100 insights from young entrepreneurs

Day 257: Love Life When Not On Vacation
Creative Commons License photo credit: quinn.anya

Lessons get learned two ways, mostly:

1) Via advice offered in hope that it’ll save you some money, time, pain, etc. Often, these lessons were learned in a different way by the person offering the advice. Usually they learned it…

2) The hard way, by making the mistake yourself and feeling the pain first hand.

3) Give me a minute, I’ll explain this one…

Method #2 seems to stick better, even though method 1 (the easy way) tends to be far less expensive.

Method #3

This is the method where you point out a group of folks who may or may not have had the lessons taught by method #1 but appear to have chosen the hard way.

That’s OK though…because they clearly figured out a lot of things.

100 CEOs talk about things they wish they knew when they started their business.

Notice the ones that crop up again and again?

They speak of preparedness, how much time / money they spent on marketing, how they didnt expect sales to be so hard, how its far more important to pick out a market that needs a solution (and provide it) rather than to make something and then search around for a market for it.

That’s why we spend so much time talking about positioning, knowing your customer better than anyone else, doing more than everyone else, thinking about customer needs, and so little time talking about things like how to compete with a lower price.

Give the list another read. There’s some gold in there.

Old gray haired white guys

A couple days ago, the Lakers appeared a little vulnerable against the Magic after a game 3 loss.

It appeared that the Magic focused a little more and worked a little harder on fundamentals than the Lakers did, as a result, their shooting improved and nothing the Lakers and Kobe could do would stop them.

It doesn’t matter if you have a 46 inch vertical leap if you can’t make a layup or a free throw, much less play defense or make your way across the court without someone stealing the ball from you.

Small businesses have the same issues to deal with: Focus. Attention to fundamentals.

As I see businesses struggle with sales, customer retention, customer service and effective marketing, more often than not, ignoring lessons in fundamentals from old gray haired white guys are at the root of the problem.

No, it isn’t just white guys, but there just aren’t many business icons in their 70s and 80s who aren’t white, simply because of the way things were in the US 40-50-60 years ago. Naturally, there are exceptions, but this post isn’t about race relations so let’s get back to the topic at hand.

Experience is cheaper if you can learn its lessons from someone who already paid the price for it.

When I say old, of course I mean “much older than me” ( just like you do).

I’m speaking of guys like Zig Ziglar (born 1926), JimRohn (born 1930), John Earl Shoaff (born 1916, died 1965)  and Earl Nightingale (born 1921, died 1989).

Yeah, I know. Those dudes are either really old or long gone. That’s just a short list of folks, but rather than go on, I have something else to deal with that’s far more important.

Your mind. See, I know what you’re thinking.

You’re 23 (or 33, 43, 53, take your pick), an entrepreneur and there’s nothing some crusty old white dude can teach you about business. This is the iPhone age, the internet age and those guys would freak out if they had access to what you have.

It’s a big mistake to think that way. Keep in mind that those generations didn’t have some of those things – so they invented them

One of the simple things Zig teaches is to get everything you want, help someone else get everything *they* want.

Simple but powerful – and easy to implement in your business. If you put some thought into it, you can easily find a way to leverage that idea so that it creates revenue opportunities for your business.

I’ll leave it to you to discover the other things these men taught but I can’t make a better suggestion to you than to discard your prejudices and just listen.

Then take action.

PS: Yeah, I realize the photo is of a woman. There are smart, old, white-haired women that you can learn from as well.