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January 5, 2009

浙江人的工作哲学:宁做创业狼,不做打工狗

Filed under: Business,Readings — Fei @ 5:22 pm

作者:hiugu600683

浙江人的工作哲学:“宁做创业狼,不做打工狗”。

当然这话说的很极端,很多打工的朋友都不乐意听,但是我们仔细想想,这位老兄的话还真有点道理呢。

狼为了寻求自由,宁愿独立人格,自由思想,天天奔跑在大草原上,肆意的猎杀牛羊,尽可能的享受大自然提供的一切美味,吃饱后就躺在草地上,什么 都不想,享受阳光和自由的空气,他们是草原的主宰,他们有的是尊严。不过当严寒来临时,他们必须学会抗拒暴风雪的寒冷,学会在厚厚的雪堆下面寻找猎物,时 常忍受饥饿的痛苦,随时担心自己冻饿而死。狼的生活可谓一半是海水,一半是火焰。

狗的生活恰恰相反,平时狗只能吃主人剩下的残羹冷炙,被主人吆喝着到处忙活,没有自由,没有尊严,只有摇尾乞怜,狗的生活是有保证的,虽然从来 吃不到什么美味,但是冬天到来时也不担心挨饿受冻,有主人的屁护,狗们感恩戴德,发誓下一辈子依旧为主人效忠,即便主人肆意的打骂狗们,狗们也多半不敢吭 一声,因为听话和驯服是狗们的标志。委曲求全是狗们的标签,为了稳定的饭碗,为了自己老时有一份固定的口粮,一切都认了!

如果把现实生活中的人们进行比较,估计我们大多都是过着狗的生活,稳定安逸,但是永远吃不饱,想离开主人家的狗窝,但是缺乏破釜沉舟的勇气!

我感到现实中的年轻人的职业选择大多是做打工狗,而不是做创业狼。可能很多朋友会说,刚出校门的学生,哪里有资本和经验去创业呀?最好的选择就是去公司打工几年,储备点经验和资金,然后几年后有机会的话再自己创业。

其实这样的想法证明是很错误的,一个大学生单位工作几年后,不但赚不到创业所需要的钱,更是无法学到创业的经验与技能。打工生涯学到的东西对创 业基本上是没有用的,因为两者的角度不同,思考方式不同,得到的经验体会也不同,只能这么说,打工几年后你唯一获得提高的是打工的技术技能,而创业最不需 要的就是技术技能了。

更可怕的是,打工几年后,年轻人普遍会丧失创业的激情,丧失初生牛犊不怕虎的勇气,越来越沉湎于单位之中难以自拔,后来创业的念头只能永远的留在心底,成为永久的遗憾。等到年龄到了40多被老板辞退的时候,才后悔20年前为什么不出来自己创业呀!

那么做创业狼的要求究竟高不高?

我的答案是:只要有做创业狼的理念,哪怕口袋里只有100元,照旧可以创业成功!

人家早一辈的温州人出来做生意口袋有几个钱?不是靠换鸡蛋换铁锅赚的第一笔钱嘛。你口袋里只有100元,至少可以在街边摆个地摊,冬天卖点袜子 手套什么的,夏天卖点菠萝什么的,资金充足一点后可以搞个烧烤之类的,反正,钱再少,也能走上创业的道路,关键看你想不想做创业狼?

打工人生与创业人生一定是不一样的。

时间长了,打工者的性格与创业者的性格会有越来越大的差别。

我们扪心自问,打工时间长的朋友时不时觉得更加患得患失,害怕外面陌生的世界,害怕失业的危险,心灵变得越来越敏感和脆弱。心态不仅逐渐的疲惫 和懒惰,整个人也没有了锐气和精神,只好安慰自己知足长乐,淡漠名利。但是生活变得越来越平庸,家庭的经济负担越来越沉重,房子和孩子教育日渐成为自己脖 子上的经济绳索,勒的越来越紧,透不过气来,只好调整自己的心态,让自己逐渐适应城市小爬虫的定位,自己本来就是庸人,庸人何必自扰之,发财是人家的事 情,咱没有那命。

最恐惧的第一件事情莫过于听到公司效益不好,要裁员的消息,最要紧的事情和领导搞好关系,坚持学习恭维逢迎拍马屁,入乡随俗嘛。思想麻木了,只好随大流,毕竟饭碗在领导或老板的手心里面,想让你滚蛋,就得滚蛋。

