Category Archives: Success

If you were already successful, what would you do differently in your business?

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If I was successful, I would have a nice office. Or perhaps, I would buy a nice big home in a nice area and have a home office or loft where workers could come and work. I don’t like commuting in the morning as I am very sluggish before 3pm and get up late. Hmm, what else would I do? Oh! I know! I would have a company jet.

I would hire more helpers
But seriously, are any of these suggestions practical? What types of things could large amounts of money do to facilitate the successfulness of your business? Personally, I might hire more people to help me. I do most of my work myself now because I want a high salary. If I hired too many others, I would have to share my money. But, what if I hired part timers by the hour to help me with various tasks including management tasks? I don’t have time to do everything myself, so getting quality help in small amounts might really be a good idea!

I would get a part time manager
My biggest business problem is that I have a lot of work I need to do myself and also need to keep track of others. I can’t do both at the same time especially if others are not being responsive or slacking off because they know I am too busy to watch them. Hiring someone to keep track of everything and get back to me would simplify managing others. You might think of it as an Executive Assistant paid by the hour! They could hire people, make suggestions of who to fire, research candidates for various tasks, keep track of everyone’s progress and the general check list, plus more. Hmmm.

So, to sum it up, if I were rich, I’d have a great home office, an Executive Assistant for 15-30 hours a month, and more helpers. Maybe I should do all of that or some of that now… But, enough about me.

What would you do differently?
Think about what you really need that you can’t afford. If you keep that thought in mind, eventually you will be able to afford more, and you will be able to get what you need little by little. The corporate jet idea still needs to be kept in the air, and the limo idea needs to be put in park for now. But, you might find some practical things that can really change your life that are affordable like some better quality help, and perhaps a treadmill or an espresso machine to perk you up.

7 rules for women entrepreneurs to live by

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It is interesting to see how women function in the workplace. Women who do jobs requiring force like being in law enforcement tend to validate the expression that “a woman can do anything a man can do just as well, or better!” Unfortunately, in law enforcement, women tend to do the hostility part just as well or better than men can do it. Women often feel insecure in particular roles which society may feel do not suit their nature. Women in law offices feel they have to prove themselves, and then reprove themselves and are in an endless cycle of having to continuously prove themselves as others don’t always take them seriously. So, what is the solution?

First of all, women do much better in business than as Attorneys or in Law Enforcement simply because the prejudices against them don’t exist as strongly in the business world. Second, women are better than men at particular types of tasks and situations such as being non-threatening, and maintaining relationships. So, let’s see how a woman can optimize her chances in the business world.

(1) Let the men handle the conflicts while you concentrate on other things!
Women are seen as non-threatening. Is this good or bad? In my opinion, if you are trying to smooth over a situation, you need someone non-threatening. But, if you have to assert your authority, a non-assertive man gets more respect in the real world for being an authority than an assertive woman. It makes no sense, but this is a proven fact. So, if you are a woman and you need to lay down the law, you can always hire a man to do the job. He can lay down the law in a neutral tone of voice and people will listen.

(2) Forget about seeking validation
People’s prejudices get in the way. How they see a woman entrepreneur may never be evenhanded. So, forget about trying to gain people’s approval. Focus on building your business the right way and not on what people think.

(3) Focus on relationships
When men are younger, they have an easier time being friendly and maintaining relationships. I remember in school that I always had a huge social circle. But, as an adult my social circle fell apart and I had no way to grow it. My housemate is a woman, and I found that I made more friends through her than on my own. Many men find that they make friends either at work, at church, or through their wife. I don’t have a wife, but my spiritual group and housemate filled the void for a while. The point I’m trying to make here is that women do a better job at creating and nurturing relationships than men do as adults over twenty-five. So, instead of worrying about what people think of you as a woman entrepreneur, focus on what you are genetically superior at — building relationships. As a business owner, your success depends on creating and maintaining nurturing relationships. Yes, they need to be profitable, but even a non-profitable positive relationship can turn into a seed for endless referrals and good will. So, recognize your assets and milk them! Let the men handle authoritarian roles while you build relationships.

(4) The 30 something and 50 something female breakdown syndrome.
Femanists have conditioned society to think that women are identical to men in almost all ways. But, this is not at all true. Women do well in the workplace at certain stages of their life. But, in their mid thirties, many women I know have experienced a mid-life crisis. They lose their urge to succeed and work hard. Many want a family, but failed to build a relationship with a steady man and hence don’t have a marriage. Other women have children by this time and need to tend to their children. Then, twenty years after this breakdown there is menopause which is another serious female issue that leads to emotional instability. As a woman, you need to plan for children, emotional instability and breakdowns. But, how? Realize that in your 20’s you are full of energy. Realize that you need to create your business in such a way that you can take more time off in your thirties. Additionally, try to have other people who are reliable take over your customer service role when you reach menopause because you will lose a lot of your best business relationships if you get nasty with them! I’m just being realistic.

