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Better Business Idea #59

"You can't multiply zeros"

© 2002 by Michael C. Gray

August 30, 2002

Human beings who create businesses have a common weakness. In addition to the financial investment they make in the business, or a product or service of the business, they have an emotional investment. The good side of this emotional investment is the individual has the passion and drive to take the action necessary to make an idea into reality. The bad side is the emotional investment can blind the creator when the business, product or service isn't really worth pursuing.

As the old saying goes, beating a dead horse doesn't accomplish anything. It's best to bury the body and move on.

Or, as marketers say, "You can't multiply zeros!" You can have the greatest marketing campaign in the world, but if the market doesn't want what you have to offer, they aren't going to buy it. Yogi Berra said, "If people don't want to come to the ballpark, how are you going to stop them?"

Ric Payne, co-founder of Results Accountants Systems gave a great example. One of his clients developed a "better mouse trap"! Remember what Emerson said, "Build a better mousetrap and the world will beat a path to your door"? The mouse trap was great. You didn't have to handle cheese. It was easy to set. You didn't have to look at the dead mouse. The trap actually caught mice. When it was brought to market, no one bought it. Why? Probably because they didn't understand it. It didn't "look" like a mouse trap!

So much for Emerson. Another "great" product laid to rest!

You don't want to make customer rejection an excuse for poor salesmanship. But is this a product or service that is so difficult to sell, you can't build a business around it? Maybe this business would work for someone else, but not for you?

It doesn't really matter. You only have so much time and resources. (You only have so much life left to live.) What is the most productive way for you to use them? It's OK to volunteer for a mission that helps others, if that's your choice. But most of us have to earn a living and provide for our families. When it develops an activity is non-productive, we need to stop it and move on.

Someone said the height of insanity is to continue doing the same thing and expect to get different results.

When you start a venture, schedule a time to assess your results and decide whether to pull the plug. Don't let your venture become a "black hole" consuming your time, your money and your life!

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What you should do when your business idea isn't working out.

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Michael Gray, CPA
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