最恐惧的第二件事情,是看到自己年龄的日渐增长,可是自己的工作技能却没有获得任何提高,虽然靠着资历老工资也越来越多,可是看着那些新进来的 年轻大学生,生龙活虎的干活,却只要那么一点的工资,老板的敲打在耳边响起,看人家年轻人吃的少干的多,你们这些老革命越老越不行了。难怪,打工生涯的结 果是越老越贬值,尤其到了40-50年龄段,简直是事业最悲惨的阶段,时刻濒临深渊,如同趟地雷阵,动辄下岗失业。

有人说过去10年是蓝领工人下岗的高峰期,未来10-20年将是白领工人下岗的高峰期,你一位自己曾经读个大学就是精英了?社会不断进步,你的 知识结构,身体素质,职业理念早就不如人家刚毕业的大学生了。老板是现实的,肯定率先在遇到危机时裁掉那些40-50年龄段的白领工人。

所以说你现在有个稳定的工作,你觉得安全,其实等与在你身边按了颗定时炸弹,等到10多年后,它会爆炸,你那时失业的痛苦与代价恐怕要比现在残忍100倍。

其实表面看创业面临的现实风险比打工高很多,可是从长久看,打工带来的风险更高。

创业的风险是失去近几年的预期打工收入,甚至破产后还得赔进去自己借的一部份钱,但是毕竟年轻,能够屡败屡战,从失败中汲取养分和经验,经商水 平与能力一次比一次高,逐渐融入经商人士的群体后,眼界和经验日积月累,总有一个量变到质变的突破,只要真正的跨入了生意门,将来的事业基本上一片坦途。 钱也越赚越多,财富积累越来越多,自身的价值也能得到最大的体现。

相反,打工生涯持续下来,近几年确实平安无事,可是你其实在不断的贬值和缩水,而不是越来越强健。打工的时间越长,你会越来越心虚,越来越胆怯,10几年后,稍有不慎,就可能被炒掉鱿鱼,失业下岗,你看看那个风险大呢?

年轻炙热的心,蹋上人生的征途,其实没有你想像的那么的简单,
我们有什么,什么都没有,为有年轻,一个澎湃激情的心,激情一时是不行的,
弱肉强十的的社会,没的一技子长是不行的。只是社会的渣子,和乞丐有什么区别,
思路决定出路,行动决定结果。
绝大多数人习惯做语言的巨人,行动的矮子。
越是智商高的人越容易陷入这个悖论中,难以自拔。
看来上帝是公平的,赋予人智慧的同时,往往剥夺他的勇敢。
所以世界上享有精彩人生的人总是少数。
我们来描述一下那些继续打工者的心态。

他们嘴巴上说自己一直都在耐心等待,等真正的机会。智者深思熟虑,三思而后行。他们一直在等条件成熟,哪怕花开花又落,可是等到现在,时机也没有等到,条件也没有成熟,现实生活的质量还是没有得到改观。

记得希腊有一首很悲观的民歌:“日神阿波罗是个勇士,他能够一拳打倒凶猛的敌人,但他无法扭转自己的命运。普罗米修斯是个智慧的神,他能够瞒着 宙斯把火种偷了出来,教那些可怜的人们看到光亮,而他自己却被鹫鹰啄着心肝,这是命运跟他开的玩笑!”这就是人们认为自己的力量无法战胜自己命运、改变现 实的例子。

为别人打零工才得以糊口的打工朋友们不是不想改变现实生活,也有紧迫感,也很想改变自身的“贫穷”面貌,但是总有恐惧感,因为从来没有独立把握 自己命运的经历和经验,就像一个从来没有用过电脑的人,生怕按错开关和按钮把电脑烧坏了、一用力就把键盘敲坏了,或者一上网就会遭遇病毒一样。事情其实并 没有那么可怕,对于恐惧电脑的人来说,最重要的就是插上电源,再依次开机就好了。

当然我们打工者在职场上总是对工作本身负责、对企业对老板负责,所以要等条件成熟,而实际上促使这些条件具备往往会消耗很多精力,拖延很多时 间,有时还没有等到条件成熟,周边的环境已经发生了变化,旧的条件还没有达到,新的问题又冒出来了,结果还是无所适从,最终导致不了了之。所以,对于打工 者来说,最重要的就是要明白必须先行动在思考!

