How not to just scrape by in life and business

My kids love to ask our Amazon Alexa device for the joke of the day.

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So I decided to ask it for a business joke and here’s what she told me:

Why did the snow plows ask for a raise? It’s because they were just scraping by.

And that’s why I’m going to leave the joke asking up to the kids and Alexa because I’m not about just scraping by.

Speaking of scraping by….

My father ran a business, and being his son was something like getting an MBA at birth—constant growth, under my father, from age five through my twenties (and further).

Here’s one of his tidbits, which I’ve come to see as something of an M.O.: “the biggest issue in any business is people.”

Which is why, when someone tells me it’s my job to help them get $1,000,000 in sales (this seems to be the number everybody aims at), I immediately think: how many people do you need to manage for that to happen?

There are factors involved.

Do you have a digital or virtual business where scaling doesn’t require additional labor? Then $1,000,000 is a sanity goal, it’s a sanity metric—you won’t go crazy for it.

Or will you need to employ 3 people to get it, including a full-time marketer making $100K per year? You might get $1,000,000 in revenue and less profit than you have now. Wait for some of those people to show their habits—they’re late, or they’re not detail-oriented, or they aren’t emotionally intelligent.

Suddenly, you pay their salary, refund the client, and a slew of headaches ensure—because we aimed at revenue, not profit.

Revenue is a vanity metric.

Profit is a sanity metric.

And management has a cost—it costs you money (do you need to hire a manager for those people) or it costs you time (you manage those people).

We often need to ask bigger questions: What do we want our lives to be like, primarily, among them.

The assumption that higher revenue equals greater quality of life is woefully, far too often, mistaken.

If we ask big questions, we can then ask the right smaller questions.

So, ask those questions.

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