Friday, June 10, 2011

She Sounds Expensive

In case you haven’t figured it out, I like to tell people what to do.  A lot.  (Just ask my family.)  That’s why I think my dream job would be a business consultant.  I’ll tell you what you should do and you either use my advice or not.  Either way, I still get paid.  Perfect job!  (I truly enjoy my current job but in an ideal world where I didn’t have bills or a mortgage I’d be a business consultant in Monopoly Land where the jail is always clean and no one cares if I don’t get $200 for not passing go.)

From time to time I do get asked to help a start-up company and I’m happy to oblige.  However, I’m not going to sugar coat anything; it is business, not a cookie factory (unless your business is a cookie factory).  Many times individuals wanting to start their own company do not consider the work required before they can say “We are open for business!” … which is what happened recently.

I was asked to help out a friend of a friend who is looking into opening his own company.  No problem.  It is a service company and I know some things about their work history.  So I begin to ask questions: who is their target market, what makes them different than their competition, what is their budget for the first year, does he have an exit strategy, etc.   While words were spoken in return as answers the real noise was “chirping”.  As in grasshopper chirping.  Meaning he had not thought that far in advance.  No problem.  I understand that when you are considering starting a company you don’t initially think through every last detail.  But eventually you should before turning on the open sign.

So, I write a semi-detailed email of what he should consider and be prepared for (I send it through my friend who forwards it on to the potential CEO).  America is a great place to do business as long as you cover all your bases because Americans are trigger happy with lawsuits.  Actually, I think suing people is the new American pastime.  Take that, Baseball!  Plus, being over prepared in business saves you heartache, headache, and money.

His response to my email was “She sounds expensive”.  I’m taking it as a compliment.  However, I’m not expensive.  Consider me the Baltic Avenue in Monopoly Land because the rates are dirt cheap, but I do like to give the same services at the Boardwalk level.
I will be more than happy to do whatever it is a company needs help with but I'd prefer to see someone succeed in their business instead of just survive.  Survival causes companies to be reactive instead of proactive.  I'd rather be the leader instead of the follower.  I'm pretty sure the followers were the ones who lost in Monopoly.

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