宁做创业狼,不做打工狗(ZT)

Filed under: Business — Fei @ 3:13 pm

seems interesting…

本文谨献给那些正欲创业,和正在创业,及创业失败了的经理人。——没有创业过的人,永远不会体悟创业究竟意味着什么……

年终岁初,正是职业经理人,尤其是高级职业经理人欲动之时。往哪里动?无非有三个选择:一是内部调动;二是跳槽;三是创业,换一种职场角色。职场中有创业念头的经理人很多,付诸实施的也不少。有许多经理人,尤其是刚刚30出头的经理人会认为:在当今的社会不创业,就如同白来世界上走一遭!因为太多赚大钱的老板水平比自己差远了!他能成我怎么就不能成?于是说干就干,轰轰烈烈的创业开始了,其结果如何呢?

由于我做猎 头顾问工作的特殊性,几乎每天都是英雄眼前过,而创业失败归来的英雄可谓是数不胜数。总结经理人创业史会发现:经理人创业的头三年,生活质量下降者是百分之百;在两年之内创业失败,关门破产倒掉者占九成;真正能熬过三年的非常稀少。

每一个创业失败者都有一本难念的经,其中一位名叫M郭的CFO创业失败归来后的无限感慨,颇值得我们品味。200万就这样打了水漂?

一日,经朋友推介,M郭先生约我到一家茶社聊天。下面是我们对话的内容。

M郭:“我今天就想请您帮我做一次职业辅导,并推荐一份工作——月薪5000元就行!”

笔者:“看您的资历,月薪可不应是这个数……”

此前M郭做过一家世界500强企业中国区某一公司的财务总监,年薪曾到50万;六年前到国内一家颇具规模的民营企业做CFO;2004年夏天,自己开始创业。围绕这区区5000元月薪诉求的来历,M郭给我讲述了他的创业经历。

创业前,他所担任过CFO的那家民企,鼎盛时在业内名列前茅,年销售额近8亿元。后来老板(董事长)撤资不干了,无奈中,他就和该公司的总经理、营销副总三人组成了创业团队,注册了新公司,注册资本500万元。原总经理是第一大股东,占60%股份,做法人代表;他是第二股东,占30%股份,主管行政财务;那位营销副总占10%股份,仍管营销。他们三人带领着原企业主要骨干人员,在同一行业内开始了创业。

然而500万资金在不到8个月的时间里就耗得差不多了,而随后企业每个月以20万元的额度亏损!怎么办?三个股东协商后继续按股份比例投资弥补亏损。于是,M郭每个月从家里拿出6万元补亏,大概持续了将近一年。等几乎把家里的钱花光了,却还见不到曙光,企业继续亏损。M郭夫人不干了,给他下了最后通牒:“我们娘俩也不希望跟着你荣华富贵,但你不要继续填坑了,给我们家留点活命钱吧!不论你干什么,只要每个月给家拿回来5000元钱就行。”

“这就是我今天让您给我推荐一份5000元月薪工作的缘由……”这位经理人半开玩笑地对我说。我们接着聊。

笔者:“那您的股份后来变现了吗?”

M郭:“变什么现?我一分没要!”

笔者:“为什么没要?前后共投进去200多万,也没个说法?”

M郭:“要什么说法?啥都不说了吧。我也投不起了,我也不愿亏了,我把股份全部转

让给大股东了(三股东不愿意要),我再也不用每月从家里面拿钱填坑了。”

创业付出,怎一个“钱”字了得?

笔者:“你估算一下这20个月的付出有多大?”

M郭:“20个月的付出除直接投了200多万外,其他的无法估量。但我觉得比前半辈子付出的都多得多!”他以毋庸置疑的口气感叹到。

笔者:“你只是二股东,那位大股东的付出同你相比如何?”

M郭:“他是法人代表,他的压力自然要比我大多了!我的付出和他相比是无法相提并论的。”

笔者:“能否举例说明?”

M郭:“单看他的面色,这20个月老了快10岁。”

笔者:“有了这20个月的创业经历,你对老板的理解应该有了很大的变化吧?”

M郭:“那当然!过去我做财务总监给老板打工,帮着老板融了不少资金。可千万元的资金一转眼三下五除二老板就把钱花没了,而正经活儿还没干呢!就心想我要是做了老板,一定把钱用在该花的地方,踏踏实实地做事。然而,20个月来我充分理解了原来的老板:作为企业要花钱的地方太多了!每一笔钱都该花,老板紧抠慢抠,钱还是很快就没有了。不当家不知柴米贵……不做老板不知道什么叫花钱如流水啊!”

笔者:“开公司花钱是否就像关不上的水龙头,无论如何也止不住水哗哗地流?”

M郭:“没错,您的比喻太恰当了!您真正理解了老板!我给没当过老板的人说,他们都不信。”

笔者:“您现在退出了股东,也退出了公司,有什么感觉?”

