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Saturday
Feb182012

One Sure Formula For Failure

One Sure Formula For Failure

It's true. There are people out there trapped in jobs that don't even make them a minimum wage living.

What's worse is that many of these folks actually own the business that pays them so poorly. Unlike a regular employee, they can't leave (or don't see that as an option) because high levels of debt, day to day cash flow problems, or self-esteem issues.

At one time, I consulted for a living. Still do it occasionally.

I can't tell you how many times companies, large and small, would pay me (very well) for my time and then discard any evidence contrary to their own preconceived notion of the problems (or opportunities) facing the business.

Many small companies are train wrecks, either in progress or looming on the horizon.

Desperation is a terrible state of mind; it often leads people to do strange things. A lot of business owners are in the stage I call "mental vapor lock".

Once that point is reached, they can no longer detach from the present long enough to make rational decisions about tomorrow. Instead, they continue to act out their own peculiar versions of reality day after day until they are unable to continue at all.

Bankruptcy. Death. Arson. These are considered by some at this stage to be acceptable (even desirable) choices.

You can't help them any more than you can help someone overcome drug or alcohol addition. They have to help themselves.

But that's not the worst of it - not in my opinion anyway. No, the worst part is that these are usually hard working, dedicated folks. These are the businesses that keep civilization working on many levels. They serve meals, grow food, change the oil, launder garments, or offer general sale goods and services. And they pay taxes, all kind of taxes. Payroll, State and Federal Income taxes, sales taxes, inspection fees, the list can go on forever.

One more point, you can add a lot of property owners to this category too. Would be landlords. Wannabe real estate kings.

What happened to these people?

They became good students of the wrong lessons. They didn't learn to think for themselves. They used rudimentary rules. Fuzzy formulas. And made no allowances for personal learning disabilities.

You see, these folks were given rules and formulas which they learned only too well. Own your own business, be the boss, work hard, give good client service, use maximum leverage, be dedicated, etc.

The problem is that they never learned to think beyond those rules and formulas. No one ever explained to them that success is a moving target. And that no rule or formula works all the time. Except maybe this one:

Learning disability + Inability to adapt = Failure.

Question: When do you know it's time to find a new formula?

Answer: As soon as the old ones no longer work. Right then, and not a moment later.

We are all unique. And I believe those of us who are successful in business - or any other endeavor - come to that success in our own way.

We may begin with generalized formulas, but to truly reach any level of success we must adapt those rules to our environment, our skills, and our dreams.

The future will always belong to those who can embrace change.

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