I’m ready to go from ‘wantrepreneur’ to ‘micropreneur’

Guy Kawasaki, founder of AllTop once said, “Ideas are easy. Implementation is hard.”

Since I’ve pushed my business in a new direction over the last four months, I have had some amazing experiences. The people I’m working with? Well, them…they’ve had it tough. But it’s put me in a position to know what my strengths and weaknesses are, and where I need to help folks who are in the position of being a ‘wantrepreneur’.

I’ve talked to a lot of folks. There’s been a lot of coffee shop one-on-ones. And the biggest grief I hear about why people aren’t making money?

EXCUSES.

People call me a lot. A LOT. I spend a lot of time on the phone walking owners through how to ‘go around’ their problems or how to solve them. And no matter what I say…EXCUSES.

Case Study: a lovely bar in Texas just had problems. They didn’t do a lot of research before opening their bar, they had no idea who their target market was, and they decorated the place like THEY were the customer…instead of knowing who their customer truly was.

Okay, so that can be fixed. We can figure ways around a bar that doesn’t allow food or liquor. But I can’t help you beyond your excuses. In fact, I was willing to help this person…for FREE, new website, new marketing materials, all my labor and efforts FREE, because I felt so bad for their situation. However, my ‘free help’ came back to bite me in the a$$. This person suddenly wanted me to run their business for them. With no pay. And no budget.

Problem: the city won’t let me have food because I don’t have a kitchen. Answer: well, have you asked them how you CAN have food? Snacks? Retail for ‘sale’ food still in packages that don’t need to be refrigerated? Can you create a ‘beer and chips’ package where you get a little baggy of lays chips included with your pour? Have you thought of catering food in from a local restaurant? You know the answer. I wouldn’t be writing this article if they said yes. This is a great example of why sometimes businesses don’t succeed.

Problem: nobody likes the beer we serve. Answer: serve different beer. But, they insisted they couldn’t. The local brewery was already serving that beer. I about fell outa my chair. Really? I guess Target can’t sell pants because Walmart does. I guess Ikea can’t sell furniture because Ashley Furniture already has that market. Just to be a mean businesses mentor, I actually visited the brewery…which told me a much different story about WHY they even had a storefront. In fact, they suggested to MY business mentee to serve a different tap because they get a lot of requests they can’t fulfill. When I returned to the bar I was helping and mentioned this the story was confirmed. She already knew that, and they bar didn’t want ‘that crowd’. It was an honest mistake, but I blurted out, ‘don’t you want money?’. Oops. I guess that was kinda harsh. This is a classic ‘do you know your market’ problem. Craft beer in a working class town full of factories? These guys want classic light beer on tap while they watch the game.

Problem: I’m not allowed to have a sign. Answer: have you asked the city WHY they denied your sign request? Yup. They already used too much frontal square footage. I suggested they remove the signs on the front of the building (which had nothing to do with beer) and replace them with an appropriate sign that indicated they were a bar. Complaint: we spent so much money. Well, I guess you should have done a little more work before you opened. Knew your city regulations. Chatted it up with the locals. Why did you pick this location? Because it was cheap? (yes) Cheaper doesn’t mean better if the space doesn’t allow you to do what you want to do. That’s why they call business an investment. Money in now becomes more money later.

Complaint: there’s too much competition now. Answer: those guys down the road aren’t even competing with you. Their bar is not even a bar…it’s advertising. They are advertising their brewing factory. They serve their own beer and cider. The fact that they serve beer is a service for them. It’s marketing. And besides, they are NOT your competition! I hear this phrase EVERY DAY. Guys…the world is a big place. The city is pretty darn large. There are enough customers for us all. My parents go to a different bar than my sister, and I go to a bar that is different than anything anyone in my family would visit.

The result? If you are whining and complaining about your business…you are a wantrepreneur. (yes, there are other signs, I just focused on this one.) Entrepreneur’s look at these obstacles and they figure out ways to get past them. They sit down and do a little Googling, they meet the locals, they talk to city officials, and they GET RESULTS. Or they know they need to find help to get the results.

Please guys. Stop complaining. If you want to whine and complain…wake up or get outa the way.