M郭:“如同解放似的,如释重负,终于看到了曙光。”

笔者继续问:“你现在理解了当初老板为什么要撤资吗?”

M郭:“当初老板要撤资,我们三个死劝活劝可就是不行,老板撤资坚决。最后我们三个一商议:老板不干我们干!本来平时的活儿就是我们干的,原班人马,原来熟悉的市场,不就是流动资金吗!计划半年就会有正现金流,500万的投资,含着丰足的备用金,无论如何花都能把公司开起来!可没想到,20个月,500万花完后,我们三个又投进去将近300万,几乎全打水漂了!虽然有些收入,但少得可怜。我们后来遇到经营困难时,也总结反思当初老板为什么要撤资,估计是这个行当太不好干了,不确定性因素太多了。但真正的原因,我们现在也不清楚。”

笔者:“还是你们三个人的管理团队,还是原班人马,做了5年本已经熟悉的市场,怎么就赚不了钱呢?原来你们几个带着员工随便一年都能干几个亿,如此大的差异,其原因是什么?”

M郭:“我在退出前也做了反思,前后之所以有如此大的反差,其区别有二。一是我们三个过去都没有当过老板,过去总认为老板有许多不是,总在评价老板的短长,等真正自己当老板了,才知道老板真不是好当的:需要处理的事情比经理人复杂得多了,当了老板才知道一个人的能力水平太有限了,才知道过去自己对自己能力评估过高了。二是过去我们几个人总认为自己正确,是老板阻碍了企业的进一步发展,自己很多想法不能实施。其实离开了过去的舞台,再干原来的事情几乎不可能。我们没有了舞台,就得打造自己的舞台——500万的预算投资本想着绰绰有余,事实上根本不够。”

谁能保证总有救命稻草?

和M郭谈到这里,我总结了一下我接触的创业英雄——失败的原因太多了,但都有一共同的原因,就是现金流接续不上。有些创业者会充满遗憾地说:就差那么一点儿钱,当时要是有那么一点儿钱,就会完全是另外一番光景。言外之意,就是人快饿死了,给他口饭吃也许就会活过来。但是谁能保证就不会再有挨饿的时候?当再饿的时候谁又能保证刚好还有那么一口饭呢?其实做企业,就是要做到当企业每次挨饿时,都有那么一口饭让企业存活下来。许多企业把永续经营当作努力的方向,然而永续经营何其难也!于是我在思考一个问题:经理人要凭自己的能力重新打造一个舞台的成本,究竟有多大?

创业成本究竟有多大?

我和许多创业成功(所谓成功,是指企业和老板还都正常活着),以及创业失败者深聊过。当谈及创业成本时,几乎每个人都感慨万千:创业成本实在太大了!以至于大到不能简单的用金钱来衡量,而最终又都转化为钱,化为创业的直接成本。我接触的许多经理人创业,大多都像这位CFO——M郭一样,创业年龄大多都在30~40岁之间,把前半生家里的积蓄花光了,又不得不开始重新打工。很多经理人创业都是先做计划书,把商业计划书做得非常详尽,其中必然涉及到预算问题。创业预算应该这样看:当计划50万就能赚到正现金流时,其实至少得500万。那创业者会说:计划花50万,我提前准备出500万不就得了吗?如果你真能准备出500万,那么你的创业完成至少需要5000万!为什么?因为创业者的胆量和计划是根据你的现金来决定的,这叫物质决定意识。有了现金,你就想做事。无论你多保守,你都会做出超出实际运营能力的方案。因为创业的人大多都是激进派,或说乐观派。而保守者通常也不会张罗着创业。

其实,创业计划书不可能把遇到的问题都列举出来,事情的变化太多了,你不可能把未来的风险都列出来。如果都列出来还叫风险吗?风险就是你不知道甚至是不可预知的。商业计划书无论多么详尽,其实最多只是接近事情本身的20%。所以,创业就是应对未来的不确定性,应对未来的偶然事件。而这个不确定性的成本有多高,谁也说不清楚。所以,创业的风险就在不确定性,或者说叫偶然性,创业成功者一定是成功战胜了一个个小概率事件。而化解这小概率事件同样需要钱。总之,创业的过程,就是缺钱的过程。这是任何创业者在写商业计划书时都不可能想到的,就算想到了也只是想想而已。真正缺钱时,才知道缺钱是什么滋味;真正创业后,才知道钱是那么不值钱,钱是那么不禁花!所以,天下的老板都“抠门”,都节俭,所谓“大方”那都是不得已而为,是外大方。所以有一个颇具规模企业的经理人曾感慨地说:一个企业里面真正最节俭的是老板。

经理人,你想过搭台的风险吗?

