Peter Mehit, author and blogger, is a serial entrepreneur with experience in small business and Fortune 100 companies. His diverse experience started in the oil industry where he ran welding crews in his early twenties. He eventually built a career in information technology, business process design and outsourcing, working for some of the largest corporations in the world. He has directly participated in six start ups along with advising hundreds more. He is the author of ‘Killer Business Plan’ and is co-founder of Custom Business Planning and Solutions, a company that creates killer business plans, sources funding and helps companies run better in less steps.
Mr. Mehit is a sought after speaker and a published columnist. He is married to his partner, Lydia and has two grown children. A drummer and songwriter, he performed in the trailblazing progressive rock band IXT ADUX as well as working in Dr. Gene Scott’s ‘Unband’ with Ron Spann.
Mr. Mehit lives in Irvine, CA
Welcome to the collection of writings by Peter Mehit, the author of this blog. Feel free to repost these articles as you’d like, but please link back to this blog or attribute them to “Peter Mehit, author of the WordPress blog, ‘Dispatches From The Front’ wbpllc.wordpress.com“
What did we all hear as children about running with scissors?: ‘You’ll fall down and put your eye out.’
A heroic mindset is useful for times of conflict and challenge, but where it comes to the finances of your start up or expanding company, you can’t afford to be anything but a steely eyed realist.
I have been hearing a growing drumbeat from angel investors that start ups shouldn’t waste their time writing a business plan. “They suck,” one angel investor told me recently, “Especially the financials. They’re clueless and it shows.”
Over the past year we have been surveying ‘success’ literature looking for common patterns. To our surprise, we found them hiding in plain sight. From Napoleon Hill’s epic survey of industrial titans, “Think and Grow Rich” to the ‘scientifically’ based “Psychocybernetics” to “The Master Key” which is the basis for “The Secret”, all of them are saying the same things even though they were written in different times for different audiences. To us, it breaks down to three basic principals:
A friend of mine, once honored for his business accomplishments, was asked what advice he would give to those starting a business. With a wry smile he said, “Don’t do it.”
Often, the people we work with are afraid to report information that doesn’t meet expectations. No one wants to be seen as a naysayer or as working against the team. People will bury negative information in details, ignore it or, worst of all, hide it. Yet, it is the information that we don’t expect that many times tell us what we really need to know.
Vision is imagining a future state you want to achieve. It’s where you want to be at some date certain. Some people visualize a nice house and car and comfortable life but little beyond that. Even though they may not know it, they choose the schooling, jobs and investments they need to achieve that vision. Their unconscious mind keeps working toward the vision they have set.
To be a trusted advisor means that your client’s goals come before yours. To attain this position, you have to find prospects who like or respect you, you have to listen closely to them and you have to give them fair advice that may not lead to a sale.
Trouble in partnerships generally comes from three things: Poor due diligence by the partners, mismanaged expectations and lack of defined roles and responsibilities.
What do you want to have happen? What does the future look like? With that future in mind, what price are you willing to pay to achieve it? Never go forward without a clear goal in mind. Change is difficult and disruptive; you need a reason to do it.
The auditor who usually ran these reviews was one of the kindest, yet toughest, auditors I’ve ever worked with. He’d always start with the same question, ‘What are the eaches?’ He wanted to know how many hours, square feet or cubic yards of something we had to sell to reach a specific revenue or profit goal. This experience taught me that looking at a business in terms of units made or sold provides critical clues about the viability of it.
All franchises are not created equal. There has been a huge boom in the franchise industry, with some business models not quite ready for duplication being sold to the public. We’ve worked with many clients who’ve purchased franchises and have come up with a few things to consider when selecting a franchise.
Based on a mash up of computer networking theory and the concept of six degrees of separation, network science is an emerging theory of marketing. It’s the building and utilization of a group of contacts whom you could help that can help you. The website LinkedIn is based on this concept.
Who is your customer? That is the single most important question you will ask in your business life. If you’re smart, you’ll ask it again and again because the answer is always changing. Most owners never ask it.
Most of us keep to-do lists. We have iPads and smart phones and keep track of what we’ve promised to other people. We track the things we need to get done. But what about the future? What about those great ideas that happen while waiting in line?
