Time with Andy

Another opportunity to pick the brain of a well respected man. Thanks Andy.

Just jump in, stop planning

So I had the opportunity again, to me with an older man named Andy. Andy is one of those guys who has been around for a while and had jobs in business and in ministry. So he has lots of experience with people. Although my time with him was much different than my time with Chuck, it was also equally as valuable. As he is from a different generation, we talked a lot about with the generation gap that exists for people trying to start businesses. Most notably is the difference between the attitudes of his generation mine. He makes good points, my generation is more focused on relationships. From his account, his generation wants to cut through all the niceties and get straight to the point… at least in business. The approach to be bold when attempting to find new business (especially from someone who is well-established) kind of caught me off guard. “If you want something, just ask”. It may seem too bold, but the point is, you don’t want to leave the conversation with them wondering, “What was that all about” or even worse “That was a pointless meeting”. We are just different and it takes a certain amount of tact to find the line but also enough boldness to make it happen.

Andy also mentioned to me there are three types of people when he comes to sales. One type is the person that will only be sold via a reference. They typically never buy from anyone other than someone who’s been recommended by them by a confidant or well respected peer. The second type are the people that want to be sold by numbers. They see a return on investment and realistic metrics. Engineers, math types where numbers and quantifiable data being of the utmost importance. Finally, the third type of person who is sold by testimonial. What other people have to say about you, your business and the work you offer. It tends to be less about the product and more about who you are.

However, the most intriguing part to me was the conversation we had around what successful a successful people did to make their businesses in the first place. He said, “If you ask any successful businessman especially someone who started off from nothing, you’ll find one common thread. All of them seemed as though they had the perfect plan figured out from the very beginning. [That’s crap]” (emphasis added). He mentioned to me that it is often not the case to have a plan figured out beforehand, only leaving the execution of it left to conquer, but the plan was a series of trial and error events that when viewed in retrospect, worked. This is contrary to words written by these same successful people when they write their books. Most of us, (especially me) spent a large part of the time trying to plan on having everything figured out perfectly buttoned up before jumping in.

100% of the shots you don’t take, you miss

I really got fed up with this this year and decided it was the “year of doing”. Trying to figure out the perfect time to be ready, is like trying to be ready to have kids… you never will be. Just do it already. A lot of times we end up doing nothing, waiting for the perfect time that won’t come. Most of the people who set out to make a business write a business plan as a navigational tool. All they really did was have a goal of where they wanted to go and took one step in a direction, viewed the results, readjusted, and took another step. If the steps in one direction work, keep going, if not change course and go another way. So at the end of a successful career they would look back and say, “Ha, that was a good plan, I’m so glad I had it all figured out.” However this approach is more like throwing a dart against the wall and drawing the bull’s-eye around it. When in fact, all you knew in the beginning is that you had a dart and and a wall.

Moral of the story: you’re closer than you think you are. Make sure you operate with integrity, character, talent, skill and you have an idea of where you want to go. It’s something you have to step out there and start doing. Because 100% of the shots you don’t take, you miss.

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