I have found that some of my best thoughts have been posted on other blogs. Over the last few days I have written a series of comments on another blog and I would like to share them here.
I had a very successful computer business. I was working 80 hours a week, and it was my whole life. It was not so fun. I wanted much more with my life, so I started to replace myself. I first started by finding people who could do what I did the same or better. This let my focus on other things. I soon took this too far, spending only 20 or so hours a week working on this business, the rest of the time doing other things and working at my church. I also started a few more businesses on the side. Everything was good, then I really started taking it far, I decided that I liked to travel so I soon was spending weeks at a time away, they could still call me but that was about it.
I had put systems in place, the only problem was that I did not put systems to watch the people managing the systems. My flaw was that I thought everyone was like me…honest and money motivated. So I put in place a system where an honest person could make a lot of money by doing fun work that helped people. The problem I found was that most people are NOT money motivated, when they have enough money they stop working, and second I found a few too many people who were not honest. Due to people not being honest and taking my customers and my assets and also due to lazy people who sat on the payroll I lost about 400k in a matter of 2 years. Much of this time I was away, traveling while managers said it was all going perfect, but they were the main crooks.
Finally I took on a partner, he bailed us out financially. Scaled back the business and made it manageable. The damage had been done, and we shut down our retail operations in Nov of 2007. We still try to sell online, but very little comes from that.
I still think that the idea of systems works, and my goal was always to be able to travel, and leave it to people, but the problem has always been the people. In my years I have employed at least 100 people, some were great and some took me for thousands, I just wish I could know in advance who is who.
Then some people asked me questions…here was my answer.
First when I mean money motivated, I mean people that want to earn big money. Most people are fear motivated, they have the fear of not paying the bills, and not having food, and not having a safe place to live BUT once those fears are gone (Once they earn enough money so that they don’t have to worry) very few people that I know will continue to do what it takes to make higher levels of income. This is why 80%+ of people have crappy jobs and are not really striving to do better.
You second question was, what would I do different. Well FIRST off I would have got out of the computer industry back in 2003 or so when it became super price competitive, and there was no margin or market. I also would not have borrowed the 300k+ that I did to keep my company alive, I would have just let it die and go start something else. But if I had to keep the company I would have had more time mentoring the employees. I would have spent more time figuring out who was good and who was bad and got rid of the bad people. I would have been much quicker to fire people, and slower to hire them.
I also would have spent a lot less money on print advertising and spent a lot more money paying people to make phone calls and go door to door. Our return for that was at least 20 times higher than any print ad we ever did.