Every industry has their stupid, unfriendly, non-customercentric policies, but the golf industry in which I often work has more than most. Following are just a few shining examples.
At North Berwick Golf Club (Scotland) on a damp and foggy morning, I was asked to remove my $100 navy-blue, waterresistant sleeveless sweater with the logo of a very high-end club on it as, according to the steward, it constituted rain gear which was not allowed in the clubhouse. I had just stepped out of my car and I protested that it was my only sweater, that it was dry, and that I was cold. To which came the reply, “You’ll warm up in a wee minute as soon as ye get yer coffee in yea.” Which, loosely translated means “I don’t give a damn. Take it off if you want to come in!” I did take it off, but was cold for 15 minutes while I waited for my coffee to arrive and warm me up. Yes, I know I was a guest and should just be delighted to be there, but instead I was cold and irritated.
Gullane (Scotland) is a monster of a course at almost 6,200 yards with the fairways hard as rock after weeks of high temperatures and no rain, thus ensuring that even a missed hit went 300 yards. We were forbidden to play the back tees (very typical in England and Scotland, as they consider it a privilege for the members, and, even then, only in tournaments). So we played Gullane at 5,800 yards or less with a driver and a sand wedge. If I had wanted to play pitch and putt, I could have done that on the free course at the Gullane village green. I felt cheated!
You may already be in town when suddenly two other competitors show up. If you have established your reputation in the community, new competition may have little effect. On the other hand, it may be a warning signal that it’s time to move on. Sometimes a seemingly perfect location can be rendered bad by competitors moving into your market and shrinking your potential.
For example, in my second and most successful martial arts school, I was the only martial arts business in an affluent town of 60,000 people. There were thousands of families the perfect age and the Karate Kid movie part two had just come out. Not only that, but the school was also located next to Irvine Dance Academy. This business would not have been considered an anchor except that it had been there for 15 years and had an active enrollment of over 1200 little girls. While the little girls were dancing, their little brothers were looking through the window of my karate school. I’d invite them in to kick and punch a bag. More often than not, as soon as their mothers came looking for them, they’d sign up their sons. On the strength of location alone, a monkey could have done well financially.
Of all the things that will test your patience and resolve, change is perhaps the hardest to deal with. Yet change is the one thing in business that is constant. Change will always affect your business, be it changing tastes, changes in competition, changes in technology, or changes in the general economy. Sometimes that change may help your business, other times it will hurt it.
Imagine being in the video rental business in, say, 1984.
Gold Mine!! You could open a video store on any street corner for the cost of the videos and be profitable by the end of the month.
Imagine being in it in 2017.
Other than the very obvious problems of stretching themselves too thin, both from a cash flow and talent point of view, the number-one reason that causes second locations to fail is simply the lack of business systems. When an owner opens up a second store, he or she naturally assumes that the second store will be run just like the first. The only problem is they forget that you can’t be in two places at once.
Business methods and protocol that the owner takes for granted are not followed at the second store, or if the owner opens the second store, they soon go by the wayside at the first location. With systems, this cannot happen.
One of the very best ways to differentiate your business is by offering legendary service. While a reputation can be built, enhanced, and even achieved with sales and marketing, at some point your reputation is going to be put to the test.
You may be the fastest gun in the West on all the wanted posters, but when the other guy staring you down draws, that’s not going to count for much unless you really are fast. When you can back your reputation up with legendary service you immediately vault yourself to the top echelon of whatever industry you are in.
Here are ten ways that entrepreneurs get the money they need to finance a start-up or growth.
1. Bootstrapping. Sad and frustrating although it may seem, bootstrapping is very likely your best financing option. While it means growth will be slower than if you had cash on hand, you will be more careful how you spend it and more critical of the results. You will make your mistakes inexpensively and learn by doing. You will owe no one, keep all your equity, and lose none of your friends. I managed to build my first million-dollar business on this basis in about three years. While the hours were long and the effort hard, the satisfaction of doing it and owing no one was tremendous.