You Are The Secret Ingredient

Ken has a small business idea. How would Dave feel about starting the business but hiring a full-time manager while he keeps his day job?

QUESTION: Ken on Facebook has a small business idea. How would Dave feel about starting the business but hiring a full-time manager while he keeps his day job? Dave doesn’t think the business model stands much chance of success unless Ken is willing to devote a lot of time to it.

ANSWER: The truth is that it’s not like real estate, because real estate will run itself once you put the tenant in it and those kinds of things. The number of hours or days you’ll have to spend on it isn’t anything like business.

I don’t think you stand a real high chance of success in this business with that model unless you are going to devote 40–50 hours a week to it in addition to your high-paying job. Were you to buy an existing business with a manager in place that was already running without leadership, it would be possible. But I don’t think what you’re going to do is going to work. It could; I just think you’ve got a very low probability.

What people forget about business is that the secret ingredient to success in small business is you. You’re the secret ingredient. You’re the energy, you’re the ideas, you’re the passion, you’re the enthusiasm, and you’re the smile that greets the customer. Chains and franchises train that kind of stuff. But when it’s a guy’s baby, it’s his baby, and he’s going to treat it like it’s his baby.

I think a start-up small business with an outside manager is going to be difficult because it’s missing the secret ingredient to success: you. If you’re willing to work that hard at it and keep your job, I think that’s a good plan. But if you think you’re just going to swing by there and spend an hour a day and this thing is going to make you a lot of money, you’re just going to lose the money. You might as well just give it to a charity.

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