Lately, I’ve been being “peppered” with “complaints” of sorts. Oh, complaints isn’t the right word. It’s just an overall sense of “Gee… this building a business stuff is HARD work!”
For example, there’s the client who is struggling to get a logo designed for his business. He signed up and paid his money ($200) to an online company that promised “satisfaction” and came back with four nice, high quality, “generic” logos for his business.
His business is not “typical” of this genre. His original web developer “got” that when he built his web site… and I “got” that after a few conversations with him. Heck a year later, he still holds my feet to the fire reminding me of that fact!
The problem was that this logo company didn’t get it. He tried SEVERAL times to explain it to them, and each time they kept “regurgitating” back the same “generic” logo samples. Obviously, they didn’t WANT to get it or weren’t capable of understanding. Either way, they were NOT gracious when he asked for his promised “satisfaction guaranteed” refund.
We had the same “problem” when we hired a video production company to produce his television commercial. We even used a firm in southern Florida so I could work closely with them on the production of the commercial. I know I drove the company NUTS but in the end, we fought and kicked and screamed and finally ended up with a commercial which accurately “reflects” this client’s business.
In the middle of the logo debacle… my client wrote to me and his frustration came through loud and clear, even through email: “Why can’t ANYTHING be simple!”
Right now… as he’s building his business…. NOTHING is easy. We’re pouring the foundation of the business… and just like pouring the foundation of a building, this is important. This is the stuff his business success will be built upon. He’ll be using that logo, the web site, that television commercial, those business cards for YEARS to come. Better to pay a little extra today than pay to rework it all next year.
I’ve never, ever heard ANYONE in any marketing circle say, “What the hell! It’s OK if it doesn’t “tell” the client’s story at a glance. After all, it’s just a logo!”
So if you didn’t know before, I’ll tell you now:
BUILDING A SUCCESSFUL BUSINESS IS HARD WORK!!!
It’s hard and anyone who tells you otherwise is selling you snake oil!!!!
The reason for the high “failure” rate of new businesses is NOT because the business “didn’t make it.” The number of business “failures” in the sense of the business was in debt and unable to cover its expenses are actually much less common than you may imagine.
Over at Business Know How, Janet Attard says:
In fact, US Census Bureau data shows half of new employer businesses survive more than four years, and about one-third of closed businesses were successful at closure.
In other words, the reason for business “failure” is not because the business didn’t bring in enough cash to cover expenses but rather because the owner said, “SCREW IT! I can make more money for less headaches working for someone else!”
As a “boot strapping entrepreneur” you get to wear ALL the hats… even the ones you hate. You get to wear the sales hat… the bookkeeper hat… even the janitor’s hat. Oh, and even when your business “grows” to a point where you can hire other humans to wear these hats for you… the buck still stops with you. If the bookkeeper you hired doesn’t do his/her job… the buck still stops with you. If the sales superstar you hired doesn’t deliver, the buck still stops with you.
I guess because I grew up a family supported by my self-employed father, when I launched my business I knew it was going to be a long, hard road ahead.
As a side note, one of my father’s close friends was the late Jim DeVoe who launched J.D. Byrider. The J.D. in the name stands for Jim DeVoe. Another childhood friend of my father is Joe Astorg who now owns a chain of car dealerships in West Virginia. Both these men launched from “nothing” and worked for many years growing NOTHING into something BIG! My father was also a car dealer who launched several other businesses as well. I grew up hearing business growth stories nightly at the dinner table. I guess that helped to set my expectations when I launched MY business. I knew the business would first have to sit up before it could crawl… and crawl before it could walk… and be able to walk before it could pull a loaded wagon!
Now, 10 years later, running my business is not NEARLY as hard as it was in the beginning. However, when the “young pups” who launched their business last October call to complain… I remind them that their new business is a BABY! They haven’t even been in business a full quarter yet and they’re expecting their “baby business” to be walking, talking and going to work supporting them. I wish I could think of an example of a time when that has worked.