(5) Controlling your destiny is good
In a male dominated world, women may not have as much opportunity to move up. Men often prefer to hire men as middle and higher level managers. As a man who works alone, I don’t know how easy or hard it is for a woman, but I can imagine that in many circumstances there could be artificial roadblocks to your success. Having your own business eliminates these roadblocks. You start at the top, and build your clientele and network below you. By being an entrepreneur, you create your own blocks (or unblocks) to success rather than letting some male chauvanist do it for you! Interestingly enough, many Palestinian guys choose entrepreneurship for the same reason. They see working for a boss as constrictive and oppresive and they want to control their own destiny and give themselves a chance to get rich. Many work 80 hours a week, save up, and buy small markets or gas stations and build their empire brick by brick.

(6) Get more nitty gritty
Women can often be tempted to want to live the dream, rather than getting involved with smaller aspects of the business. There is a lot of analytics and nitty gritty tasks in business. You will not do well in business unless you learn to embrace more technical aspects like calculating profit margins, accounting, calculating opportunity costs, assessing the value of doing particular tasks, and more. Women tend to be more people oriented then number oriented. But, to do well in business, you need to be good at both even if you are always better at the people side of the business (without even trying.) As a warning, I would suggest against relying on outsourced staff that you hire for analytical work. They can easily pull the wool over your eyes and deceive you if you are not completely in control every step of the way and if you don’t understand the equations they are working with.

(7) Being in control
As mothers, women understand they need to be in control of their toddler. The minute you take your eye off them is the same minute they try to swallow something poisonous or jump off the porch only to await a ten foot fall into the bushes. Business is similar to babysitting. Most people you hire are not going to be smart or reliable. The minute you stop watching them or lose absolute control over them, you are finished. As a business person, you need to always be in control. I will not say that women are better or worse than men at being in control, but Chinese women excel at watching every move their assistants make which is why women are more powerful in China than in many other countries. If you are not in absolute control and able to simultaneously watch everyone who is working for you — you are through. So, think of it as glorified babysitting.

How do female CEO’s rise to the top?

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Ambitious girls who hope to get ahead in business are often advised to take a particular path: Get a degree from the most prestigious college possible, and then get an MBA from a selective business school Finally, get a job from a higher level consulting firm or investment bank. From there it will be easier to be into the more prestigious positions and gain more influence and responsibility.

In real life, there is a very limited supply of big jobs. There are not that many large corporations out there and not that many three million per year CEO jobs out there either. Sure, it’s great if you can get one, but you will be competing against millions of others with exactly the same goal which puts you in a compromising position.

Surprisingly, most of the ladies running Fortune 500 companies did not hopt on the fast track right away. Many took modest jobs from the companies that they currently run — they simply worked their way up the ladder. Starting out in the mail room or as a customer support representative or intern might be the best way to get ahead. That way your skills and work ethic will be known to others in higher positions which is something a college degree just can’t convey.

Another interesting fact is that many of the women who are now CEOs have been working for the same company for decades. They did not job hop. As someone who runs a small business, I see how most people who work for me either slack off, quit, or argue a lot. It is virtually impossible for someone working for me to rise to a higher position in my micro-company unless they learn the ropes over the years and gain my good graces. If there were just one person who would just be steady and hard working for me, they would earn $100,000 per year, and that is without a college degree. They don’t even need to be that talented. I trust people who stick around and deliver consistent results, not some flashy newcomer with a fancy resume. I personally am a CEO of my micro-company. I only have a handful of people working for me. However, I average $150,000 per year just because I stick with it and try to master all of the skills that I need to. My education is nothing impressive as I have only a college degree in Chinese language and literature and no formal business training. Yes, the weekend classes in feng-shui helped me too — but, in mystical ways. It is no surprise to me that the women who got ahead stayed with the same company for years — like a marriage. Steady is definitely the way to get ahead in my book. But, try explaining that to millenials.

It takes longer for a woman to rise to the top in corporate America. For what reason I can’t say. But, the vast majority of them were promoted as long-term insiders while less than half of the men got to the top the same way.

Ambition is a fundamental difference between men and women. Women in their 20’s tend to be more patient with the idea of being at the bottom and working hard for an unappreciative boss while men are in a breakneck race to get ahead. I remember when I was in my 20’s. My male impatience hurt me more than anything else. I made rash decisions which were unwise as I look back into time. But, when women enter their mid-thirties, they often go through a midlife crisis. They lose their drive while men are just getting going. And then when women hit their mid-fifties menopause hits in and they lose even more focus and drive. I have seen this happen to so many women. As a youngster, I bought into all of the feminist ideology — I had no choice as I grew up in liberal Massachusetts. But, as an adult, I see how male biology and psychology is significantly different from women and that they are not our equals. They are no lesser than us, just designed for a different purpose — one that feminists will never accept in their quest to erase their femininity and become imitation men. Feminists are sexists as they don’t accept or respect the role that God game them as women — but, don’t tell them that I said that otherwise they’ll get upset and come after me!

