ICS Magazine

Admit It, You're a Gambler

November 1, 2010

Why is it, that we pay good money to watch James Bond movies and other thrillers but when it comes to our own lives, we tend to dread tough situations.



Why is it, that we pay good money to watch James Bond movies and other thrillers but when it comes to our own lives, we tend to dread tough situations. Having just watched Casino Royale, I got pumped up watching Mr. Bond be fearless when it comes to life and death situations and I find his courage contagious.

One of the observations I made being on the nine-city Making a Difference Tour with Howard Partridge was that many business owners fear taking the next step. Another observation was just how many owners are stuck at the $200,000 a year sales mark and I believe that there is a correlation between the fear factor and being stuck.

If you are a business owner, you are a gambler and I want to discuss that fact in this article. As I am writing this, it was just announced that Ford profited $1.7 billion dollars the last quarter. How did they do that? Two years ago, they took a huge gamble, borrowing tons of money and totally revamping the company. It worked.

Michael Dell, owner of Dell Computers, risked everything by betting that a lithium battery that was just being developed would work and revolutionize the laptop computer industry. At the time, it was unknown if that battery could deliver what was needed but he took the chance and his company took over the market.

Howard Schultz of Starbucks was already a gazillionaire when he decided to open up the country of Japan to Starbucks. All his advisors told him not to do it but he did anyways. When the first store opened there was a line two blocks long and people had been in line all night long just for the privilege of being the first ones in the door. The store and the Japanese market have been a huge success. He was already incredibly successful but took the gamble anyways because that’s who he is, he is an entrepreneur.

How about you? You can measure your success in a unique way that will tell volumes about your business. Ask yourself this question. How many things did you try this year? How many things are you going to try in 2011? The measure of a company’s success is how much they try to be successful. The ones that are most successful are probably the ones with the most failures.

In the last three years I have lost over $75,000 getting into the air duct business which I am now out of. At the same time, I ramped up my natural stone polishing business along with our water damage business and made a ton of money. Am I mad at myself for losing all that money in the air duct business? A little bit but what the heck, I did great in the others and know that you can’t win them all.

If you are going to be a good gambler in the carpet cleaning/ restoration business, it could be a good idea to do some of the following:
  1. Don’t hesitate to hire. So many companies won’t hire the office lady or the part-time tech because they are afraid they can’t afford them. Don’t be driven by fear. If you want to grow your company you are going to have to have other people do some of the work. Bite the bullet and hire them and then go get more business. I just had this discussion with my Operations Manager less than an hour ago. Should we hire another tech just to do night work? I told him to do it and now we will be forced to get more night work. We are up to the challenge.
  2. Make sure to plan. If you are going to take chances you must have a game plan. For instance, we are now going to hire a tech for night time work so we are formulating our marketing plan to get that work. The more detailed the plan the better. We will be working with our sales manager to determine what specific markets and businesses to approach with measurable goals. When you get as detailed as possible it takes away much of the anxiety and it can get pretty darn exciting!
  3. Have a budget. Good and precise accounting measures can lead to successful decisions. When you know your numbers, you can more accurately decide whether it is the right time to purchase that piece of equipment or not.
  4. Have fun. You are a gambler whether you like it or not if you own your own business. Might as well enjoy it. One of the worst decisions you can ever make is to make no decision at all. Don’t get frozen and don’t let fear rule the way you run your business. Realize that you are going to make mistakes but don’t dwell on them. Try and try again.
May your 2011 be full of all kinds of new decisions and strategies. Go for it, America loves the person who goes for it all. Even if he is English and his name is Bond…James Bond.