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It Feels like Home

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Jan 18, 2008
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It Feels like Home

A couple of weeks ago I had the unexpected good fortune to find this forum. I am not a person who generally believes in “Good Luck”. On the contrary it has been my experience that the harder I applied myself to a task the better my fortunes grew. Now after finding this forum I may review that mindset. As you know the internet is awash in get rich sites, money scams and well meaning but misdirected expert advice. That is why I have taken some time to review the postings and subsequent answers. I see that the advice given is very high quality and you can tell that the answers are given not, without a good deal of thought and care as to the wording. As well great care is being given to cultivate these forums “experts “and to treat their efforts with respect.

Please allow me to introduce myself. In my late teens I had the idea I could take over the financial world easily by starting a limousine service. At that time there was not a single limousine service here in a small town near Toronto, surely the Bank would see this to be self evident, and therefore dispense with the usual need to submit all those pesky documents such as a business plan. Right! Wrong! This was my first lesson in business and fortunately one that I was able to learn without paying the usual high tuition fee. It was not until over a year later did I realize that there was a reason why there was not another limo service here in town. This realization lead me to the next lesson and perhaps the biggest one and that is the business world did not, does not, and in the future will not care that I have a company. The world will not acknowledge that I had a need to be a big shot, or that I had friends to impress. Here is what the world really wanted “What can you do for me”? Can you provide me with a product or service that is better or more economical that what I already have? If not we are not interested. After the Bank handed me that valuable lesson I went on to establish an Industrial Supply and Building Maintenance Service. This business did very well, however, due to the fact that the initial investment was low competition was plentiful, and growth was limited to the number of customers I personally could follow. I was happy with the income and kept that business for twenty years. I had between 8-10 full time employees and roughly 6 million square feet of office under contract. I am also proud to say that three customers I signed up the first month I was in business were still with me at the end.

One day I received a call from the president of a 250 outlet, chain of music stores. He said that he was looking for someone to take over the warehouse and distribution systems for the chain, and that someone (I never found out who) placed my name in front of him as someone from outside the music business with the right personal beliefs, skills and work ethic to do the job. The job was only to be temporary just long enough to replace the current warehouse manager. After one month the president called me in to the boardroom and offered me a raise and a promotion warehouse manager to Director of Distribution. I accepted and promoted someone in my cleaning business to take over from me. This as it turns out proved to be another valuable lesson. I found out that I was not irreplaceable and saying it until I believed it did not make it so, except in my own mind. This was a future limiting belief, for the first time my business had begun to show improvements in both the top and bottom lines. I continued with the retailer until it was sold off.

My work for the retailer had apparently not gone unnoticed by the industry and I was called and offered the job of National Distribution Manager for the Canadian division of a multi-billion dollar International Music Distributor. This job placed me in charge of the complete supply chain from music Labels, Sony,Warner etc. to our three distribution centers to 500 retail locations and all returns through the same channels. In this capacity I worked with 3 Managers as direct reports and 120 employees reporting to them. This was truly the very definition of a fast paced challenging environment. On any given week there were 12-20 major new releases, different quantities to all 500 locations, usually less then 1 week to get them to all locations, regular orders for 12,000 Sku’s , regional and national promotions and add the challenge of 2 official languages. As is still the custom of the music industry each label would have “meet and greets” with their up and coming stars and some established stars. Working on average 6 days per week and attending the seemingly never ending weekly events allowed me to hone my skills on management; especially time management. In time I learned what was what important and really important and what was already a critical care disaster. Strangely enough important and really important had different meanings when it came to my boss’s objectives. In time I learned what he needed to achieve his bonus target. I made sure to the extent of my abilities, those items were met and this magically added to my personal bottom line at review time.

Several years ago after more then a decade in the business, I realized that the music business had shifted, with the internet, console games and music downloading. After consolidating the three manual warehouses into one fully automated facility and getting through the busy Christmas season I left the company and again went out on my own.
I and several other partners raised enough seed capital to begin a packaging company. Since then I have been deep in rural China finding, contracting, developing and building machinery. One of my partners holds a degree in Mechanical Engineering thus facilitating the entire process. Along with the usual every day business we all attended our booth for demonstrations at Trade shows in Las Vegas and Chicago.

When starting any business you should have the confidence that your competitive advantage will allow you to eventually become the number one or two competitor in your geographic area. This should provide you with a believable goal and a reason to get excited in the morning. This should also give you the reasonable assurance that you are not going to be an “also ran” or worse, a used to be. Recent decisions by several partners to move away from our area of competitive advantage have given me cause to rethink my go forward position with the packaging company. Before starting this firm, I had in place clear cut values and goals and beyond this line is a red flag. At this point 2 red flags are waving which should make the upcoming decision easier . I will let you know in a follow up letter.

Thank you for allowing me to introduce myself and taking the time to read this post. I am looking forward to becoming a good member of this forum and a supporter of anyone trying to make it in the fast lane.

It already feels like Home

Think.
 

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JScott

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Great first post...I'm sure I speak for many of the existing members of the forum when I say that we look forward to picking your brain, and learning from your business experiences...

Welcome!
 

Yankees338

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Jul 24, 2007
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I agree with Jason...great first post!

Thanks for the intro. There were several great lessons in that first post.

The world will not acknowledge that I had a need to be a big shot, or that I had friends to impress. Here is what the world really wanted “What can you do for me”? Can you provide me with a product or service that is better or more economical that what I already have? If not we are not interested. After the Bank handed me that valuable lesson I went on to establish an Industrial Supply and Building Maintenance Service.
That's definitely along the lines of MJ's "Entrepreneurial Premise" thread.

I think you've found a home here; you'll fit in just fine!

Again, welcome!

P.S. Rep+++ for the intro! Thanks for taking the time to post it.
 
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MJ DeMarco

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Ditto on all of the above. Very nice first post with much wisdom. Looking forward to hearing more from ya ... and welcome!
 
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Think

New Contributor
Jan 18, 2008
16
7
24
Thanks everyone for the warm welcome,and thank you for creating this wonderful site. I have already spent hours looking around and acquainting myself with the culture of the members. Being a super achiever is rewarding, but it can be challenging and frustrating at times. The level of support here is incredible and what a great place to get good advice . I am actively looking for a place where I can jump in and contribute.
Think
 

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