Starting a business always presents shaky moments, especially at the start point. Today, Ken Courtright talks about how he started his own business, the challenges he went through, and how he solved it. If we want to get somewhere, we have to start somewhere. Ken encourages us to be brave and bold enough to pursue what we want to do.
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Don’t Get Good
This is episode 48 and it’s called Don’t Get Good, Get Done. These next three shows are in response to spending in Las Vegas with GMP, New Peaks’ Global Mastermind Program. They have a group of people that put some money in, collectively get together a few times a year and bring in mentors and coaches. It’s a tremendous almost week-long mastermind session for these individuals. While I was there, there were three things that I kept finding myself repeating and I realized, “There is a theme here.” It seems like not only this group but maybe other people that are reading the show could use this information as well. It is timely and relevant info. I titled this first of the three nuggets, Don’t Get Good, Get Done.Companies go out of business and product lines fade away. Click To Tweet
I am going to start with the concept that in the early to mid-‘90s, Kerri and I had a chain of video stores. At its peak, we had multiple stores. We spent a tremendous amount of money on each new site launch. In the corner of each location, we have a pit of balls so the kids could come in and play in the pit while the parents were shopping for a video. There were ten TVs around the pit of balls. The kids could be distracted while the parents search out a good movie for that week. It was awesome. They were tremendous stores, but here is the key. Our first store, on a shoestring budget, we made the shelves ourselves. We bought wood from Menards or Home Depot and we routed the wood ourselves. We ran hundreds of pieces of 1×6 and 1×4 through a router. In the basement, we had somebody else paint it. We put in some interesting looking shelves together. We walked into other video stores and set the pricing to match what they were doing. We had no idea what we were doing. We had no clue. We put the new releases in the back of the store because that is what some of the competitors were doing.
Our first video store when compared to the last store we opened in a different town, nothing was the same. The carpet and the shelves weren’t the same. We didn’t buy movies in the same way and from the same place we bought them from in the beginning. We didn’t buy the same lights, fixtures and advertising. Nothing was the same. However, if we didn’t start, the customers would have never told us what they would like us to build. Had we not started, the customers would have never told us, “Is there any way you can get these types of movies? Is there any way you could have shelves like this so we could see the movies? Is there any way your bottom shelf could be a foot off of the bottom because I can’t read things that low nor can I bend down that low?” There were many things that we viewed as mistakes. Had we not made those mistakes and a lot of our customers would tell a better way of doing things, we could have never grown that chain into the size of the old video chain it was.
The key here is we had to start. We had no idea what we were doing. It was terrible in the beginning. Our numbers were terrible and we had no processes. Everything in those first few months was terrible, but we started. I want to go into our current website portfolio. We have over 700 sites that make money. One hundred percent of them, whether we bought them already making money or we built them from scratch, we end up overhauling the whole website every roughly eighteen months or so. Maybe they are not mobile responsive or visitors to the website said, “Could you guys blog or talk about this?” In the internet world, every year is like dog years. A year goes by the internet is like seven years in the business world.
Changing a website every eighteen months is outdated at that point. How about your business? Are you waiting for all of the lights to turn green before you start? If you are, I am going to tell you something incredibly painful. It’s almost unbelievable but it’s true. One hundred percent of the main revenue streams fail. One hundred percent of the number one household income, whatever your house makes money with right now, it doesn’t matter. Whoever the main breadwinner and whatever that person is doing for a living is going to fail. They are mortal and they are going to pass on at some point. There are no companies, few that exist today, were existent many moons ago. Companies go out of business and product lines fade away.Clients want to buy from people, but they also know a better way to do things. We can’t and never will be our clients. Click To Tweet
Here is the key. If you try to get all of your ducks in a row, the ducks are going to die anyway. Why would you wait to get ducks in a row when you can start? I am sitting there at the GMP, spending a few days with 40 amazing entrepreneurs. I sat through six specific potential startups where I wrote in my notes, “It could be answered by clients. It could be fixed by clients.” What my notes mean is every one of the sticking points that those entrepreneurs or potential startups had, they would have been quickly solved had that entrepreneur started the business already took their product or service to market and let the customer tell them how to change or better the product or offer. Had the entrepreneur started the product line before they came to the GMP Mastermind, say they started four months before, the client or customer of their product or offering would have already told them a better way to list their product on a website or sell it on Facebook.
That is what clients do. Clients want to buy from people, but they also know a better way to do things. They are not afraid to tell you. We can’t and never will be our clients. This is a major misnomer in business today. We can’t think like our clients. We are not the client. By definition, we need to start an imperfect business with an imperfect model under an imperfect plan so we can get customer feedback to improve it. That is the only way. In 2009, we sold our first authority website and we modeled after WebMD. One short year later, our website partners said, “We would like a guaranteed revenue stream. If you can find a way to add a guaranteed revenue stream, we will take more of these authority sites from you.” We added that in the next two years because we guaranteed the revenue stream from any size website we’ve started. We exploded.
In 2012, our website partners, aka our clients, asked if we would like to go out and buy them websites already making money. We started Income Store, a company that does that. In 2014, our number one request came from site partners asking us repeatedly if we had an offering that included both an authority website for leads for their business and yet guaranteed returns to protect the contract. We created a hybrid product that is now our number one offering. It generates leads for a business and brings in revenue from day one and protects that contract. They can will it to their kids with a guaranteed return with their original money. Every product we offer today was built in direct response to customers asking us to make it. In the beginning, we did not try to assemble the perfect team and write the perfect plan. We just started making a mess so we could come back later and clean it up. We are still today and that is 3 out of 4 years in a row, hitting the Inc. 5000 list, making beautiful messes. Get your butts out there, start your next business or add your next product line. Don’t get good, get done. See you on the trail. Take care.
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