The Best Business Advice Was Given 80 Years Ago

Dec 29 2012

My Dad has been telling me for 4o years…”the business of business is business”.  Whether you sell spools of thread, trees, or domains, starting and running a business has not changed……at all.  The customers, the product, and the delivery may be completely different but the principles have not changed on bit.  A person that builds his/her business skills can take those skills to any environment and find success.   Show me a failure in the domaining and I’ll show you a failure in basic business principles.  Some of the best advice in business was given over 80 years ago by Henry Ford and apply as easily today as it did then.

1.  Make the best product possible, at the lowest price possible, paying the best wages possible.

Most people who are building out sites are putting out content that is both duplicate and frivolous.  It is adding no value to the content that is already there.  And yet they wonder why a site receives no visits, no income.  Not only is it not the best product, it is not even a good product.   At least they have the lowest price possible part down.  Paying a cheap content writer reaps what you’ve put in.  Building out mini sites is the complete opposite of this approach.  A business requires attention to achieve the above and having 50 to manage reduces your chance drastically.  That’s what many domainers are trying to do.

2. We don’t want tradition. We want to live in the present and the only thing that’s worth a damn is the history we make today

This is more true than ever.  Most people don’t care what you’ve done in the past.  They want to know what you’re doing today.  Especially in domaining.  There seems to be a new class of investors that dismiss all domainers that built their portfolio 10 years ago.  They want to know how they are making money today without using the power of their aged portfolio. Frank Schilling is hailed as the hero because he is always innovating and has present day results.  I can also use banks as an example. They could give a rat’s ass about your sales, your history, or your growth.  They only want to know if all ended today how would you pay them back.  History is worthless.  I am somewhere in the middle.  As stated above, if someone used good business acumen to achieve their success then I trust they can do it again. If they used risk and timing I am a bit more skeptical in following their footsteps.

3. A market is never saturated with a good product.  But quickly saturated with a bad one

There is no better way to start a business than begin with a good product.  It’s at that point that all the other “fun” parts kick in.  Marketing, logistics, and sales management. But take away a good product and long term success is a tough reach.  In domains, we are saturated with bad domains and it will only continue to grow with the introduction of new tlds.  Those domain owners are destined for failure regardless of approach.  The real way to making money in domain investing is learning what is good product and what is bad product.   Those with high end dot coms will have an multitude of opportunities.  It doesn’t necessarily guarantee success but they have a good product in which to begin.

4.  Even a mistake may turn out to be the one thing that necessary to a worthwhile achievement

You’re going to make mistakes.  It’s as simple are realizing that you have, learn what it is and why you made it, and move forward.  The only mistakes that cripple are those that have too much risk vs reward.  Risk is fine as long as the overall risk reward of all decisions is manageable.  Buying bad domains is Ok if you know that you will sell one of them and pay for the group and have proven it time after time.  Most domain investors take on too much risk.  Most likely you are not smarter than everyone else despite what your Mom told yowl.  Pretending that you are is going to hurt.

5. I don’t think a man can ever leave his business.  He ought to think of it by day and dream of it by night

Behind every successful business is a passionate owner.  You ARE NOT going to build out 30 websites and have them be successful.  Most domainers are like a fisherman. A fisherman that throws out 30 lines, all with different types of bait, and he’s hoping that one of them will be the right type of bait that catches fish that day.  Problem is he’s got too many lines out and he can’t get to the pole when he gets a nibble and bring in the fish. That and the fact he didn’t take the time to realize he’s fishing in a non stocked pond.  This one has been talked about enough.  You must have love, or at least enjoy what you’re working on.  You have to become the expert in that area because that’s what Internet visitors are hoping to find when they visit.

6. Most people are getting ahead when others are wasting time

If you play video games, golf, or write a blog (unless your blog is a profitable business) you probably aren’t putting in all the time you could into your business.  Every time at 4 am when I get up to run and then get back in bed I hear this come from my wife “You know that guy that beat you last race?  He’s out running right now”  It’s become somewhat of a joke over the years but I get the point.  You have to outsmart and outwork your competitors.  (yes I could be working at 5 am instead of running but I use my running to prepare my body and mind for a long work day) You’re going to need the passion mentioned above to work those hours. You work because you love the journey. The end result generally isn’t enough of a driver.

7.  It’s not the employer that pays the wages, it’s the customer that pays them with the business owner handling the money.

One of the biggest mistakes I see people make in business is realizing that your customers are more important than you.  They are your income. Everything you do is for them, not for you.  You merely reap the rewards of customers choosing you as a place to spend their money.  If you or your employees want more money then you have two choices.  Either get more customers or cut your costs.  Either way the customers are a part of the equation that can’t be taken away.   If the business owner or manager keeps the customer in mind when making decisions they have a better chance of success.  Domainers think Google is their customer and set up websites accordingly.  Wrong. Set it up for people that want your services or information.  Google will reward you accordingly

8.  Airplanes take off against the wind not with it.

There is just as much money to be made in bad times than good.  Often times more.  It’s OK to zig when others zag. When many are screaming “the sky is falling” and others are screaming “this is going to make your rich”, the ones that are really making money are quiet.  You are the customer for those giving the free advice.  If it’s such a great money making idea then they don’t need you.  Frank Schilling isn’t passing out advice in a public forum. On a side note,  there are contrarians that are contrarians just to be against the crowd.  Regardless if the crowd is right or wrong.  You know,  the guy that plays the “Don’t pass” line at craps every time.

9. You can’t build a reputation on what you’re going to do

At some point in time words will become only words.  Eventually there has to be results.  “Will be”, “going to” are words that will be judged.  Reputation is earned one way or another

10. Chop your own wood, it will warm you twice

Whether you achieve success or not, you will be rewarded for working hard and doing things yourself.  In domaining, every time you try something you will be rewarded from the results, good or bad.  Many things are trial and error.  Nothing wrong with experiencing the error.

11.  Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you are right.

You can convince yourself every decision you make is correct.  Those that measure those decisions will be the ones that know whether they are REALLY right. .


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Outsmarting the Dumb, Outworking the Smart

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  1. Morgan Linton

    Great post Shane and all really solid points! I think #6 is my favorite – so true. For me it took getting home from work and then spending my nights building my business.

    My friends would come home, open a beer and watch sports. I would come home, also open a beer, but then dive into my Domaining business.

    All businesses take lots of hard work and I think the core of the issue is that too many people want the success to come without putting in the time and energy that it takes.

    This ties directly into #4 which couldn’t be more true. I’ve learned so much more from my mistakes than my successes, and of course I’m still making plenty of mistakes 🙂

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