经理人在日常操盘中见到的风险,都是有限的。通常老板完成了创业后,才会请来经理人操盘,因而创业阶段企业抵御了多少风险,经理人很难猜想到——这是没有创过业的人不可能想到的。另外,企业的风险是与企业存续永远相伴的,每一次风险化解了就变成了企业宝贵的经验财富,没有化解就变成了灾难。企业做成了有做成的风险,做大了有做大的风险,高危风险大多在老板层面遇见和解决,而经理人层面是无法见到的。经理人见到的风险大多是经营管理中的风险,而背后的风险要比日常经营管理中的难度系数大得多。所以,经理人在创业商业计划书里面预估的风险,只是经理人自己经历过的、看得见的风险,是经营管理中的有限风险。打个比喻说,就是舞台演员演戏的风险。演员演戏的风险都是有限的,演员哪里知道老板在搭台子和维护台子的成本和风险呢?而经理人创业,尤其知名企业大平台出来的成功经理人,见过大世面,创业一上来就想搭大台子和高质量台子,而手里那点钱也就够演戏的费用——因为经理人的收入就是作为演员的薪酬所得,哪够用来搭台子?所以台子没有搭起来钱就花光了,或者台子搭得质量不好,还没有开场台子就塌了,或者台子搭好了没有维护费用,破台子怎么唱戏?等到台子都搭好了,又请不起演员,戏该怎么演?所以,经理人创业遇到的风险,都是从前未曾遇到过的老板层面风险。

创业失败,归去来兮……

笔者:“通过您这20个月的创业,您有什么收获?”

沉思了一下的M郭说:“失败就是我的最大收获!虽不成功,但我尝试了,我经历了,

我做了我想做的事情。这对我今后与老板相处会大有帮助,因为我亲自体验了一下做老板的生活方式。”

笔者:“老板是什么生活方式?”

M郭:“对未来充满着希望,却永远持续地付出!”

December 21, 2008

Hotmail hacked!!!!

Filed under: Freestyle — Fei @ 11:11 pm

I feel sooooooooo bad these days… seems my hotmail was hacked and password stolen… and even worse… the hacker sent a spam to EVERY contact I have… that’s a LOT of people!!! Even more worse… they sent it TWICE…. I’m sooooo sorry for my friends and contacts… my apologies… 

I don’t usually use IE to browse website… I use firefox or Google Chrome… I heard that IE had a SERIOUS flaw for a few days but never thought I could be the victim.. :(:(:(:( 

I guess this is what happened that day….

That day, I opened hotmail in Chrome and wanted to reply an email… but Chrome seemed incompatible with hotmail… I could read emails… but could not write emails… so I opened IE to logon to hotmail… and sent the email… 

But I did not close IE immediately… I kept it open… since I had a conference call with the India team of my company (at 10pm… damn)… and it lasted till 11:30pm…. Only after that, I closed IE… 

I felt sooo tired that day and went to sleep immediately… and the next day… I was soooo shocked to see I had 30 emails…. most of which were returned emails… so I had to reply each email telling them the hacking thing… and I hit the maximum number of emails I could send for that day!!!! 

That’s the first time I encountered this…. and from some friend’s feedback…. obviously the hacker encountered the limit as well… so the hacker used another email account the send emails to the remaining of MY CONTACTS!!!!!

Smart hacker…. 

The worst thing is… the hacker sent out emails again today… I was sooooo embarrassed… and I had to change my password… hopefully this will NEVER happen again!

Again, sorry for the inconvenience… 

This is a real serious bug in IE… just to give you some idea how bad it is… 

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/7784908.stm

November 8, 2008

The Close

Filed under: Business — Fei @ 11:30 pm

I attended a sales seminar by Eric Lofholm: The Close. It’s a great seminar. Here I just list a few points I like from his speech. 

  • You can only get so far on your own. Success is a team sport. 
  • 80/20 Rule. Top 2 ideas equal the value of the bottom 8 combined. 
  • Illustration. Of all the knowledge in the world, you know 3%. You don’t know 7%. You don’t know you don’t know 90%. The problem is, you can’t improve you don’t know you don’t know. If you can move you don’t know you don’t know to you kow you don’t know. You create possibility of break through. 
  • What to say? When to say it? How to say it? 
  • Selling is a learnt skill.
  • Take away: you offer some opportunity to someone, if he doesn’t do it, you take it away. 
  • Selling is about attitude and action.
  • Tip of iceberg. Conscious mind is only 10%, 90% is unconscious mind. –> Focus on your unconscious mind. What you believe is important. 
  • Things only have the meaning I give them. Things are things, and things can be changed. 

