Monday, July 6, 2009

If You Want to Succeed at Business, all You Have to do is be Good at Gin

I didn't say "drink gin" but that doesn't hurt either sometimes! But really, you gin drinkers- what do you see in it? It tastes gross and makes you feel awful. Even the high priced stuff is awful. If you have any ideas for me about a decent gin drink that doesn't make you feel terrible the next day- I am completely open to suggestions. In the meantime...
If you want to succeed in business- simply learn to play a killer game of gin- because it's exactly the same thing.
You are dealt seven cards over which you have no control. Sounds pretty much like life, huh? (No control over who your parents are/were, where you were born, what year you were born, who are your bothers and sisters- I met a woman this week, her uncle was Lucky Luciano!) BUT, yes you do have control! (I love the title of a the book, "The Power to Influence Anything".) Do you just tap the deck and let the dealer go on with it? Do not do that.
If it is not your deal, you have the final "cut" of those cards. By freakin' golly, CUT THEM. You never let anyone decide anything as long as it's in your hands to do something about it, got it? You cut those cards one last time until you feel good about it. That's the intuitive nature of being an entrepreneur. You can't explain it sometimes, but you see how to corner a market better than other people are doing it. You "feel" when you know that you've got it right.
There you sit. Your cards are dealt. Take a sip of your coke, eat a few chips and let's look at your hand. Here we go...
You've got a few kings, one jack and a pair of aces. You have to ask yourself immediately- what assets do I have? What liabilities do I have? How can I turn what I've got into something more? How can I turn what I've got into something more and at the same time, minimize my risk (by offsetting my liabilities) and still have a better plan to win then the competition?
Gin is just exactly like business. It's always a game and everyone plays better if they realize it's always a game. If you get all caught up in risk and loss and money and money and money and I might loose money- you better get the hell out of the game. You can not be risk adverse to be an entrepreneur. You can not be risk adverse to win a game.
Back to our cards. Do not be enticed, drawn away with, or beguiled by those kings, queens and jacks. Oh, I know. They look all colorful and royal and exciting. But look at them for what they really are. If your opponent goes "out", you are going to be left holding those hefty heffers and each one is going to cost you ten points each!
Kings, queens and jacks are not for the first part of a winning game. Don't even go there. Kings, queens and jacks are, at the beginning, big boys you should not be playing with. (Unless you end up with three of a kind- so be it. OR, you happen onto the third needful card to complete your set if your opponent drops it early or you draw it early). Do not be enticed by their charms. Kings, queens and jacks are, in business, liabilities that will cost you dearly. GET RID OF THEM NOW, WHILE YOU HAVE A CHANCE. They are what does not pay you squat to have in your possession. They are, when you are building a business and you simultaneously go after: the big house, the fancy car, the plasma screens, the European vacation, the boat, the load of clothes, and the perpetual dinning out. That's just fine for when your business is really raking it in and you are out of the beginning of the game. If you think you are going to get away with that kind of behavior early on, let Entrepreneur Chick tell you straight up- you are not being wise. Not wise at all. You're going to be left holding the bag and wondering just what happened when the creditors are calling and demanding to be paid back.
Back to our game. Dump the big cards and keep going after, what is not so attractive at first, maybe a pair of twos or threes or some un-enchanted and unglamorous set of clubs- keep building your asset columns little by little, see? And you're going to toast your competitor.
The "rounds", we can liken to years. Years you've been in business. When you've been in business for a certain number of years, your tolerance for risk can increase and you can play with higher volumes or numbers, but don't ever forget the principle is still the very same. It's a game. Play to win. Get the liabilities out while at the same time, you are building your assets. Keep doing that. Just that. That's pretty easy, isn't it?
After ten years, what do you think your score card will look like?
Let's talk frankly about return. If you expect an earth shattering return in the first, second or third year of business, it's just not a realist thing to do. Like anything else, it takes T-I-M-E to build something of value. (Unless you're dealing crack, and from what I hear, that has a fairly good return. Ha.) You will make plenty of mistakes. If you are paying attention, you will learn from them, not repeat them, do more of what's right, less of what's wrong and see a great result and return at the end. Is not that what you'd like? A great return?
Just keep doing what you know to be right. Slow and steady. I promise you it will pay off in spades.
If you want to play gin with me sometime, and if you win- my favorite thing to do is show you the one remaining card I will always have left. One ace. One point is all you are ever going to get from me.
I used to know what it's like to give out more points in the end. But I found out it's just as easy to intentionally win, as it is to unintentionally lose. Those who understand what I just said, will understand what I just said.
Your deal.

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