Lastly, the women at the top rarely graduated from prestigious schools. They simply proved themselves in an evolving career path that led to the top. It doesn’t surprise me as my own personal career path as a man was not benefitted at all by anything I learned in school. Everything that I know that is valuable I learned from hard work, experience, and learning new things on the job over extended periods of time. Mastery doesn’t come overnight, and neither does being a CEO unless you start your own company and can be CEO on day 1 (which is what I did.)

“You have to think anyway, so why not think big?” — Donald Trump

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I will agree with Mr. Trump on this and many other issues. Yes, you are spending time and neurons thinking. You spend the same time thinking small that you think big, so why not think big? But, this phrase reminded me of my earlier years. I thought that lower paying jobs demanded less hard work. After I graduated from college, I realized that I had to work really hard just to pay my most basic bills let alone having any savings. I saw people smarter than me (and a few dumber than me) in higher paying jobs where they didn’t have to work hard at all. The secret in the job market is to have skills that others do not have. Then you are not so easily replaceable. That buys you time. The other secret is that there are some jobs where they want you not to apply yourself. You can relax more with those jobs — but, I don’t like relaxing on the job! I want progress!

In business, most people think of get rich quick schemes. Others are more realistic, but have exit strategies. Those who think big in business live business. They want to be in business for the rest of their lives — not exit. Exiting is dying! The way most people do business is very boring. They have typical offices, dull employees, and there is nothing that stands out about most companies. To think big and get ahead big, you need to be different and better. You need to think of a way to out do everybody else. Are you thinking this way? I am.

I want to be the best. I want my directory to be the best. I put in much more work into my directory than the other guys do. And we have the traffic to prove that my endless work is paying off. My assistant always asks why I work so hard. She thinks I should take it easy. One reason why I’m not is because she is taking it easy and I have to do work that she could be doing for me. I thought big when I started my site and had a big success. Now, I want to keep that under my belt and do another business with an even bigger success.

What about you? Are you thinking big… enough??? If not, then think harder. Meditate on thinking big and being successful. Success is normally planned. Few have it by accident. And accidental success can easily be taken away from you. I have to go. I have some thinking to do. I hope my room is big enough for how big these thoughts are going to be!

What is your entrepreneurial IQ?

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Are you an entrepreneur, or do you want to invest in one? Better check their entrepreneurial IQ first. Have them take the EIQ test. There is no such thing yet, but there should be. But, what types of questions would you ask an entrepreneur to see if they have what it takes? Most entrepreneurs are failures and will never amount to anything. What separates the winners from the rest of the pack?

Note: If an entrepreneur is poor at even one of the skillsets below, they are likely to fail in business and you will lose your investment money.

1. Problem solving skills
Perhaps the same types of questions you see in math class as a kid that you do for extra credit. Or your dad might buy you a book of these from a bookstore to keep your mind active. This is exactly the type of thinking you need as an entrepreneur because entrepreneurs face endless problems of varying complexity.

2. Prioritizing skills
It is easy to work everyday, and not that hard to be good at something. However, learning how to prioritize your skills and be good at that is not so easy. How do you measure the value of each skill, and when the optimal time to do it is? A good entrepreneur should know what to focus on, otherwise their time will not be used profitably and neither will their resources! Additionally, you will need to put your work ahead of friends, family and girlfriends or boyfriends. If you are too socially comfortable, you won’t make a good entrepreneur. You’ll be too busy socializing to make business a priority. It helps when you start off by being socially ostracized. That way you don’t have to choose. Being in business becomes more of a way to fill the void at that point which is one of the tickets to success.

3. Time Management
None of us are good at time management. I read a Harvard Business Review article about time management. It said to avoid visiting your email. I did exactly this and saved tons of time. Two weeks later my email was filled with irate customers asking me why I didn’t answer their email. There is a time and place for everything. Emails perhaps should be the first thing you do every day, but perhaps only once per day so you can focus on projects! But, the point here (and yes I have a point) is that entrepreneurs who are poor at time management will fail for sure.

4. Honesty & Integrity
An entrepreneur who cheats, or is not loyal in relationships is a disaster. Unfortunately, these days 99% of people I meet lack integrity. It is always refreshing to see someone who has been in the same job for 15 years. That shows a type of integrity called commitment. You need that in a marriage and an investment in an entrepreneur is similar to a marriage (but, hopefully without the sex.)

