I’ll admit it, I’m glad 2016 is over. Not for me, I had a terrific year: my oldest daughter got into one of the top universities in the country, my youngest daughter is now focused on doing well in school (because of sissy getting into a big Uni. no doubt!) and I’m putting the finishing touches on a book coming out in 2017.
No, I am glad that 2016 is over because of the loss of some of our favorite entertainers, departing at an unfathomable rate: David Bowie, Prince, Glenn Frey, Alan Rickman, Gene Wilder, George Michael and today Carrie Fisher.
Not to mention some of the world’s most elite athletes: Arnold Palmer, Jose Fernandez, John Saunders and of course “The Greatest,” Muhammad Ali, to name just a few.
Muhammad Ali’s Trainer – Angelo Dundee
Mohammed Ali’s trainer, Angelo Dundee, has worked with some of the world’s best boxers including: Sugar Ray Leonard, George Foreman, George Scott, Luis Manuel Rodríguez and Willie Pastrano.
Dundee said of Ali, ”Muhammad had it all: natural talent, unbelievable speed and reflexes for a big man, skills, smarts, courage, you name it, he had it” but more importantly Ali had a work ethic that was rare, even among professional boxers Dundee continued, “I never had to ask him to come to the gym. He was there before I even got there. As soon as he got there, he’d start working”
“There are a lot of people who are geniuses at what they do, but Ali trained his butt off,” added Justin Fortune, former heavyweight contender.
The problem with geniuses
The problem with geniuses is that for many, things come easily in life. They don’t study – yet get a 99% on a test. They know the right thing to say to the right person in the corporate world, so they get promoted. On and on it goes, but there is one common thread to all of it: many never really had to learn how to put in the long hours to make it happen. That type of “gift” can be the kiss of death when starting a business that requires long hours, and dedication to get it up and running.
Give me a person of average intelligence…
People of average intelligence, but with a strong work ethic, have a much higher chance of building a successful business than the genius that never learned to work a hard day in his or her life. The fact is most successful businesses are not successful because of the newest hot idea; but a mediocre idea executed really well.
If I could do it all over again!
If I could do it all over again, and my career was based entirely on making the most “sure-fire” money possible (btw it’s not – I’m one of those rare people who love what I do in the corporate world and for my creative side, the writing world), I would own a driveway paving company in Northern Westchester. “Huh?!” you think. Let me explain. This industry has three things that make it attractive to a would be entrepreneur: fragmented competition, no market leader and BIG profit per job (Northern Westchester, NY has some long driveways!).
Is the driveway paving game sexy? Not even a little – which keeps people like you away from it. Is it expensive to enter? You can rent the equipment needed for $1000 a job; the material costs another $1500, and the labor will cost about $5000. The average high-end driveway in Northern Westchester costs circa $15,000-$18,000. This means profit of $7500-11,500. Once the system is up and running the owner could easily scale it. Multiply about $10,000 profit by 100 jobs a year and the business profits over $1m. I think that could be achieved in less than three years. Imagine what can be done in 10 years?
The point is, with hard work, great delivery, great customer service and a little branding, within a decade the cash machine will crank out deep seven figures. Repeat business is also likely along the way, which makes that business, “exit-able” for tens of millions of dollars.
It is the hard work and dedication to “a system” that makes the business profitable, not a genius idea or a genius leader.
Genius ideas do have their place and if one has a genius idea and a strong work ethic watch out – that’s the stuff that Facebook is made of; however, that’s not most people. If you have a decent idea, don’t wait for a great one. Engage your entrepreneurial calling and get moving – because it takes time to build momentum and momentum is what makes big outcomes in business possible.