Wednesday, July 18, 2018

2 Great Analogies For Any Business

When I started in my own small business I had very little experience in such endeavors. I was in my early 20’s and I was overflowing with ambition. I personified “ignorance on fire!” My goal was simple, to never have to work for another human being ever in my entire life. I wanted to be a Millionaire by the time I was 30 and retire by 40. Sounds good right!? I was a dreamer, you can’t knock that. I was naïve though. My lack of experience set me up for some rough lessons and a harsh reality. I just assumed that a person could open up their doors to their business and then good things would start to happen. This is why many of us businessmen believe that starting your own business might be equally as beneficial as a college education, even if you fail! We certainly do learn more from our failures than from our successes. 
That first year I was really active researching, creating, promoting, branding, selling products, following up with customers, you know all the things you are supposed to do in business. I achieved some success, although limited in my view and it certainly didn’t stack up anywhere what I saw other people in my industry doing. I remember at one point after that first year, I sat and took inventory of my business and my results. It was a sobering experience. I realized that I would have earned more by working for minimum wage at a local fast food restaurant than what I had earned in my own personal business venture! At the time this was a disheartening experience, I became unmotivated. I found myself in a funk for probably 6 months time and then I snapped out of it with the help of wonderful mentors and training that I came across. Some of this training was centered around a couple of analogies that have really stuck with me even fifteen years later. I love analogies and stories that cause us to thing deep on our own. This is my preferred method of learning. I’ll share these powerful analogies with you know. 
First of all, I was made aware of a phenomenon that we have all personally witnessed, but probably failed to acknowledge or comprehend. To set the stage, I want you to think about something that you witnessed getting built, like a new house, a store, a commercial office space, or a hotel. You might even be aware of something getting build right now. There is something amazing about these buildings. The majority of the time required to build them is spent below ground, stuff you cannot see! You may be exposed to a new build project for many months and think to yourself,
“my goodness, that is taking them forever to get that thing going, let alone built!” 
You see what we do not understand is that there is so much that goes into the building process that we cannot see, below ground. You have to do all of the site planning, zoning, architecture, engineering, excavating, dealing with water drainage. You have to bring all of the utilities, digging large trenches and tying into existing services or bring them from wherever they currently are. Then there is the forms for the footings and foundation, everything that is going to keep that building standing in the event of something like an earthquake, etc. Oh and I failed to mention the process of working with the city, all of the permitting and inspections. They literally inspect every single thing you do and consider the safety, longevity and impact that this building might have on neighboring structures and the environment. Personally I am not a contractor/builder of such structures, so I am probably leaving a lot of things out, in fact I know I am leaving out a lot. Bottom line, everything that must be accomplished below ground can take many months! The phenomenon I previously referred to occurs once the builders are able to get above ground and start throwing up walls etc. Once they make it above ground, things progress at what seems like light speed! I have personally come upon a completed home in my neighborhood and remarked to Crystal, “Where the heck did that home come from???” The same goes for a hotel, once they get above ground, they are able to dramatically accelerate their progress as you witness floor after floor going up relatively quickly. It feels like you could practically sit there and watch the building go up in real time in a matter of days. You truly can, as seen in this breathtaking video of a 57 floor sky scraper going up in only 19 days!
Another analogy that really hit home for me was the concept of an old water pump, like what you would find on an old farm. These pumps have handles attached to them so that you can pump the water up from its source. The trick to these old pumps is that the water does not flow immediately. You have to prime the pump with extensive pumping to build pressure like a vacuum in order to get that water to effectively defy gravity and make its way up to you. If you didn’t know any better you might even pump the handle 10 times or so and then stop, assuming that it was broken. In order to get that initial flow, you must pump persistently for what might feel like several minutes. In reality, it probably only takes about 30 seconds or so, but if you are pumping fast, it does feel like an awful lot of work. Even when the water does arrive, it does not do so in great abundance. It will start as a small stream and once as before, steady consistent pumping is required to gradually build a steady flow with substantive volume. Certainly not what we are used to in the modern age where we simply turn a knob and have instant water at our disposal! 
These analogies apply to most any endeavor that we might embark upon. Should we have an unreasonable expectation, like I did for my business early on, we will ultimately find ourselves frustrated and defeated. If we only had the proper perspective, we would know that anything worthwhile takes time to build. Like a beautiful building, anything that is going to stand the test of time and the elements, will naturally take time to build. It is an investment of sorts. The investment of time below ground as we build a structure, yields a return of accelerated growth once above ground. The time needed to achieve such results can vary depending on the landscape, environment and the experience of the builder. The same can be said about the water pump. The investment of time, pumping away repeatedly in a rapid manner, will yield a return in the form of a steady flow of water. There are things that I like in particular about both analogies. I like that in the building example, you only have to build it once. If done right it will yield a benefit for many years to come, most likely 100’s of years. I would like to mention that even once the building is complete, routine care, maintenance, and updating is critical to ensure longevity. Think deeply about all of the parallels you can find here for your business. I know people who build their businesses fast, got their income up, but because they did not build a solid, sturdy foundation, their success is not self-sustaining. I know people who thought that once the water arrived, that it would naturally just keep coming on it’s own forever without a care. They pay a big price when that water dries up and they have to start all over, seemingly from scratch to get that business going again. Should you remain patient and steadfast in your good business practices, committed to the ultimate vision and mission, you will eventually realize sustained success. When you do, I highly encourage that you never take your finger of the pulse of your business/organization. You may not ever have to work so hard again as you did in the beginning. Let’s hope you did it right, so that you won’t. 
-Sean Escobar

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