Entrepreneurship for Kiddies

My home office, which was once filled with sports memorabilia and inspirational photos, has slowly evolved into a combo business place and play room. It’s as though someone sprinkled preschool seeds and the native plants have been choked out. Walls are now adorned with paintings from school and shelves have been overrun by toys and books. Is my office also her play space, or is her play space also my office?

Well, today it served as office for both of us. At 4 and a half years old, Lydia has little knowledge of the concepts of working or money, and I don’t expect her to. But now we have taken our first step in what will be years of tiny lessons. Today, from humble beginnings, in the back corner of my office, Lydia’s Lemonade and Cookie stand was born.

Excitement was at its peak as we prepared our food, drink and signage. As we finally opened for business, she was glowing with pride.

Then the experiential lessons of business began to materialize.

The economic outlook of the market was that it would be challenging. The good news was that she has no competition, but the bad news was that I was the only customer.

Her service skills are fantastic. No sooner was my cup empty than it was being filled again. I didn’t want to tell her that I get horrible indigestion from acidic drinks, so after a half-carafe of liquid fire juice, I was scrambling for Rolaids.

Her inventory management, on the other hand, needs some refining. She was consuming her cookie stock at an alarming rate.

Moreover, her first experience with currency exchange didn’t fare well, as she reversed the traditional model: She was paying me to drink her lemonade and to eat her cookies. I felt a bit cheap taking the money from her, but hey, experience is the best teacher.

The rigors of work finally wore Lydia down and she moved on to playing with her doctor kit. That was a shame. If she had done more market research, she would have realized that in ten minutes Mom would walk in the door, doubling her consumer pool.

Surprisingly enough (or maybe not), throughout the day Lydia displayed the behaviors that many adult business owners exhibit.

They get excited about something new but don’t really gauge the need. They squander their own stock. They pay customers to take their product or service by underestimating the true costs and not pricing accordingly. Finally, once the ordeals of day-to-day business set in, they slow down and give up — sometimes right before their market finally matures.

One of the big draws for me in running my own business is that it’s something that I may be able to hand down to Lydia someday, if she wants it. Until then, a few lessons will also need to be handed down to get her to the point where she knows what to do.

For now, I’m hoping Lydia’s new business will be open again tomorrow. I just ordered a pound of Rolaids and I’m ready to go.

A Winning Strategy

Running a business can be very stressful and most owners will tell you there never seems to be enough time to get everything done. Most stay-at-home parents say the same thing. I am just crazy enough to try to take on both at the same time. However, as the owner of the business I have the ability to reduce that stress by making changes on the fly.

One of the benefits of running my own business is the ability to set and change the company direction. I don’t have to bounce ideas off of a boss to try to get permission to follow a new path. I have full free run 6 v2 femmes control to temporarily hold off new work so my plate is not too full or to make changes that bring in revenue faster. I build the business offering and the workload to benefit my personal and professional life.

As an entrepreneur my focus is on finding new opportunities where I can provide a service (or sell a product) for a profit to a person or company that needs it. But not all opportunities are created equal, and not even all opportunities that are good for me are good for business overall.

The key is that I look for a Win/Win transaction between my company and the buyer. If it’s not a win for both sides then I let the opportunity go. There are just too many potential problems that can arise from breaking this rule.

A Win/Lose looks good on the outside. My company would get the profit it expected but if the customer comes out not getting what they expected, that can have bad long-term results.

For instance, customer referrals are a big part of any business. Losing that long-term opportunity for a short-term gain is not a healthy business strategy. The immediate gain of making money is trumped later by having to spend extra time and cash to rebuild reputation. Moreover, we would have to spend additional money to generate the same amount of prospects as we would have received from referrals if the deal had been more equitable.

A Lose/Win is a desperate business move that I look to avoid. I often see small businesses or new entrepreneurs make this mistake because they feel that a less-than-ideal opportunity is better than no roshe run suede femmes opportunity at all. However, that’s simply not true.

If the company loses and the customer wins, that usually means you did the work for no profit or a loss. Additionally, even if the happy customer generates referrals, they will usually be to others who expect the same Lose/Win deal. While a practical thinker would say this type of thing should never happen, it’s actually one of the most common business problems I run across when talking to others.

Winning is always better when it’s a shared result. When both parties benefit, everyone feels good and everyone’s business grows.