5. Work Ethic
It is hard to test work ethic in an IQ test, but you need to test it. A good entrepreneur will work until 3am if they need to get something done. If you want to leave work at 5pm and play with your kids or take your girlfriend out, you will be popular with them, but not your investor which in most cases — is yourself!

6. Hiring & Firing
Do you have the right stuff to hire the right people and fire them at the right time? The problem is that the right people seem not to exist which is why I do most of my work myself. Being good at spotting someone who will do good work, be nice, and not quit is essential. I’m not sure how you could incorporate this into a multiple choice test, but if there is a will, there is a way. In real hiring, there could be three hundred applicants and you have to choose the best one, plus a few backups. If are Warren Buffet, you might go through ten thousand. After all, you want someone who will be with you for twenty years, so why would you make a twenty year decision in twenty minutes? Good decisions take time!

7. Technical Skills
Obviously, you need to be good at your core competency whatever that is. Since I don’t know what you specialize in, I can’t comment.

8. Innovation
This is similar to problem solving, except that innovation deals with finding radically new and usually technologically advanced ways of solving problems. Regular problem solving deals with what to do when your customer received bad service and needs help. Innovation deals with finding and building a computer system that can help your customer in ways you never dreamt possible.

9. Financial Planning
As an entrepreneur, you not only have to be able to budget your time and hire the right people, you need to be good at allocating your limited cash which normally starts on a bootstrapped shoestring (or boot string as the case may be.) If you invest too much money in things that are not absolutely essential, or invest money in inefficient ways to solve problems, you will go broke and fail. This is why garage entrepreneurship makes so much sense. Your garage is already paid for. You are finding new ways to use resources you already have — that is called efficiency. Which brings me to my next point.

10. Efficiency Competency
Do you know how to use resources efficiently? Do you have your callers spend too much time on each client? Do you spend not enough time on the important clients? Do you call people when you should email them? Do you spend $20 on lunch when you could get a better lunch for $11 down the street which would save you driving time? (which is worth more than money) Seeing how you handle issues that relate to efficiency is very important otherwise you will waste resources which spells bankruptcy and failure. If you are successful you can spend more on food and luxuries, but not while you are on your way up.

The joke about efficiency is that a space data company decided to have its office in space to save money on rent. After all, space is free in space. They changed the tune they were whistling when they got their oxygen bill. $700 for oxygen? I’m changing providers. So, they called the 800 number and were put on hold. John wondered out loud, “I wonder how long I’ll be on hold with this oxygen company.” His coworker replied, “Don’t hold your breath!”

11. Vision
According to spiritual principles, if you can see it, you can’t build it. You have to envision growth otherwise it won’t happen. If you lack a good imagination and a practical imagination, you can’t do well as an entrepreneur. “Think it and they will come” should be your motto.

12. Ambition
A good work ethic without ambition or vision leaves you being just another top notch grunt worker. You’ll be in the same lousy company in the same lousy position for the rest of your life. Or perhaps you’ll be promoted to management. However, those are the types of people you want to hire. Hire people who work hard but who don’t want to be the owner themselves otherwise they will quit and leave you high and dry only to find out they are your competitor. You can’t be successful unless you can envision success, be ambitious enough to make it happen, have the work ethic to back up your ambition, and have good smarts and problem solving skills of many types. Once again, if you are weak in any of the magical twelve skills to be an entrepreneur, you will fail for sure!

Think it and they will come
Space data company puts their office in space but owner flips lid when he sees their oxygen bill.

Applying “Divide and Conquer” to your business

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As business people, we can appreciate and learn from the great empires of all time. There were the ancient Hindus, Persians, Greeks, Romans, Muslims, Ottomans, the Spanish, French, and finally the British. The British were famous for their simple yet effective strategy — divide and conquer! As business people, we need to study and learn from the great military minds of the past as their knowledge can sometimes cross-apply to our businesses.

How do you divide and conquer?
The more the world changes, the more it stays the same. Technology keeps changing, but human nature, good writing, and war strategy does not. Analytics provides a way to divide an industry or market into segments. A good marketer understands the different segments and also understands which ones he wants to target for profit. The difference between business and war is that you are not trying to defeat or divide your customers or the market. You are trying to do a siege of someone else’s customers by offering them something better. The dividing part is done by segmenting and using metrics. The conquering part happens when you woo them away from their existing business relationships.

Weakening your competition
If you are a cut throat business person, you will want to weaken your competition. You will want to render their advertising campaigns as useless. You will want to undercut their prices and out-do them on service. If you can cause disloyalty among their troops, all the better. Business is like war. How you play the game is up to you. Many people are quite civilized while others are very brutal and engage in lying, cheating, lawsuits, and more!