The beauty of reading is that it’s an internal experience. The work of interpreting the words forces you to slow down. Sometimes you may have to question what a word or a sentence means. It starts your thought processes. Then you take those words and relate it to your own experiences. They ring true or they don’t. Reading leads to both understanding and evaluation.
Probably the most important thing we do in business is manage expectations. If your customer expects a hot juicy steak, it better not be cold. If they are expecting a white sedan, a blue coupe will not do. Whether or not you can get them to accept what they didn’t ask for is irrelevant. They won’t be back and they tell others not to use your business.
What makes some people successful and others not? It boils down to three primary traits:
They have a clear idea what they wanted to make or do,
They believe they can figure out anything,
They understand, actually or intuitively, how the mind works
If your arm was broken and you believed the doctor could fix you, you’d have your arm set, regardless of the cost. If you believe that a consultant can both earn their keep and increase your profits, logic would dictate you would start that work. Not proceeding doesn’t make sense. Something else is at work.
‘Start out how you mean to go on.’ I heard those words frequently growing up. When starting a business, this phrase needs to become an entrepreneur’s mantra. While I believe it applies to everything from romance to building an enterprise, let’s look at three specific situations bound to come up as you launch your company.
They were bullied and marginalized for most of their lives. Most left the education system in middle school because they were bored or mistreated. All of them lived with parents or relatives, reeking havoc on some of the largest organizations in the world from their bedrooms.
Pam and Kim were displaced by the banking crisis. Rather than despairing, they took their love of chocolate and developed PK’s Chocolates, which is both a brick and mortar and on line business. Having participated in their taste testing sessions this spring, we can tell you that they are at once the most unusual and delicious treats you can imagine.
BIOGRAPHIES / INTERVIEWS
The Boy Can’t Help It - J.J. Synder – Hollywood Outdoor Movies
In my experience, and its one view point, I actually see less novelty and more repackaging. I call this ‘Brain Wave Zero’. I believe that the results will be essentially the same as McKenna’s theory, but the collapse will occur because we have run out of new ideas.
America is a country that loves to see a good beating. So who’s going to dominate in that environment?
I was a tad late, and entering from the back of the room, my attention was drawn not to the presentation at the front of the room, but to the sea of little illuminated rectangles in front of most of the participants. It stunned me so much that I stood and watched as the contents of the screens changed faster than the presentation.
I have recurring insomnia. Not every night, or every week, but enough that I am always playing catch up. One recent Saturday night I was sitting in our upstairs office, cleaning out my e-mail and watching You Tube videos when two loud collisions broke the silence.
That’s another great aspect of America. You can offend me if you want to. You can tell me that the real problem is that politicians are not loyal enough whores when they shouldn’t be whores at all.
The art of creating schisms as cover has been a tool of both parties all along, but the repeated use of division has raised the noise level of public discourse to the point that no one is being heard. And now that the money is disappearing, the divisions are opening up between all of us.
The open source movement created an interesting dichotomy: A business with lots of customers that makes no money. Once open sourcers tried to make the jump to a pay model, they ran into the one of the biggest constants of humannature. People don’t want to pay forwhat they have taken for free. Like the ex-lover who marries their very next romantic partner, people will pay someone else for a lesser version of your product instead of rewarding you for giving them a free ride. People just don’t respect free.
The powers of SB1070, used for the purposes stated, are fine. It’s the infrastructure it creates that is the real problem. Think of all the abuses under the PATRIOT Act. Wiretaps and e-mail impounding that could have never taken place before it was signed into law. Extrajudicial rendition, the practice of scooping people off of streets in foriegn countries. Torture. These are all things our government is doing now.
Then Reid Hoffman spoke. Beginning as a clearly outlined speech, it quickly disintegrated into jargon filled business school talk, punctuated with moments of extreme clarity. One of these points came when he said. “Careers are dead.”
The same generation that brought you Woodstock, free love and weed are now the same people that fight universal health care, send young poor men to fight in wars that should have never been waged and never saw a buck they didn’t like. Even if it meant screwing their own kids and grandkids.
As the days went by, I couldn’t help wondering if there wasn’t some kind of Oliver Stone type rigging going on.
I’ve always taught her to be up front. If you don’t like something, say something. Don’t suffer in silence. I never actually thought she’d listened to me.