Several years back when I started my first construction business, there was a helpful article that put business in perspective. I do not recall the source of the article, but the message was simple: when you are starting out, you must be ready to face the opportunities that come your way. The analogy that the author used was that of pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters. When you start your entrepreneurial venture, you are going to find a lot of pennies. Your opportunities aren't all going to be flashy or exciting, but it’s important to understand that there is more than one way to make a legitimate dollar. You have to start with what you have and cannot afford to leave any penny unturned. As a savvy business person, you want to work towards turning your pennies into nickels, your nickels into dimes and so on.
1. Don't curse your pennies, embrace them. Get your hundred pennies and make your dollar happily and honestly.
2. When you are starting out, you cannot afford to step over pennies, you need them. Learn to identify, gather and master your revenue streams.
"Success usually comes to those who are too busy to be looking for it." - Henry David Thoreau. In summary, focus at first on getting yourself busy, go gather your pennies. As your dream is in motion you will find ways to build upon your successes. The first step is to take the first step and then keep moving forward.
3. Take small steps forward. Keep your eyes open for means to turn your pennies into nickels. Grow consistently and effectively, it can be as dangerous to grow too quickly as it is to not grow at all, both can lead to a painful death.
4. Growth is essential. Smart growth is consistent growth. As you master the penny life and progress to the nickel life, you will build skills and systems that prepare you for the dime life and beyond.
Steve Jobs, the iconic founder of Apple, “I'm convinced that about half of what separates the successful entrepreneurs from the nonsuccessful ones is pure perseverance.” If you can find work, regardless of the size, you can build from those experiences as well as the capital.
5. Learn from those who have gone before you. You can learn as much from those who moved effectively into the quarter and beyond business as those who drowned in those same opportunities.
6. Even if you reach the quarter and beyond level, don't forget what got you to where you are. Revenue is not the same as profit, some high revenue projects can be low margin whereas some low revenue work can be higher margin. You can build wealth in any realm if you know what you are doing and how to position your team. Often it is best to diversify so your business isn't pigeon holed in a specific market segment.
Artist Michael John Bobak reminds us that, "All progress takes place outside the comfort zone." The economy is evolving as such a pace that the things that worked yesterday are rapidly becoming obsolete. We have to be agile, recognize and adapt to our opportunities in order to succeed in our entrepreneurial ventures.
Life is about opportunities not convenience, and you can quote me on that. Many of your opportunities will not arrive in majestic packages or sums that will make you rich quickly. In property restoration and other service-based industries, opportunities often come at all of the oddest hours of the day or night, testing your commitment to the cause. Identify the opportunities that are best for you and your team. Structure yourself and your team to see, understand and meet the needs, values and opportunities that the market presents.