from my hand."

Now, I knew pretty much were I was going with my drawing all the time- and what the answers were. But I purposely and strategically had Tony "tell" me what the answers were- so he's the one giving me the information to input. Therefore, if he's giving me the input data, he can thus obtain the output data. He's coming to his own conclusions.

It's the Socratic method of teaching. Back in those days, you couldn't just casually ask Socrates, "Hey, what's two plus two?"
He's not going to tell you it's four.

He's going to say something like, "Well, let's see. How about if you take those two chariot wheels- I know- they're heavy- find a few guys to help you- anyway, take those two wheels and then get two more and let's count them together."

All entrepreneurs at one time or another, have all been guilty of working on what really doesn't pay. If you feel this scenario could describe you- just get out your sharpie and make a pie, k?

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