Business Advice From Something Unexpected
Updated: Jul 15, 2020
Last year for Jenna's birthday, Sam had a serious problem. "What in the world should I buy my wife for her birthday?" It's a question that almost every man on this earth has encountered and sad to say, most have completely "blown it". In the middle of Sam's aimless searching for the perfect gift, he concocted the perfect idea for a birthday gift. "I can buy her a Wii!" He exclaimed to himself. So he drove down to the nearest store and purchased a lightly used Nintendo Wii. Yes, over eleven years after the very first Wii's hit the market, a man buys one for his wife on her birthday. He's a regular romeo for sure.
Was it outdated? Yep. Was it sort of cheesy? Oh yeah! But it was the perfect gift nonetheless. It was and is the gift that keeps on giving. That little thing has brought us so much pleasure. There we were, two fully grown adults, spending waaaaay to much time playing silly video games and reliving childhood memories. Little did we know at that time that an outdated video gaming system would eventually give us one of the greatest pieces of business advice we could ever learn.
It wasn't long until we also bought Mario Kart Wii and began racing each other. Things quickly started getting a little bit more serious around the house. The competition of who was the better racer was a daily battle! Jenna is still convinced that Sam is a cheater. Without fail, he somehow always manages to have a ridiculous comeback from last place and win the race.
One night, right in the middle of a serious race of swerving in and out of Baby Peach and Bowser, dodging obstacles, and trying to NOT fall off of rainbow road (worst. racetrack. EVER!), came one of the best lessons anyone could ever learn about running a business. Are you ready for it?
Let us explain.
You see, one of Sam's absolute favorite vehicles to drive on Mario Kart is the good ol' "Wild Wing". That wonderful 295 horsepower engine (just made that up), beautiful fire engine red paint job with the two black racing stripes, combined with the extreme handling capabilities, that really gets his blood pumping!
The problem with the car is that it has slow acceleration. Like, seriously slow. Imagine a snail riding on a turtles back that is trying to swim in an ocean of molasses and the Wild Wing accelerates slower than that. It's no secret that the car definitely has the slowest acceleration on the game. At the start of every race, all the other cars take off like a bunch of rockets while the Wild Wing is left in the dust.
But the best part about the Wild Wing? At top speed, it's THE FASTEST car on the game. Slow acceleration eventually leads to high speeds. It takes awhile to get there but soon enough you'll reach full speed and no car can outrun you. Peach, Donkey Kong, Luigi, and Bowser are now being left in the dust instead of leaving you in the dust. They may have looked good at the start of the race but by the end, All eyes are on the Wild Wing.
So what's the business advice we can learn from this?
Slow And Steady Always Wins
A great story that all business owners should keep in mind is the famous fable, The Tortoise and the Hare. The wonderful thing about this story is that it's 100% true, the turtle always wins and the hare ALWAYS loses. Just like the hare and like all the other racers on Mario Kart, they start off with a bang, but by the end of the race they are nowhere to be found. The numbers today are quite staggering. Statistics say that an average of 8 out of 10 business will fail within 18 months. That's eighty percent in a year and a half! Why? Because they chose the wrong race car. They have a hare's mentality.
Most businesses require many expenses, especially when they first begin. The average photography business requires $10,000-$15,000 in startup cost in order for you to have everything you need to be legitimate. So the hare-headed people (pun intended) run to the bank and take out a loan because it's a "necessity". But the problem is that now you have to make payments before you even have any clients. You have expenses without income. That's not a good thing. In fact, it's a bad thing. A very bad thing. I'm sure you know how hard it is to pay bills when you have no money. What usually happens is that if your business can't keep up with it's bills, then you have to start dipping into your family finances just to keep your doors open. Now you have become a slave to your dream! Talk about a bad hare day! (pun intended, again).
Starting a new business is SO exciting! It's usually all you can think about during the day. You're finally pursuing your dreams! And the tendency we have is to neglect common sense because we're so incredibly worked up. Our head is in the clouds. And there's nothing wrong with being overly excited about your new business, but starting off on a full sprint will only end your dream quickly. You'll be added to the statistics and you will join 8 miserable people who didn't choose the Wild Wing. One of life's laws is that if it was easy to build then it will be easy to break.
One of our all time favorite authors is Dave Ramsey. We suggest reading and applying every bit of his material. Start with The Total Money Makeover. It's an absolute must-read book. His advice in business is paramount, just look at how he has grown his own business.
It's Easier To Run Than To Walk
You know why Mr. Hare ran so much? Because it's in his nature. When starting a business, we all want to run. It's in our nature. But did you know that walking is generally better for your health than running is? It's usually the same for your business. Endurance is what you need, not being able to go from 0 to 60 in 5 seconds. Remember that walking is not the same as being lazy. Just because you aren't running doesn't mean you aren't giving your best effort. The key is focused effort. Give your absolute best into every step. Here is perhaps the greatest quote from The Tortoise and Hare story; "Slow and Steady walked and walked. He never, ever stopped until he came to the finish line." That is the only way that this will work. Slow and steady will only be successful as long as you never, ever stop.
We have worked so hard to get our photography business off the ground. But we haven't been the hare. We've been a couple of turtles (Sam's Ultimate Dream is to be a real turtle so he's O.K. with that). You know what being a turtle means? It means that we don't have the latest and greatest photography gear, nor do we have all of the things that the other businesses might have. Not YET. Guess what else we don't have. Bills. We have saved up for and paid cash for every piece of equipment we own and we are saving up right now for the next thing. The difference between us and some other photographers is that we don't owe a dime to anyone for our business. If no clients called us for the next 20 years we wouldn't have to close our doors. Because we're in it for the long haul. We have slow acceleration but our goal is to be the fastest car on the track before the race is over. The best business are not built overnight. They are built slow and steady with each move carefully considered and executed.
So there you have it. All of that business advice from Mario Kart. Who knew? The moral of the story is that the other cars may look fancy, but at the end of the day the Wild Wing is the fastest car out there. The other business may look great and convince you to follow in their hare-like steps, but 5 years from now the only businesses that will still be open are the ones that chose to be the turtle. They decided the best way to win was with a Wild Wing mentality.
The final line of the story'After that, Hare always reminded himself, "Don't brag about your lightning pace, for Slow and Steady won the race!"'
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