If you gradually create very strong bonds with valuable clients and suppliers, you are in a sense undividing yourself which is a key to success. Business is based on connections between people who can help each other, so the better you get at initiating and maintaining strong bonds, the better!

The man who thought small

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He thought about pennies & ended up with pennies
I once knew a man who thought small. He is quite intelligent, more than most with a technical degree and excellent mathematical skills. He was very strong in certain types of thinking, but had a serious imbalance as he couldn’t function with other types of thinking which were less “logical.” He thought about calculating everything in a world where nothing is certain. He thought about pennies when he should have been thinking about dollars.

He lost his fortune
Despite a successful lifelong career in hi-tech, this person retired with pennies. After he sold his house, he had a fair amount of money. But, the money was spent on living expenses and post-career educational expenses which in my mind is not a good investment. Education can be the most worthwhile pursuit as it is a key to a good career if you do well in school. However, the expense of school doesn’t make sense if you are at the end of your career.

What you think about you get
This person watched pennies his entire life, and then blew a lot of his fortune at the end of his life. The moral of the story is that he thought about pennies and ended up with pennies. Most gurus in India will tell you that what you think about you become. I thing about business all day long and have since childhood. I became a business person with a lively business. Others think about girls all day long and end up with multiple girlfriends.

Your brain is limited
In this world, our minds can only accommodate a finite amount of thoughts which we can successfully act upon. Some people can get more done in a 24 hour period than others. If you are penny foolish, you might lose a lot of money which you can’t afford. So, if you are broke, then spend a certain amount of time thinking about pennies so you stay afloat, but don’t spent all of your time thinking small. Devote a percentage of your brain cells to thinking bigger, otherwise you are guaranteed to end up with only pennies.

Even successful people can get dragged down into thinking small.
I have done well with my business and have good savings. But, when I get a chargeback I get upset. In the long run the charge back is not going to hurt me. It is a small amount of money. But, I feel cheated which is what ticks me off. Additionally, I hate paying for parking. I will spend $50 on dinner without flinching. But, paying $8 parking seems like a rip off. In this respect I think very small. I would rather walk ten blocks and get my shoes dirty than pay a valet.

Don’t be penny or pound foolish. I just got an email from someone who wanted to tell me I owed $81.47 instead of $84. He sent me ten emails on the topic. I told him that I appreciate his contributions, but I don’t have time for this nonsense. I have other things to take care of. Sure, I care about $2, but the ten minutes I lost looking at all of his nitpicky emails cost me $10 in lost production not to mention a headache which I can’t stand. If you never see the big picture, you will never become part of the big picture. Count your pennies, but mind your dollars first!

Warren Buffet works two hours a day; Are you a workaholic?

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To be successful in business, do you need to be a workaholic?

Buffet works two hours a day and is more successful than any workaholic
Warren Buffet is more successful than anyone else I can think of. He works roughly two hours a day. His philosophy is that he needs to keep his schedule open just in case there is a last minute reason why he needs to be available such as an important meeting or opportunity. He is an expert at delegating work to the best people with the best terms. But, he is on a very high level, and we are not. So, perhaps we can’t apply his wisdom to our own situation.

HBR says work less!
Harvard Business Review has many blog entries that keep telling us that managers need to do less, not more. Managers tend to spend too much time at meetings and doing emails and other tasks which are less than optimal use of their time. They need to delegate more and do less.

Koreans say work all the time……
Korean culture has an interesting perspective. I live in a very Korean area and find them fascinatingly imbalanced as a culture. It is cultural to force your kids to study until 2 am for school and exams. Koreans are expected to be busy all the time and be successful. There is no room for failure, and no sympathy for losers. You fight, or you die! Very warlike just like their 5000 year history of being attacked by countries that were larger than them all the time. I believe that their history contributes to the toughness and endurance of their culture.

Korean breakdown syndrome (KBS)
In any case, something very bizarre happens to Koreans in their 30’s. Although Korean culture demands hard work all the time, they allow you to slow down a bit when you get older and still be tolerated. Maybe that is a Confucian idea since respect of the elderly is required. I have seen this happen to one girl and one guy. They started being very smart and hard working. But, something happened in their mid or late thirties. Their desire to work all the time was lost. The meaning of life and meaning of work just faded away. I personally feel that the Korean style of overdoing it to the point of insanity causes very long-term problems later in life. You lose track of the meaning of life, of relationships, family, and balance. Life becomes an insane competition to the death. It is interesting that I am sort of the opposite of Koreans. I was a slacker in my 20’s and a workaholic in my 30’s and 40’s.