Definition of sales:

  • Selling = service
  • Sell from honesty, integrity, and compassion.
  • It’s not about a hard sell, it’s about a heart sell. 
  • Selling is about leading.
  • Selling is about moving people to action. 
More talking points:
  • Change begins in language. One of the ways we experience reality is the stories we tell. 
  • Direct command: human beings respond to direct command. 
  • Whatever to sell, remember to sell the dream
  • The key to change is to know what to change.
  • Procrastination is a control issue.
  • The key to selling is connecting.
  • Part of the language of influence is silence.
  • The sweet spot is the potentional is ready to make a purchase decision.
  • Follow up: pull potentional back to sweet spot. What part of the program that interests you most? Share a story. Benefit of join. Ask them for reorder.
  • Influence happens in an instant.
  • Sale is a thinking man/woman’s game
  • If you want to influence someone else, it’s not about you, it’s about them. 
  • Identify customer needs <—- ask questions.
  • What is the buying criteria? How they have bought in the past? Human beings make buying decisions in patterns. 
  • People buy benefits. Imagine the benefit of benefit. In what way it may affect your life?
  • Ask for referrals: easy, education, incentive. 

October 16, 2008

Implementation

Filed under: Business — Fei @ 10:56 pm

No matter of doing what, the most important thing is implementation, the execution… I just feel that I still need more motivation, and implement, implement, implement…  with this, I’d like to cite Donald Trump in an interview with CNBC:

“People have great ideas.  They havev talent and abilities. But they don’t know how to implement. ”

and I wish I had learned how to implement…

October 12, 2008

Thanks or sanks

Filed under: Freestyle — Fei @ 9:34 pm

Finally, after so many years in the states, I could tell the difference of “th” and “s”. Actually, when I paid attention, I would notice people said “sank you” when they should say “thank you”. However, over the years, I was never annoyed by the mistake… But this time was different. I was quite annoyed… I caught the mistake everytime people said so. and it irritated me… “sank you” has a total different meaning as “thank you”, maybe even the opposite meaning… 

After I became more sensative to the words, I listened around… you couldn’t imagine how many people spoke wrong, mostly Chinese… 

And now I understand why some people chuckled after I pronounced something wrong… it was hilarious…

October 6, 2008

Franchise, a safer business

Filed under: Business,Toast Master — Tags: — Fei @ 10:38 pm

Thanks Mr. Toastmaster, fellow toastmasters, and honored guests.

Before I come to my topic today. Let’s have a recap of what I talked in my last speech.

In my last speech, I talked about the purpose of business: “to make money”. The purpose of work is not to work. You don’t want to work “in” your business, but to work “on” your business. Business is building a system, and once it’s ready, you can be eliminated. The key of business is leveraging. Leverage other people’s money, other people’s time.

I also talked why most small businesses fail. Because building a system is so damn hard. It’s too complicated. And the founders may not possess the credentials to build a business.

Remember?

Building a system that nobody has ever done it before is hard. There’s no question about it. And I ask myself, do I want to build a system? Yah.. Do I have the capability to build one now? I look at myself… no… I have not experienced any real business myself. I don’t have the credentials. So, do I still try to build a new system that I don’t know how, and I have 99% of the chance to fail and end up with nothing. Or, do I put building a new business a side, for a moment, and try to improve my credentials, and increase my odds to be successful in the future. And I think it for a moment, and say, I want the latter.

Since building a brand new system is hard, how about building an existing system? The system is out there, you just need to implement it. In start-up world, idea is not important. What’s important is the team, the execution. If I can go through the system building process once, even though it’s not a new system. It is a good practice. But the problem is, where do I find an existing system to implement?

And I guess you all have figured out the answer. Franchise.

Franchise is a business model that the franchisor licenses proven methods of doing business to the franchisees in exchange for a recurring payment, fees, and a percentage of the sales or profits.

You see there are two parties here? The franchisor, and the franchisee. The franchisor, is a “real” business that I mentioned in my last speech. The franchisor creates systems. Once the system is successful, the franchisor just sits there, and collects fees. That money, is called passive income, because no active work is involved. On the other hand, the franchisees, implement a system. All the risks involving building a system are removed. The only remaining risk is execution. How well you execute the system, assuming the system works, decides how successful you are.

