Ready. Fire. Aim.
Maybe you’ve heard other variations on the theme.
I’ve heard this business rule floated a couple of times lately, from Traffic Tactics and most recently by Rich Schefren. The idea here is that business has changed from what it used to be. Companies that take a few years to analyze markets will find themselves without a market to enter once they decide to timidly get their feet wet.
The world is for the taking, but only by the brave who are willing to jump in with both feet. Thus we get this saying:
“Do It Wrong…Fast!”
He who does it wrong fast will be rewarded for doing. Someone who jumps in quickly will soon have the opportunity to refine the product, the site, the whatever as data starts flowing in. By the time the slow mover gets into the market, the action taker can have moved through several revisions of his product and already have a far superior offering. In fact, he’s probably on to the next product or the next market, leading the way somewhere else.
Now, am I saying that there’s no money to be made by the slow movers? Surely not. No, there will always be money on the fringe. However, the REAL money will go to those who are quick to take action. They get the status of a market leader, they get to set the bar for others to match up to. People will view future products in light of this first one.
Why Am I Squawking About This?
If you’ve followed my blog for a while, you may have read that since launching my webstore I’ve been a popular target for various web and business service related sales calls. I’m sure many site owners are.
Yesterday I got a call from some “Business Development Center” or some such thing. I don’t know if that was the exact name of it, but essentially what they were selling was help with the business side of my business. Now, I’ve got a degree in business, so I figured I’d hear them out and see what they had to say. I’ve already incorporated, so that took the steam out of some of his pitch, so he moved on to market analysis. He was talking about getting different types of business numbers, doing sales forecasting, cashflow analysis, balance sheets and all this funky business stuff. Sure, I went to school for 4 years but I’ve learned some stuff since then.
One thing I’ve learned, as a small business owner, is that you don’t waste time on useless garbage!! In my particular situation, doing a cashflow analysis is redundant because I already know that my existing business is going to subsidize the webstore until it gathers some steam. Therefore, I know I will have a negative cashflow for a while, and I don’t really need to know how many sales I need to target. My target is much, much higher than breakeven.
Now don’t get me wrong, I have a very solid handle on my business’s finances. I watch them every day. I know what I’ve spent and roughly what I need to break even. That’s not what this guy was talking about though.
For someone opening a bricks and mortar business, all that stuff is very necessary. The reason for that is credit. Banks require that stuff before giving you a loan. However, for a web business, the startup costs are so radically different from a bricks and mortar business that you simply don’t approach it the same way.
These guys didn’t get it. They were stuck in a 1980’s business model, trying to sell to someone living in the new business world of outsourcing and minimal costs.
Unfortunately, people who buy into their sales pitch are going to be hopelessly caught up in a very stodgy business cycle.
Personally, I’d prefer to spend all my time on marketing, if I can afford that. I’d prefer to be generating cash than figuring out how much I’m going to need to break even. I’ll leave that to my competition.