To get ahead in business, it is imperative that you slow down
You can’t do everything yourself and get ahead in business. As a business person, you need to become an expert at analyzing which tasks are the most important, and why. You also need to know which tasks you can delegate and how to delegate those tasks. If you just read some blog article about how you need to delegate, and delegate critical tasks to someone who is not committed, you could lose more than you can imagine. You need to become an expert at who to trust, and how to find backups for this person just in case. The minute you slow down a bit, you will have more time in your schedule to do some real thinking, and to interview more people to delegate tasks to. It is a hard transition to go from doing everything yourself to forcing yourself to let others do much of your critical tasks for you. This transition will not happen though, unless you force yourself to let it happen, even if it is little by little.

Think big, but start small in business

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There are so many people out there telling us to think big, and that big businesses are the only ones that count. There is a problem to this type of thinking. The problem is that we all have to start somewhere and accumulate knowledge, technical and people skills. If your rich dad handed over a multi-million dollar business to you upon his death without training you, you would fail without question and fall on your face. I’m not trying to discourage you. Business takes skill, endurance, wisdom, and hard work. These traits can’t be manufactured overnight — you need to work at it. So, it is imperative that you start small in business.

But, what about having big dreams?
Dreaming big and thinking big are so important. Without a larger vision, you are stifling your company without even realizing it. You might be wasting twenty hours per week doing small tasks that don’t matter that much while much more critical tasks are being completely ignored! I personally spend far too much time doing inconsequential data entry for my company simply because I don’t trust anybody else to do it. A week ago I came to the conclusion that I just need to NOT do it at all. Let it slide for the most part. I need to focus on bigger things. If you don’t dream big you will never focus on tasks that lead to bigger things.

Part of dreaming big is to dream about employees
Some bosses dream about having star employees, others just want people who will work, while there is also the type that dreams about his secretary. That last guy will have a disgruntled wife — guaranteed! But, growing a successful business requires dreaming not only about what you are going to sell or do, but also about the systems in place for you to do that, and also the individuals who you are going to hire. A great corporate culture is so important. Also, the lifestyle of your employees matters tremendously as well (not to mention your personal lifestyle.) Part of setting yourself up for success is to spend more time testing out new employees and subcontractors. You can’t make good hiring decisions unless you become an expert at the topic.

Do you have a business model which has capacity for growth?
Most people are so caught up in their daily reality, that they don’t have any idea how their business model would grow. Is there room in the marketplace for growth? Can your company adapt to growth? Do you have the right management team that can accommodate new employees and train new managers? If you do not have the capacity to train new people to do key tasks at your company, then you simply can’t grow. And if God forbid, you lose a key employee, do you have a mechanism to replace them?

What if you have a company with ten employees.
Two are managers, and eight are workers. Those managers are so busy managing everything that is going on, that they have no time to hire, fire, inspect the quality of work, or think about growth strategies. Your company is stagnant. At most companies in India, the manager:employee ratio is more like one to twenty-four which is much worse. Regardless of what type of management:employee ratios are optimal for your company, you need to have some SLACK in the equation for someone to think of optimizing efficiency, growth, and analysis.

What about your systems in place?
Forget about employees for now. How do you want your company to do what it does? Do you dream about having better systems? Part of dreaming big is not only about imaging your annual million dollar income, although keep that thought! It is actually a proven fact (at least with me personally,) that focusing on top-line income on a daily basis raises your revenue. Checking your income stats daily and being determined to keep the numbers up really does make a difference. But, if your company doesn’t have really great systems for getting work done, then there really can’t be any substantial growth. If you are doing data entry, perhaps there is a better system you can have for checking on the quality of your work-force, or a better way of attracting new clients. You might have ideas of investing in better technology to make your work more streamlined or convenient. The specifics are something you would know more than I would know.

Your company will have an easier time growing if you are always experimenting with new systems, new employees or types of employees and growth models. If you keep everything the same, you might find your company to be stagnant, so experiment, and develop upon what got you positive results. Don’t be afraid to fail. Failure is the key to success just as long as you don’t repeat your failures! Have fun, think big, start small, and get rich — then, take a vacation for a while and de-stress!

Where is Warren Buffet investing his money?

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Where is Warren Buffet investing his money?

Many people look to the stock market for a source of quick gains. You can lose as much as you can gain. Fancy brokers have analytics that can tell you which stocks are trending up, and which are trending down. But, in the long run that is not definite and tells you nothing about what will happen several years from now. Investing in stocks is like a marriage. If you pick someone with the right intrinsic attributes you might be better off — at least that is how elderly people in India think.

The rest of the world is excited about Facebook, Starbucks, Apple Computers, and Twitter Stock.
But, Warren has his money in proven winners. He likes investing in companies that have a dominance or almost a corner in the market that they are in. He likes companies with a long and proven stable and consistent track record, intrinsic value, etc. He likes companies that have a sustainable competitive advantage! He also likes companies that are undervalued, and whose long term price per earnings ratio are favorably low! future earnings potential is another huge factor! He likes Coca Kola, IBM, Wells Fargo, Exxon Mobile, and many other very old and stable companies to name a few!

