It’s all easy in the beginning

A story from Rich…

It started like any normal Saturday.  I had my list of things to do and it started with fixing the broken blender. My dear wife stood firmly in the position of motivator and project manager; and I was the designated person responsible for the completion of the task at hand.  Being quite mechanically inclined after having spent years working in the trades, this should have been easy for me. After all, how hard could it be, right?  

I rolled up my sleeves and proceeded to dismantle the blender keeping track of all the parts in a methodical manner until… plink, a little spring went flying into the air. Where it went, I’ll never know, but one thing was certain: It was lost and gone forever.

Little errors create stress

That little mistake resulted in a very long and stressful process of looking for a replacement spring. Down the rabbit hole I went. I searched locally for the replacement spring to no avail; next I ordered a manual just so I could find out the part number; and finally I was able to order the part itself. Then I waited, and waited, and I fumed.  I was emotionally invested in this project and I had to see it through to the end. The amazing thing is just how important this little spring was. It was no larger than a grain of rice but without this part, the blender could not function; it was useless.

Most of us have probably experienced a scenario similar to this, and likely we heard that internal nagging voice constantly reminding us of what we should have done, and how we could have been more careful. They say that hindsight is 20/20 for a reason. In the end, I should have enlisted the services of a professional technician (or simply bought a new blender). It would have been much easier, faster & less stressful.

Commitment is what you are left with once the incentive is gone

Interestingly enough, starting a new small business is no different. We get in to small business thinking that all of our past experience and expertise will pay large dividends in our new career; cash flow will never be a problem because money will come flowing in by the bucket load. It’s a sure thing, right? We confidently buy in and take the emotional and economic plunge. But, after a number of costly mistakes and much frustration dealing with disloyal buyers and months of sporadic income, we begin to wonder to ourselves, “Where did I go wrong?” What we neglected to factor in to the equation is how costly our learning curve would be. It is all those little things things that we did not realize would take up so much time (like admin & bookkeeping), and so much energy (employee management).  

Education comes at a price

Your business or sales success can be done by you on your own (the hard way); or with the help of a mentor or a business coach who will guide you and provide you with some tricks of the trade. The first option will be a long and frustrating path, while the other has certainty and results. Professional business coaching may require an investment, but the return comes fast and repeats each year.

By having a mentor, you will learn the importance of proper timing, the finer details of operating your small business, and some clever tricks of the trade. This will be invaluable.

Frustration is the catalyst to change

I remember when I started my real estate career. A top producer in our office (who was my mentor) suggested that I hold open houses every weekend to prospect for buyers.  Week after week I did open houses, but I could not come up with one solid lead. After much frustration and confusion, I discussed my dilemma with my mentor. He gave me the opportunity to spend two weekends with him at his open houses. I discovered that the open houses he held was relatively the same as what I had been doing. In principle. What was different was the little things.  

He walked me through everything he did; he explained the purpose for it, and what his experience had taught him. Through this, I learned the importance of proper timing, the finer details of presenting myself and the property, and some tricks of the trade (like placing a drop of vanilla extract on a warm stove burner to give the scent of fresh baking). I learned how to create an atmosphere that allowed people to feel comfortable, and I learned what to say to build rapport with a potential client. I learned that there is a difference between doing an open house and staging a presentation. At the end of those two weekends with him, I had a renewed sense of hope for success and I immediately began to work through the process of personalizing what I learned.

Success in small business is in the little things

It only took a few weeks before I began to find qualified potential buyers. In fact, the lessons I learned had become so valuable and powerful that anytime I needed more business, I simply held an open house.  

I will never forget the certainty and confidence that experience gave me and how it filtered through all my business.  I owe a lot to that mentor and friend for teaching me what was really important – the little things, the attention to detail.

Remember: It’s those little things that you hardly even notice that will determine your future success path. So, although your success is no little matter, it is about the little details; the ones you are not likely to find in a book or simple training course. Make sure to watch for them.

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