The key in a franchise business is duplication. The franchisor creates a successful system. How to duplicate the system in new areas? Conqure new land, spread throughout the country, throughout the world. Duplication is tedious. It does not contain any new ideas. You just do the exact same thing again and again. However the inside routine boredom of duplication hides the ultimate success. McDonalds is arguably the most successful franchise business in the world. You can find more McDonalds than any other restaurants in the world. That’s the success of duplication. Duplication is also critical outside the realm of franchise. One of the aspects Google emphasizes most is scalability. Everything has to scale. And scale is duplication. That makes google so successful.

What’s the unique benefit of franchise to a franchisee?

Well, as I said again and again. It provides a successful, duplicatable system. It provides a quick start. As a franchisee, you don’t need to learn how to run a business. It’s already there. You have the brand; you have sophisticated training systems; you have cookbooks for everything. You just execute the plan. Do you know how hard it is just to build a brand? When I say McDonalds hambegers, you all know what to expect, right? But when I say Fei’s hambegers, what do you think? Franshising saves you a lot of trouble, and removes a large portion of the risk.

However, as a franchisee, you don’t have total control on your business. You are stuck with the rules. This is actually a double edge sword. On the one hand, if you have a super bright idea, you cannot implement it. On the other hand, you can’t implement stupid ideas either. So it’s hard to say whether it’s good or not. But as a starter, maybe it’s better to play it safe.

As you can see, franchising a business is significantly safer than starting a new business. As a result… remember the fundamental financial principle? The higher the risk, the higher the return? The franchising business will not provide you the same financial reward as a successful start-up business. Not to mention, you need to pay a lot of money to the franchisor.

Franchising can be expensive. It may includes hundreds of thousands of dollors at start-up, and recurring annual license fees. Or, depending on the exact business, you may need to pay a portion of your sales or profit to the franchisor….. Plus, the company training, which you have to attend, may be expensive…

For me, how do I franchise? I don’t have that much money. What can I do? If you want to know more, come and listen to my next speech. “Personal franchise”.

Mr. Toastmaster.

——————-
Time: 7 minutes 24 seconds

September 29, 2008

Be healthy, and understand the reason

Filed under: Freestyle — Fei @ 11:34 pm

Here is part of an email I sent to a personal trainer, who may have more insights.  

I actually did some research on nutritions myself, and my general feel is that we can’t really believe the supposedly “brand name” products from the department stores. I saw many multi-vitamin products contain Calcium, Iron, Zinc together. It looks nice to have more minerals in one tablet, but few people know that’s a marketing trick. They don’t sell what’s good for people, they sell what’s good for money. Remember the objective of business is to make money?

Well you get what you are paid for…. isn’t it true?

————————
As for the WHO report, you can find it here: http://feisun.org/MA/WHO_Research/

More specifically, in Chapter 1, page 6, second paragraph, you will find an example to illustrate vegetarian sub-population may have iron deficiency. The figure is in page 7 (figure 1.2)

In chapter 13, page 250 (page 5 in the pdf file), you will find heam iron can be found in most meat, while non-heam iron exists in vegetables. The absorption rate of heam iron is generally higher than non-heam iron. meat is also an enhancer of non-heam iron absorption. while Phytates, often found in vegetables are inhibitors of iron. Also, in page 269 (page 24 in the pdf file), you will find the bioavailability of iron from meat is much higher than from vegetables.

So, my question is, are you worried about your iron intake level?

My other question is about Calcium on Iron and Zinc. Calcium is an inhibitor of Zinc, Chapter 12, page 237 (page 8 in pdf file), and Iron, Chapter 13, page 253 (page 8 in pdf file). Why many supplements contain both Calcium, Iron, and Zinc? Is it an oversight or something?

I trust WHO report because it is composed by a number of experts from different countries. I don’t see how they can be sponsored by certain group of interests.

September 18, 2008

What is Business?

Filed under: Business,Toast Master — Tags: — Fei @ 4:43 pm

Thanks, Mr. Toastmaster. Fellow toastmasters, and honored guests.

What is business? If you ask this question to a hundred people, you will get a hundred different answers. To me, business means three words, “to. make. money”. Business is providing a service or product “for a fee”. Business is not non-profit. It is for profit. If you think making money is evil, business is not for you. In business, money is essential; cash is the king. So if you want to do a business, you need to do everything around money.