Fun stocks that are popular with the public like Facebook might make you feel good when you are purchasing them. But, they often are overvalued. Smart investors look at the price per earnings ratio of stocks before a purchase. But, what a company made in the last twelve months means very little. What matters to me is how their earnings have been over the last ten years, and whether their earnings show steady growth, stagnation, instability, or decline! If your stock’s price is 100 times as high as its yearly earnings, not only is it unlikely your shares will have future earnings, but if the stock stops being popular, you could lose your equity fast.

On the other hand, stable companies like Coca Cola, Walmart, Proctor and Gamble, and other pillars of society are likely to be around in forty years. Their profits are steady. Those might not be exciting or glamorous stocks, but you will be more likely to retire with them than some of the newer and less stable companies.

(1)Many look to the stock market as a place for fast gains, but you can lose more than you gain!
(2)If you pick stocks with intrinsic value, you will be better off in the long run

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How do big companies get big? It is not an accident!

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As a child, I used to wonder why certain companies were big and why others remained small. My father always used to tell me that the small companies were not doing that badly — at least they were still in business. When my business broke even, my father said, “At least you are not losing money.” Many companies lose big, and I have indeed been very fortunate in business.

As a child, I always used to hypothesize about why certain things were the way they were in the world. But, at that age, I had no real world experience. As an adult, I see people’s behavior, and the results such behavior reaps. The behavior of big companies is very different from that of little companies. Big companies are not always that wonderful, but at least they have the mechanism to become big and stay that way.

After dealing with little programming outfits for years and years, I realize that they seem to slack off when assigned work. They put you in a situation where you are desperate to get your work done. You wonder if you should try to bail yourself out of trouble by bribing them or run like hell. Companies that are so neglegent and unethical are common — but, what type of customer retention rates do they have? If you were a client, would you remain a helpless victim with these sadistic and negligent clowns? I think not!

Some companies have one programmer while others have one hundred. What is the difference about the ones with one hundred (unless they are lying about having 100 which is possible)? The ones with lots of programmers know how to KEEP clients as well as ATTRACT new ones. Small companies attract new clients, and then lose them through their stupidity and negligence, not to mention laziness. Smaller companies have much less skill in scrutinizing prospective employees, for one. Smaller companies also don’t have the refined management techniques or personnel that a larger company might have. The third huge difference between large companies and their mini-equivalents is that they normally have professional project managers who oversee and double check everything, which drastically reduces the error rate.

So, if you systematically throw your clients in the trash — you will never become a big company. You might succeed at making others feel helpless and get an ego trip. But God will never let you get too far ahead if you are like this.

The mindset of a millionaire

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We all want to be millionaires. It would be wonderful to have enough money, so that nothing was out of reach. But, most of us do not think like millionaires. My interest is to learn to think in new and useful ways and understand wealth consciousness. I learned that being around millionaires and their neighborhoods helps develop wealth consiousness and helps to understand how these interesting people live and think.

Here are some things that I learned about the differences between wealthy and poor people.

Driving habits of the rich
There are many things that I notice from visiting wealthy areas. The way people drive in certain areas is very indicative of their income. People who are wealthy and in the process of generating more wealth tend to drive faster than normal. In many wealthy parts of Los Angeles (near Beverly Hills, but not in beverly Hills) the drivers will tailgate you and I feel like they want to run me off the road. Please keep in mind that if you (the reader) is in India, it is common to tailgate in India and drive inches behind the car ahead of you. But, in America, we feel intimidated if someone is really close behind us if we are going above 35 miles per hour (50km/ hour). It is dangerous as well. I really feel that part of the reason they drive so fast is because they have a lot to do, and are impatient people. I feel that perhaps one of the components of their success is that they feel compelled to get things done really fast. Do these accelerated wealth builders tailgate because they want to overpower others? Are they merely in a huge hurry to get to their next item on their agenda? Or, do they just think fast and act fast — and is that quickness what accounts for their huge success?

On the other hand, in wealthy, but relaxed places like Beverly Hills and Laguna Beach, there are rich people who are more interested in relaxing and spending than in wealth generation. People drive slower in these places and are more polite as well! An interesting distinction!

Driving habits of the economically slow
I notice that in California as a whole, people drive at a moderate rate of speed, but are very selfish and don’t let others into their lane. I also notice that in other states with slower economies, people are really slow. It is common in New Mexico (an American State), that it can take drivers up to 4 seconds to put their foot on the pedal after an opportunity to proceed presents itself. I start honking my horn if they waste my time like this — I feel it is rude to be too slow. On the other hand, it is also rude to drive too close behind others who are obeying the speed limit. I notice that in some of America’s other states, people talk slower, and think slower. I guess that I am used to a particular SPEED of life, and that I have culture shock when I am around slow Europeans, sluggish Indians, or other lackidasical people!

