Archive for April, 2011

Everything you touch turns to gold…

Looks can be deceiving…

My business partner and I were cruising the show floor at a professional symposium, when one of the younger members of our technical community stopped us and asked, “How do you guys do it, anyway? Everything you touch turns to gold…”

We both looked at each other, and grinned.  I said, “Do you want to tell him, or should I?”  And then we both proceeded to explain that, in fact, many things we had tried over the years had NOT worked.

Or as I summed it up, “You’ve never seen all the dead bodies. We killed them quick, and then buried them. Occasionally we were able to nurse one back to life…”

Here are three examples, and the lessons learned:

  • Although we have a successful training business as part of our consulting practice, it took us several times to get it right. And even then, we’ve had to readjust over the years.
  • Lesson learned — if you thinks the idea has merit, don’t give up — and change it as needed.
  • After five years in business, just when we thought we had it all figured out, our primary market tanked and the business stopped — dead cold.  It was panic time, but then we diversified into several other markets.
  • Lesson learned — don’t put all your eggs in one basket.
  • In the late 1990s, we joined the dot.com frenzy with an on-line web portal. We had visions of big advertising bucks that never materialized.  It also was a huge time and money pit. We finally sold it to a magazine where it fit much better than with a consulting practice.
  • Lesson learned — Some businesses just don’t belong together.

With over thirty years of working together, we’ve had a few other misadventures, too. No, not  everything we have tried has succeeded — that is the nature of  business. As the old Kenny Rogers song goes, You got to know when to hold them, and know when to fold them… ”

But even with the disasters, consulting game is still great fun!

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