How to Boost Your Odds for Success

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Scenario: "Dude, let's do anything and everything. Yay!" You know the deal:

  • "BusinessWebMagazine 2.0 predicts CRM to be next big opportunitiy!"
  • "AJAXWebToday see CRM entrepreneurs as next frontiers!"
  • "CRMToday: We're the hottest frickin' thing since sliced bread!"

So, the ten gazillion adventurous entrepreneurs hop on the bandwagon craze-fest, thinking they'll make their billions chasing the latest-greatest opportunity. What happens?

  • A tiny few succeed.
  • Most fail, miserably.

Chasing the next-great-big opportunity prevents you from capitalizing on your strengths (Hot opportunities dissipate within years before you could really do anything, anyway.) Instead, boost your chances for success by exploiting the talents you've built your entire life.

How Hot Opportunities Suck

Take 35-year old Jimmy in May 2005.

  • He's a passionate Italian cook for 15 years, but wants to be rich.

He picks up a local business magazine, and sees its headline screaming:

  • "Opportunities Galore in the Web 2.0 Social Networking Industry.".

He soon researches the power social networking players, then studies PHP/CSS/XHTML/Ajax programming books to "create even more features than MySpace, where peeps will go nuts for my site!"

Flash-Forward a Few Months Later

Several issues happen:

  • PHP bugs galore.
  • Programmers slack on feature development.
  • Beta testers spend only average 20 seconds/visit.
  • Beta testers have no friends.

Days pass by: He's $20K in debt, still 50% of the project away from completing, and he needs money. Bankruptcy to the hizzle.

What Went Wrong?

Jimmy competed on technology, where he:

  • barely knew programming effectively
  • underestimated the time it took
  • speculated what people wanted
  • competed against industry veterans

Those industry veterans would've destroyed whatever application Jimmy developed -- quickly, efficiently, and effortlessly.

  • They knew more about (1) structuring fast-loading CSS/XHTML design markup, (2) programming cleanly, (3) marketing online virally, (4) incorporating complex technology, (5) developing rapid coding, etc., etc.

Whatever Jimmy thought he could do, the veterans would've done it a gabillion times better. In other words -- even with a glimmering of hope, he severely decreased his odds for success by competing in something completely foreign to him. It's akin to a ignorant 7-year old deciding he wants to compete with heavyweights.

Remember: Business is an Odds Game

The strategy's oh-so-simple, but seemingly only business rock stars use the two-rule approach:

  1. Increase your odds for success.
  2. Reduce your odds for failure.

Simple, simple.

  • When you do something completely foreign, you boost your chances to fail at it.
  • When you do something you know, you boost your chances to rock at it.
  • When you try to make millions within a viciously short time, you boost your chances at failure.
  • When you compete against people you know for certain you can beat, you boost your chances to succeed.
  • When you compete against the world's best right off the bat, you boost your chances to fail.

What Jimmy Should've Done

Jimmy wanted millions. To boost his chances for success, our advice:

  1. Stick to the Italian restaurant industry since that's what you love and know.
  2. Co-own a restaurant to build equity.
  3. When you've built enough, open/buy a new restaurant.
  4. Automate the processes such that it runs itself.
  5. When the system's in place, apply it to a second restaurant.
  6. Then, a third. And, a fourth. Then, fifth.

(Hey, you just got a system in place. Go wild -- but, smartly.)

The Not-So-Obvious Reality Check

  • A few social networking sites netted millions last year.
  • A few thousand restaurants netted their owners millions the same year.

Jimmy's best chances of making those millions didn't lie in that hot social networking opportunity, or wherever some outdated magazine overly hyped. Oh, no: it lied on what he knew best -- and where he maximized his odds for success: The Italian food industry. He could rock the competition with his 15-year track record, knowledge, passion, and instincts in the industry. To build that next million-dollar mutha-!@^^%&, stop chasing 'opportunties' -- and find ways to:

Capitalize on your world-class talents.


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Posted on May 24

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