Let me ask you another question. What’s the purpose of working? To get paid? To get paid to support you and your family? If you think that way, you are in an “employee mindset”. You want someone else to give you money in exchange for the time you spend working for them. But even that is not entirely true. Do you want to work in your 80s? Do you want to work till the day you die? No, right? You work today, because you want to retire in a future date. You want to retire after age of 65, so you can enjoy the rest of your life, without working. The purpose of working is not to work.

Yeah…. you can do that if you are an employee. But what if you want to retire in your 50s? in your 40s? or even in your 30s? Can you still do that by simply being an employee? hmm….. probably not. Because you cannot earn enough money to support you. But you can do that in one way. Be on a business, be the owner of the business.

But how to be the owner of the business? You can do that in two ways. You can either work “in” your business, or you can work “on” your business. And that makes a lot of difference. Say you own a dry cleaner, or a restaurant. But you work “in” your business, you work there 12 hours a day, 7 days a week. Is that the purpose? Do you enjoy it? Probably no. What you want to do is to work “on” your business. You hire somebody to work in your dry cleaner, or restaurant. You check their performance a few times a week, and release you from the 9 to 5 routine work. The purpose of business is to create a system, and once it’s ready and can be self running, you can be eliminated from the system. Does it make sense?

How can you do that? You may ask. You achieve that through leveraging. You leverage other people’s money, leverage other people’s time. When you start a company, you don’t have any money… you borrow money from your family, your friends, angel investors, venture capitalists. You leverage their money to achieve your goal. When you start a company, nobody works for you. You are the CEO, you are the sales person, you are the developer, you are the janitor. You are everybody. But as the company matures, you may hire a janitor, you may hire a developer, you may hire a sales person, and eventually, you may hire a CEO. Now, you eliminate yourself from the loop, but all those people work for you. You leverage their time to achieve your goal.

However, I have to admit, it is not easy to create a system. It is very hard. In fact, 4 out of 5 small businesses fail during their first 5 years. And 4 out of the 5 surviving businesses fail in the next 5 years. Creating a system is hard. It is partly because the system is complicated. It includes, operation, product development, sales, marketing, customer service. etc. etc. etc. They are totally different areas. More importantly, the system is brand new. Nobody has ever done it before. You have to try and error to see whether your assumptions are right. You just pray that your mistakes will not be too serious to correct.

Why most small businesses fail? Another important reason, I think, is the founders credentials. Do they know sales? Do they know marketing? Do they know product development? Do they know what they are doing? Many people are experts in one area. But they are often too idealistic for other areas. Among all the skills I mentioned, the most important skills are sales, and marketing. Of course that’s my personal opinion. I believe, no matter what you do, if you do that to a certain level, it is always people skill. It is especially important to the founders, the CEO, because CEO is first a sales person. You have to sell. You have to sell your ideas, you have to sell your products, you have to sell your vision, you have to sell your company, and you have to sell yourself. Marketing is also important, because it tells you what to sell, how to sell it, and sell to whom. So people skill is the most desired skill for entrepreneurs.

On the flip side, however. If you are the lucky one, you will earn millions, or even billions of dollars. Think about Microsoft, Yahoo, Google, Youtube… it goes back to the fundamental financial axiom: The higher the risk, the higher the return.

After my talk, I’d like to hear what you think business is; how you think to make business successful. If you want to hear my opinion, we can either talk offline, or come and listen to my next speech: “Franchise, a safer business”.

Mr. Toastmaster.

————
Time: 7 minutes 8 seconds

September 13, 2008

Pitching 101: How to present your plan effectively to VCs?

Filed under: Business — Fei @ 1:01 am

I went to a seminar a few days ago, which was quite interesting. Here I just scramble some notes….

  • Entrepreneur: do whatever it takes to make things happen. 
  • A fundable start-up: $75-100 million return in early stages (3-4 years). 
  • VC receive 500-800 plans, 50-100 get one hour meeting, 20 are interested, 5 are very interested, 1 gets funded.
  • Receive 100 plans/week, 100 meetings/year, eliminate 90% of them. 
  • VC pitch: 15-20 minutes, questions afterwords
  • PPT 10-15 slides, look at VC when pitching
  • Know each person in the meeting
  • Emphasize strong record, confident. Don’t bring whole team, may bring lawyer. 
  • PPT minimal text, rehearse. Titles tell the story. 

Sample PPT:

  1. One-liner (to which VC)
  2. Market
  3. Problem
  4. Solution
  5. Team
  6. Technology
  7. Customers
  8. Per customer economics
  9. Go to market strategy
  10. Milestone
  11. Financials (ask for money, why this amount, how to spend it)
  12. Competition
  13. Financing history
  14. Why this VC
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