The slower you go, the faster you grow

By Bruce Firestone | Uncategorized

Nov 14

I have found it is usually better to crawl, walk, run, then fly
in terms of business startup success than it is to leap off a 500-foot cliff on
day 1 to “test your wings”.

When I lived in Oz, I was among the first to fly hang
gliders in that nation, and not die. The year was 1972.

My crew and I learned to fly in the sand hills south of Sydney; we’d takeoff from
20-foot sand dunes. We got to know the flight characteristics of our kites;
study micro meteorology and gain experience. Those early hang gliders had glide
ratios little better than a stone 4:1. Today’s airframes are 10:1, 12:1 or even
14:1, and much more forgiving. If you have a wingtip or nose stall now,
your chances of coming out of it successfully are far better.


young prof Bruce with Canucklehead hang glider in Australia circa 1972… south of Canberra

I saw one Aussie at Long Reef (on Sydney’s north coast) putting together his
glider, looking from the manual to his kite and back again. We asked him, “You
ever done this before?”

His answer?

“She’ll be right, mate. Pull in, go down, push out, up, lean
right, go right, lean left, go left. No worries.”

We told him he should practice first—and tried to convince
him to pack up his gear and head south to the sand dunes for a few weeks.

Instead, he took off with a big, “Yeehaw,” promptly did a
nose stall, and descended 500 feet (head first) into the base of the cliff,
where 8,000 miles of Pacific Ocean calmly
crashed into the continent. He died instantly of massive head trauma.

So why do I suggest startups I coach whether in real
estate or business should go slower to go faster? Here’s why—

  1. no business plan or model survives more than a few days when it comes into contact with a marketplace
  2. so you learn and change as you go
  3. you just can’t hurry this process because you discover your business as much or even more than you plan it
  4. every business is an experiment until proven otherwise
  5. you have to be flexible and attentive to signals the market is sending you
  6. if you are charging ahead with a damn-the-torpedoes approach, you are going to miss significant opportunities to increase sales, reduce costs or amend your offering to better suit a product or service niche
  7. if you fail with a small startup investment after testing the market, you live to fight another day
  8. if you  fail big and end up with a lot of personal debt, it’ll impact not only your ability to re-launch, it’ll affect your family too
  9. humans are uniquely suited to learn-by-doing and get better with each iteration
  10. so iterate a lot
  11. use small steps
  12. repeat
  13. learn
  14. sometimes, business success comes from just sticking around long enough to not only find your niche and become good at it, but also from just being around—word of mouth spreads and customers/clients will start contacting you simply because you are durable
  15. once you have a solid FOB position established (forward operating base, a  military term), you can take more risks… and grow even faster.

It’s why on the real estate side, I want the folks I coach to do one project, and do it really, really well, demonstrating that not only can they master a process of excellent selection, smart negotiating, good analysis, solid financing, animating (adding value and differentiation), renovating, operating, leasing, managing, maintaining and repairing, driving up value and refinancing too, but also that they are suited to the industry–that they are in it, boots and all… with their head, heart and gut instincts all in positive alignment. 

After they prove that to themselves and to me, they can start repeating the process endlessly. 

The people who make the most money through investments or via running their own PB4Ls (personal businesses for life) are the ones who focus on one product or service, one niche and become very, very good at it. They don’t have multiple types of enterprises or investments, each with their own learning curve to master. They have ONE.

 Everything else, they treat as a hobby… not a business.

So here are the four things you need to be aware of IMHO to find greater levels of success:

-focus, focus, focus… and find your “why” ( and then get really good at that one thing

-sell, sell, sell… ABC, always be closing

-check, check, check… everything

-control your costs… develop the supply side of your business with as much care as you do the sales side.

@ profbruce

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About the Author

Bruce is an entrepreneur/real estate broker/developer/coach/urban guru/keynote speaker/Sens founder/novelist/columnist/peerless husband/dad.