Why Did You Get Into Business For Yourself?

When times are tough and the economy continues to sputter, this is the million dollar question we all ask ourselves. If you are anything like me, you have probably asked this question a thousand times over the last few years. The obvious answer is to make money and provide a good living for yourself and your family. Let me tell you a little bit about why I started Lifeline Business Solutions and how my experiences may benefit you. Read more.

My reason for starting my own business is probably quite different from yours. There is an unwritten philosophy in business, which I affectionately term as the freedom 55 syndrome. It seems as though corporations in this day and age think that once an employee bridges the age of 55 it is time to dump their salary for a younger less expensive model. On the profit and loss statement this may make sense, but in reality companies have lost the most important commodity they can possess – experience and knowledge and let's not forget loyalty!

Dan Schawbel, author of Me 2.0 and founder of the Gen-Y research and consulting firm says that the echo boomers who will fill these vacant seats pose a real problem for business. As workers they've been described as self-centred, needy, and entitled with unrealistic expectations. Trading the valuable commodities of knowledge and experience for Gen-Y poses real risk for companies in this post recession period.

So what does this have to do with you? Well, you are the beneficiary of a new pool of knowledgeable, vastly experienced people who don't have the large overhead of typical consulting companies. These professionals have a wealth of knowledge that can be put to work for you and every aspect of your business.

You have heard me talk a lot about the power of knowledge and what it means to the profitable operation of your business. This was the foundation for the creation of Lifeline Business Solutions. I wanted to find a way to use my knowledge and experience to help dealers be more profitable while creating employment and a new career for myself. My services had to be unique and something that was rarely practiced in the industry at cost that was acceptable to potential clients.

The key to any business is that it provides its customers with value and it is something that they either want or need. No doubt you go through this assessment with every product you sell on a regular basis. While I believe the concept of providing financial management is essential and desperately needed in the Motorsports and Marine industry, it is not to say that I have not made mistakes in marketing it.

I think my biggest shortfall is I don't like to impose on people so I don't do enough cold calling. As my consultant says to me (yes I have my own consultant), "you have something of considerable value to offer that is unique to your industry, so don't look at it as imposing – but instead you are giving your customers an opportunity to make more money through the use of your knowledge and experience".

The same applies to your business. You have quality products that are fun and exciting, so you are sharing your knowledge with your customers to help enhance their lifestyle. In a sense you are not really selling, but instead presenting an opportunity for people to enrich their lives through leisure activities that they may not have previously considered. You do this with great products, service and the knowledge of what will work best for your customers.

While I am totally confident in the value of my own product, my biggest fear or challenge in launching my company was whether the industry was ready, willing and able to accept a change in the way it does business. This continues to be an incredibly difficult nut to crack because typically we resist change. However, in the final analysis, how can dealers who are struggling to make a profit or achieve their potential, not be excited to know they can be making thousands of dollars more in profit by adopting a change in the way they approach and manage their business.

The problem is some of the traditions in this industry continue to prevent you from believing things can change. I asked you "Why did you get into business for yourself" and I think the plausible answer is to make a good living for yourself and family at something you love to do. My point therefore, is if you are not making at least 6% gross profit on annual sales, why not? You should not be settling for anything less!

We need to find the key that will unlock the belief that there is a better way to manage and market our business. This can only happen by breaking down the stereotypes and not accepting the status quo. It also means your finance companies and manufacturers should be taking a vested interest in making this knowledge available to you. Why? Because the only way the industry can grow is through your profitability.

If you want to win the race, you have to build your strength and stamina. So get healthy and invest in this new pool of professionals around you who can provide you with knowledge and experience that will help validate your reasons for getting into business for yourself.

If you are not satisfied with your profitability, contact me for a free consultation.

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Lisa Marie on Chris Brown, Lifeline Business Solutions

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"When it comes to Finance and Commercial Credit, he is one of the most knowledgeable people I know. No one I know has more in-depth experience or understands distribution finance better than Chris"

- Joe Conte, Canadian Counsel, Textron Financial Canada Limited

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