How to Evaluate and Profit from a Business Opportunity – The Entrepreneur’s Guide.
Guess what every not-yet-an-entrepreneur says when they are asked what’s keeping them from owning their own business?
“No money. I don’t have enough money.”
Certainly many may not have enough money, but most people don’t understand how much money they have — or may have access to. They also don’t realize that money is just one resource they will need to get their business up and running, or bought and open for business.
Many people pass up opportunities because they don’t think about the resources they have. Instead, they focus on what they don’t have. A successful business owner is resourceful. Think about that word for a moment. What comes to mind? Someone who can make a fire with a piece of rock and some dry twigs? Maybe somebody who can open a locked car with a coat hanger or who can figure out how to get the computer program to run. That’s what successful business people can do because they can reach back into their experiences and draw out what they need to solve problems.
Most people probably don’t think of themselves as resourceful and many of you reading this probably would say that you aren’t as well. But as with most things in life, we weren’t born being resourceful, we came to it by dealing with problems. The more practice you’ve had the better at it you become. And small business owners are confronted with many problems so they quickly become very resourceful.
The first time I was identified as resourceful came when I was put in charge of the complaint and claims department for Johnson & Johnson. The previous manager sort of let things go and the folks doing the work were way behind. I was told to shape up the department and get every complaint and claim handled within a few days of receipt. We were so far behind that we were getting the second and third inquiry about the same problem. We had no hope of catching up without a serious infusion of additional people.
Rather than ask my boss to approve such a request, I found another way. I went into work one weekend and pulled every file (a complaint or a claim) off every person’s desk and from their work-in- progress temporary files and stacked ’em in storage boxes in a vacant room — and after making a list of all the customers’ names and order numbers — I locked the room.
On Monday when the adjusters came in they looked around in disbelief. Then I made an announcement. “Every call or letter that comes in today will be answered tomorrow. No exceptions. Find out what happened and resolve the matter. If it’s an old problem, one where the papers are out of the files because you were working on it, bring it to me.”
When somebody brought me a second or third inquiry on an old problem I told them to make the adjustment in the customer’s favor – and I made a note which I then attached to the documents in the locked room and put them back in the files.
After a week or so of grumbling about how difficult it was to get the answers and resolve the problem in a day, things began working smoothly. In a month all but a handful of the problems in the locked room were back in the files.
How does this help you in your quest to own your own business? First, realize that the most important resource you need is people. Good people make good things happen. Be sure you know who you are going to count on to help you run the business. Second, understand that everything else you will need are just things; vehicles, facilities, equipment, inventory, supplies – – whatever. These will either come with what you buy or be acquired, as you need them as you build your business.
What you buy will have value and can be financed. Maybe you won’t like the terms, but the money is available. And if you can show that the business you are buying or are going to build — is a good bet. It too can be financed. Maybe you won’t find a lender so easy, but you may be able to find a partner, maybe the seller might like to be your partner.
As you become successful you will quickly learn there is always money available for a good idea and for a person who knows how to build successful businesses.
Your most important resource is — YOU! And you will become more valuable, more important as you deal with and solve problems.
By Michael Williams