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Failure: A Misunderstood Key to Business Success
I called one of my mentors recently about a new idea I was exploring to promote my business. It concerned promoting one day seminars which would require an investment of ,000 each. I explained that although I was new at this aspect of the business, I was working with someone who had done similar, though not identical events so I felt a high level of confidence for our success.
I figured I’d try it once and if it worked out, I would continue. If not, I would cut my losses and drop the idea.
His suggestion was “Drew, you’ve got to plan to do at least three or four of those events before you work out the kinks. Be prepared to lose money on the first few.” In other words don’t do the event if its overall success depends on you getting it right the first time. No one gets anything 100% right the first time through.
Here’s what happened. The first event lost over ,000. We made some changes to the format and the second event broke even. It was only after the third event that we got the system to the point where it made money.
If I had gone with the “I’ll give it one try” approach, we would have failed. Planning ahead to gain the benefit of our learning experiences lead to our ultimate success.
I just finished a speaking engagement in Vancouver. During one of the breaks, two ladies approached me and asked my opinion about the current state of their business. They had taken several real estate courses, read a number of books, and attended four different “wealth building” seminars; yet they still hadn’t purchased their first property. In fact, they hadn’t even made their first offer. Sound familiar? It is a very common problem.
They took me up on my invitation to discuss their situation over a cup of coffee. For the first five or ten minutes they expressed their frustration about not getting started and about making a significant investment yet not seeing any return. They shared how their personal situation was getting in the way of their business dreams. In about ten minutes the cause of their problem became obvious:
They were trying to conjure up and solve every conceivable problem they might face ahead of time instead of taking their first step forward.
Now, I’m a believer in planning and problem avoidance techniques. Yet, may people get bogged down in the “what-ifs” and never get into the game. In just a few more minutes together we outlined a three step plan to get them “unstuck” and on their way to actual real estate investing.
Never start something if you can’t afford to withstand a few learning experiences. You can't plan ahead for every conceivable twist of the road, and throwing more money into more courses is not the same as putting the pedal the metal and getting out there on the road. Failures are there to teach us something, and to make our ultimate success that much sweeter.
About the Author: During my years of law school, I completed an internship with a New York Supreme Court Justice and second legal internship with a law firm and also began investing in real estate. Immediately upon graduating law school and passing the bar exam, I opened my own law practice. From 1988 to 2001, I practiced with my partner under the name Miles and Gillard, where I concentrated in the area of real estate and business law. Now my primary focus is on helping people save money on their taxes and protect themselves from the potential financial ruin of lawsuits.
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