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Let me tell you a story about two startup businesses. Both are in their infancy – three months old, if you must know the truth. They’re run by two smart businesswomen – Startup Sara and Established Eleanor. We’ll refer to them from here on in as Sara and Eleanor, don’t worry.
Both Sara and Eleanor are full of ideas. They are innovators, with their eyes on the future. They’ve started with similar amounts of capital and equal earning potential. But even this early on – three months in – Eleanor is way ahead. As her nickname suggests, she’s established. Sara? Well, as you can see, she’s still just getting started. If these two are so alike in so many ways, why is one already pulling ahead?
They’re both smart. Both with killer ideas. Both with enough startup capital to make a real go of it. So what’s gone wrong for Sara? Well, she may be smart, but she’s not wise. Eleanor is wise.
The Pitch: Who Wins?
Sara is a confident speaker. She knows her idea can make millions – for her and for any clients who get on board. She’s not shy about telling people this, either. When she walks out of a pitch, the executives sat around a table are impressed by her knowledge and enthusiasm.
Eleanor walks into the same conference room fifteen minutes later. Her pitch is similar – maybe a few more jokes here, maybe fewer puns there. By the time she’s in the elevator, the executives are calling her back to make a deal that will double her earning potential overnight.
What’s the difference? While Sara was adding a few more slides to her Powerpoint presentation, Eleanor was on https://designrfix.com/inspiration/personal-business-cards-90-stunning-designs/ researching business cards. She left one in front of each executive. They could just as easily have called Sara – but her number was in the Rolodex outside.
Eleanor was wise. Eleanor was prepared. Always make it easy for people to say yes.
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A Bump In The Road: Who’ll Shake It Off?
Sara has been doing okay; orders are coming in and she’s building a customer base. Having read about the importance of being easy to contact, she puts her business cell phone number on every document these days. She gets back to her office after a day of heavy rain. A leak in her building has caused it to flood, destroying half of her inventory.
Halfway across the city, a similar fate has befallen Eleanor. As she curses her luck, she places a phone call. A week later, she’s having meetings and closing deals. Sara is on the phone arguing with her building manager about whose fault the leak was. Why is Eleanor further forward?
Simple. Eleanor had arranged insurance for her business before she ever arranged a meeting with clients. It pays to be ready for a crisis – then you can manage it.
When Opportunity Knocks, Who Will Answer?
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While packing for a trade fair (http://www.fairpros.com/visitors/why-attend/), Sara checks the flight itinerary on her phone. She sees that due to inclement weather, her flight has been canceled. Resigned to missing the fair, she calls a few potential clients and arranges meetings. One client doesn’t turn up, two do. Of those two, she closes a deal with one. Not bad, quick thinking.
What about Eleanor? Having checked the flight itinerary earlier that day, she saw that her plane was canceled. Within moments she was on the phone, arranging a trip with a changeover at another airport. At the fair, she meets with dozens of potential clients over a period of two days. The income from the deals she makes means she can afford to take on a small staff.
If you’re thinking right now that Sara just sounds like an idiot, she isn’t. Her ideas are solid. Her hustle and readiness to learn from mistakes are not in question. She just needs to prepare better and think ahead more. These are not terminal issues, and if she got together with Eleanor for a chat over lunch, she could learn a lot.
Some of us are slower off the mark in business than others. It doesn’t mean we won’t get there. But if organization seems to be a problem for you, take the time to get on top of it. Economize and pay a friend to help with organization and planning. Whatever it takes.
There are an awful lot of Saras out there making those same mistakes. Sometimes, they’re in partnership with an Eleanor, and it works out. Sometimes, they see every mistake punished by circumstance. That’s why a lot of businesses with potential fail in their first year. Don’t be one of those. Be an Eleanor.
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