Kevin loved working on cars and had a knack for making even the roughest running rust bucket purr like a kitten. But even more than fixing cars, he loved building cars – race cars. He enjoyed welding roll cages, reinforcing fenders, upgrading chassis and narrowing rear ends. It was his passion.
He started his own shop to customize race cars and kept busy for a while but when the economy tanked so did his business. Since then he’s been scratching out a business repairing anything on four wheels.
Kevin came to me because he wanted ideas on how to market his race car business. Our conversation went something like this:
Me: How have you marketed yourself in the past?
Kevin: I went to races and passed out a few business cards.
Me: Do you have the names of the people you gave them to?
Me: Do you know any racers who might need work done?
Kevin: A few.
Me: Can you give them a call and see if they’d let you work on their cars?
Kevin: Oh no, I wouldn’t want to do that; I wouldn’t want to impose on them.
Me: Well…. How do you think you’re going to grow your business if you don’t want to call people who might need your services?
Kevin: I thought maybe I’d find some cool T-shirts and sell them.
That was the moment I knew Kevin wasn’t cut out to be an entrepreneur. He just didn’t have it in him to do what he needed to do to keep the business that he said he loved alive.
There are a lot of Kevin’s in the world. They think that owning a business is the way to easy street and success. What they don’t understand is that owning a business often means stepping out of your comfort zone and doing things you’ve never done and never thought you’d ever have to do. •It means learning how to read financial statements, placating bankers and negotiating with suppliers.
•It means building strong teams; recruiting good people and firing bad ones.
•It means picking up the phone and admitting to a customer that her job isn’t going to be shipped on time or that your employee scrapped all the parts.
•It means prospecting for new customers, growing profitable ones and weeding out the unprofitable ones.
•It means losing sleep when business is bad and figuring out how to keep and reward your best people when it’s good.
•It means looking in the mirror every morning and knowing that the day will bring new challenges and opportunities and you’ll be ready for them.
•It means knowing without a shadow of a doubt that you are doing the work you were born to do.
That’s what it means to be an entrepreneur