Finding solutions verses feeling flustered
I find that poor people find themselves to be helpless in many situations. A poor person will buckle if the price goes up on something they want (at least my clients do when I raise their prices). The rich are often very confident and feel they can handle these types of situations gracefully– and win! The rich person will first try to negotiate the price, and then compare various options while the poor person will just panic and complain. A very different mindset!!!

A sense of power
There is a certain sense of power that the rich have. Even if they don’t use language that demonstrates their sense of power, their inner confidence is something that you should feel. I love being around millionaires because I can just feel their coolness without them uttering a single word! Wealthy people tend to feel that they are in control. If there is an obstacle to their power, they will calmly find a way to remove that obstacle. Buddhism claims that we are all enlightened, but merely haven’t developed the consciousness to appreciate that fact. Wealthy people similarly feel in control even when they are not — they simply feel that they ARE in control even though they haven’t YET determined how to remove the obstacles to their control — a temporary delay in their already existant power. What a way to think! I like it!

Business planning the poor way
A poor person will have unrealistic expectations in business, lofty goals, and a poor sense of execution or how to pick the right people. The poor person might be tempted to share their future success with friends and family who are poorly suited for the job. The poor person would have a tremendous boost to their ego for “helping out” and “doing a good deed” people who deserved their help. The poor person might criticize the wealthy man for being “mean” or “narrow minded” simply for being calculating and reasonable about who to hire and why. Unfortunately, the poor person is in for some difficult times when they find out what business is really like — and what to do if their friends are lazy or poorly suited to their new jobs — if they even accept those jobs. The poor person would be tempted to “help out” their unemployed friends who deserve help that nobody else would help. The poor person will soon find out that you are not doing anyone a favor by giving them a job. It is the person who is working for you who is doing YOU a favor — assuming they are any good at their work.

Business planning of the rich and famous
A wealthy person will have a more in tune sense of how the business could start, evolve, develop, what needs to be done, and what personality traits would be beneficial for particular types of jobs. A wealthy person will realize how flexible and adaptable they need to be, and not to get attached to any particular methodology or outcome. Additionally, a smart leader will pick good managers below them who can do most of the daily management of the business with little or no intervention. This will free up the owners time to grow the business rather than being bogged down by mundane hassles. A smart business owner will always be looking for ways to expand the business, rather than being complacent. Those who are complacent always remain on the lowest level — but, those who always strive in the upwards direction can attain infinitely!

Spending and dressing habits of the well to do
The irony here is that rich people in America dress like bums. I was intimidated about hanging around in American’s richest neighborhood at first. Then, I went there, and realized that every single person dressed like a bum. T-shirts, ripped jeans, baseball hats. They dressed almost as badly as I do. There are rich people who dress well — many of these are the “New Rich”, or those who aspire to be rich or fashionable. Some people like making a show of themselves and spend a lot on it. But, the people who have the real big bucks often drive very ordinary cars, and wear very ordinary clothes — at least in America. India is a bit like this too, where you will see lower-middle class girls wearing very expensive silk saris and rich girls in Bangalore wearing ripped old jeans. Some people think that the secret to wealth is being used to spending lots of money, or being used to being around expensive things. Drug dealers in the ghetto have this mentality — but, they still live in America’s worst areas and have what I call the “poverty consciousness”. Spending a lot and dressing well might help you develop the wealth consciousness to a certain extent. It is not the most important component of wealth consciousness. But, on the other hand — if you are going to develop wealth consciousness — shouldn’t you be accustomed to handling large amounts of money?

Taking charge and not allowing obstacles
The successful businessman takes charge. They don’t let personal considerations get in the way of business. The poor businessman lets their feelings get in the way, and lets people get in their way. A smart businessman simply makes decisions and sets policies based on sound thinking — he will handle objections confidently. The poor businessman will refuse to make any decision that might rouse any feelings of objection from anyone — and hence cripples themselves.

Looking ahead for evolution and adaptation
The millionaire businessman realizes that he lives in a changing world, and that his business planning will have to change. He therefor is always looking for how to refine his business techniques, and adapt to the current conditions. Whether he is adapting to more modern times, or adapting to the particularities of a current economic condition — he is adapting. The minute you don’t adapt and cling to what you or others are used to out of fear or narrowmindedness, you cheat yourself from the potential benefits of adaptations. Remember, if you are in the computer business, if you are even a few months behind your competitor, you could be out of business and your newly developed product will not sell!

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