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Chapter 3
Men Are Cheaper Than Guns


Chapter 4
Intellectual Capital And Bootstrapping


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Growing Your Small Business

We are assuming you decide to continue your business. Now you will need to consider how you will grow your current company. Company growth is key to survival.

I recall reading Suze Orman's The 9 Steps To Financial Freedom. She writes about money from a very personal perspective and tells the story of how she learned the importance of money, when, as a young girl, she watched her dad's fried chicken stand burn to the ground. The chicken stand was the family's livelihood.

After escaping the flames, her dad realized that his money was still in the cash register. Risking his life, he ran back to get it. Out he came with flesh burned from his arms from carrying the hot cash register. At that time, Orman says she learned the importance of money. It was more precious than life. She became very money focused for years after.

Her dad didn't have insurance. And, for many years, the family struggled. His supplier, who her dad had a good relationship with, offered to finance a new chicken stand, and the family went into business again. Suze said to her dad that they must be lucky now. He said, "Maybe yes, Maybe no."

Then another business expanded, and the small chicken stand, which was doing well, was evicted to make room for it. Suze said, "I guess we aren't so lucky."

Her dad said, "Maybe yes, Maybe no."

Her dad found a new location. The location of the original chicken stand. Suze said "I guess we're lucky after all."

Her dad said, "Maybe yes, Maybe no."

The chicken stand was a success, until it burned down. Because it was doing well, the owner of the location said he was going to triple the rent when the store reopened. Suze's dad couldn't afford that. At age 70, he started looking for a new location for his chicken stand.

A friend got her dad a great location on a university campus, and he took it. When he told his landlord he was relocating, the shocked landlord offered her dad the original location for less rent than he had been paying. So he opened two chicken stands.

Suze said to her dad, "You know what, Pops? You are one lucky duck." Much to her surprise, her dad said, "Yep, Suze, you got that right."

While Suze learned that financial success ebbs and flows, I'd say the lesson is that happiness is two chicken stands!

Growth provides you with a safety net of sorts. Many technology companies have grown into businesses with $10 million in revenue, earning a nice $1 million per year. Then, suddenly, something happens to change the status quo. Suddenly, the company can't continue as it did.

If the founder of the company has been financially frugal, and saved and invested part of his earnings over the years, he has a financial cushion. He doesn't need to start another high-tech chicken stand! Further, if the money has been retained in the business and invested for the business, the owner probably has other directions in which to take the company, and the financial reserves to do so. A company generating much less revenue and profits probably wouldn't have had the financial reserves.

Of course, we won't feel quite as sorry for the high-tech entrepreneur whose company fails and who gets rich along the way as we did for the plight of Suze's dad!

The other business lesson from the chicken stand story, of course, is the importance of personal relationships in helping you recover and succeed in business.


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