A few years ago, as my wife and I were preparing for the birth of our 5th child, there was a flurry of activity at my home. She was feverishly cleaning and getting things in order, while I was putting together the baby swing and bassinet. And thankfully we got it all done, because the next Monday morning we were rushing to the hospital to give birth to our little bundle of joy, Ivy Joy Robinson…who entered the world at 2:37 p.m. on August 5th, at 8 pounds, 1 ounce, and 18 inches long. But once the delivery had taken place, the real work had just begun…
Obviously I had a lot of time to think about the birthing process over the last few months of my wife’s pregnancy, and I came to realize that the birth of a new business is not all that different from the birth of a child. Both go through a series of critical processes that are imperative to their long term viability and health, and the goal of both is to bring about a fruitful and productive entity that will make a positive difference in the world around it. However, far too many entrepreneurs and real estate investors try to skip over some of these steps, and they undoubtedly do so at their own peril.
1.) Conception – Most people would agree that conception is the most exciting and enjoyable part of the process. Hey, get your mind out of the gutter…I’m talking about business here! Perhaps you attended a seminar, read a book, or saw something on television, and it dropped a seed in your heart and mind that began to create a desire to start your own business and become an entrepreneur. This beginning stage is always very exciting, as you dream about the future, and what could become of your new endeavor.
It’s OK to dream…it’s the dream that gets your off your couch, and willing to finally do something different. It’s the excitement of being your own boss and having plenty of money in the bank that moves you from just talking about it to finally DOING something. Never let anyone talk you out of your dreams. Everyone needs to have a big “WHY” that motivates them throughout what can sometimes be a difficult process in launching a new business.
2.) Gestation Period – The gestation period for a child is the time from conception to birth, in which the baby is nourished by the mother while it grows to a point that it can survive outside the womb. This is a critical time in the birth of a child, and if it is rushed, it can lead to a dangerously low birth weight and/or the death of the fetus. In fact, for most species of animals, the more the fetus grows before birth, the longer the required gestation period. Smaller animals typically have shorter gestation periods, and vice versa.
In the birth of a new business, the time from conceiving the idea until the business actually launches is also extremely critical. This is a time for you to learn as much as you can about the business, talk to and/or be mentored by others who have successfully run similar business, and begin to develop a plan of implementation. You should also establish a business plan, as well as a marketing plan, and begin to set aside funds in your budget to invest in your new endeavor.
3.) Birth – While the birth of a new child is a very exciting moment for any family, any parent can tell you that it’s just the beginning. The real work is only starting, and those first few years are imperative to ensuring the physical, spiritual, and emotional health of your little one. It’s not enough to simply feed and clothe your new baby. Intelligent, well-behaved, and productive children need to be read to, have play time, be disciplined, as well as be taught important life lessons like manners, respecting their elders, etc.
The birth of a new business or a “grand opening” always has a sense of excitement to it, but after the balloons are deflated, the cake has been eaten, and the employees have gone home…you are left with the reality that this thing is going to take some work…some real work. It’s at this point that successful people roll up their sleeves, and go to it! They get up for work even when they don’t feel like it, they send letters and lick envelopes until their tongue falls off, they knock on doors or make cold calls when they hate rejection with every bone in their body. They recognize that NOBODY will love their “baby” as much as they do, and in the first few critical years of its existence, they will have to put more blood, sweat, and tears into than anyone else, if they want to see it grow into a self-sustaining, profit producing venture that will reap great benefits for them in the future.
Raising children and being an entrepreneur are both very rewarding, but both come with their own unique challenges. If you are thinking about opening your own business or becoming a real estate investor because it’s “so easy” or I can put it on “autopilot” or whatever other stupid cliché you’ve heard from a late night infomercial, save yourself some time and heartache and just go light a few hundred dollars on fire. But if you are willing to put in some time and effort into feeding and nurturing your new business, and are willing to grind through a few tough days during the building process, then I encourage you to go for it! If you endure the short term sacrifice at the beginning, you can definitely see the long term gain in terms of cash flow and wealth building in the near future. If you sow hard work, you will undoubtedly reap the rewards that will bless your life and finances for many years to come!