Thinking long term

"It takes 20 years to make an overnight success." - Eddie Cantor

Life moves fast. People appear less patient than they used to. Everyone is rushing around, chasing the next big idea, trying to make a deal that will make them money, fast.

This constant need for speed makes people want to make money quickly. They chase fads in order to make a quick sale, a quick profit and then move on to the next thing - hoping to get lucky again.

However, the most successful businesses are based on things that are going to be around for years.

Yes you can invest in the latest 'must have' children's toy and cash in at Christmas but that's a one time thing. You may get lucky but what do you do in January now that the seasonal business has gone? What do you do if you realise you have backed the wrong horse and now you have 1,000s of toys that nobody wants?

It's better to start a business which has longevity. You need to plan for stability rather than thinking about turning a quick profit. A business is a long term investment. 

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If you do not ask...

When I was working for other people, I always had much more confidence about work.

If the company needed to buy something, I would go and buy it and always ask for a discount to try and save the business some money. If they said no, so what. It was not personal, they were saying no to the business, not to me.

I am not the same with personal things and would never dream of asking for a discount if I was buying anything for myself. I just would not have the courage to do it because I would feel embarrassed.

Unfortunately for me, that feeling has carried over when I started my own business. I did not ask for discounts. Why would anyone want to give me or my business money off? I'm a small fish. They will only say no. It will also make me looker small, like I am trying to scrimp and save because the business is not doing very well and it will give a bad impression.

That all changed two days ago.

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Work / income ratio

Each week I meet up with a friend of mine to play squash. It’s 45 minutes of great exercise but the bit I enjoy most happens before and after the game - a catch-up. A chance for us both to have a chat and talk about what’s going on in our lives.

A few weeks ago during our pre-match chat, my friend told me that he had just completed his tax return and received the result, he was getting a nice rebate that would pay for his upcoming holiday, allow him to buy a new guitar and still have enough left over to put quite a bit into savings. Great news and then came the kicker - I learned that he had earned 25% more than me last year.

Ouch, that hurt.

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Don't sell time

Little and often is better than big and infrequent

Traditional businesses were simple to understand. You have something I want and I have money - something that you want - so we swapped.

If I was happy with the thing that I bought from you, I'd come back in the future and buy another. I'd get what I wanted and you would make a profit.

The profit went to pay your bills - rent, electricity bill, salaries etc. - and everyone was happy.

But next month, if I didn't need a new thing from you, you as a business owner would have a problem. All of a sudden you don't have the profit you normally would have made from me to pay your bills.

No problem, you can probably survive a month or two. But then what?

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