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GOLD! The CENTS Business Commandments for Entrepreneurs

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LittleJohn

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I'm amazingly thankful and we are so lucky to have people like MJ. I'm so curious to know, what he gets out of all of it, or maybe if MJ ever stumbles across this question - I understand the money part very well, but is it just the "giving back" mission why you are helping us? Is it like a charity? Or is it more of a mission to educate the world and get rid of as much bad advice as possible?
The story / anecdote in UNSCRIPTED about Heaven and Hell appearing the same but in Heaven each person is using their 3 foot fork to help others eat the food comes to mind.

One of the messages glaring at me as I finished MFL and now into UNSCRIPTED is Money chasing = losing proposition, while creating value/convenience/solutions/helping to solve a problem for people attracts money via 'money vouchers' so to speak where money acts as the medium placeholder that facilitates the exchange of value from the creator to customer.

I am now Tuning my frequency to hone in on ideas and opportunities to serve the people on this planet. :)
 

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MJ DeMarco

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I'm amazingly thankful and we are so lucky to have people like MJ. I'm so curious to know, what he gets out of all of it, or maybe if MJ ever stumbles across this question - I understand the money part very well, but is it just the "giving back" mission why you are helping us? Is it like a charity? Or is it more of a mission to educate the world and get rid of as much bad advice as possible?
A combination of all of the above. Some things money can't buy, like having an inbox of "you changed my life" emails. Really feels inspiriting to make a difference and do something with your heart as the priority as opposed to the wallet. At times it does feel like charity because I'd make a lot more focusing on something else.

testimonials.png

A lot of it comes back to when I was 20 ... I wrote the book(s) I wish I had available to me.
 

Dianne Cohen

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The story / anecdote in UNSCRIPTED about Heaven and Hell appearing the same but in Heaven each person is using their 3 foot fork to help others eat the food comes to mind.

One of the messages glaring at me as I finished MFL and now into UNSCRIPTED is Money chasing = losing proposition, while creating value/convenience/solutions/helping to solve a problem for people attracts money via 'money vouchers' so to speak where money acts as the medium placeholder that facilitates the exchange of value from the creator to customer.

I am now Tuning my frequency to hone in on ideas and opportunities to serve the people on this planet. :)
 

SIDI

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Just a bump. Love re-Reading this. Now to do something about it!! Thanks MJ
 

Bryaninbangkok

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This is a great thread for me to send to people to introduce them to this forum, its nice for it to be written in one place, so many people looking for low barriers of entry, there isn't much value added there.
 

Dana Taylor

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The Commandment of Scale (centS)

A productocracy’s fifth and final CENTS Commandment within the Fastlane structure is the Commandment of Scale.

Scale instructs that legacy value systems must be replicated through mass or magnitude while making a profitable impact.

The four definitive components are:

1. Legacy value system
2. Replication
3. Mass or magnitude
4. Profitable impact

First, your offering must eventually evolve into a legacy system in accordance with the four prior commandments. A legacy system carries the components of the TIME component, both physicality and detachment.

Second, your LVS must be replicable, or easily copied into multiple units, locations or chains.

Optimally, this replication should extend among hundreds or thousands, if not millions, of units. For instance, software is easily replicated. The same goes for a website service where increased users and traffic extend replication. My forum receives over 100,000 visitor sessions per month. In the ten years I owned my Internet company, I served a multitude of millions. Physical products like this book also offer replicative elements; my printer can print one million books as easily as 10,000. Replication turns one store into twenty, one duplex into a dozen, and hundreds sold to millions.

Third, replication must have either mass or magnitude. Most people think scale automatically equates to mass-market millions or operating in multi-billion market size. However, scale can also be graced through magnitude, or the gravity of your impact. For instance, if you provide housing for twenty families (not mass market), you’ve scaled by magnitude and probably are doing well—housing is a magnitudinal endeavor. Sell ten restaurant franchises for your organic, GMO-free restaurant, and again, brute-force magnitude occurs.

The fourth element in the definition is a profitable impact. The UNSCRIPTED business is about profits, not ten years from now but within your first year. Nowadays, too many businesses are labeled a success by virtue of growth or run rates. Many never make a profit for years and bleed cash like an Instagram playboy. Most start-ups birthed on the tech coast create value and make an impact. The problem is, they don’t make a profitable impact for years.

Amazon is a great example of a company that makes a phenomenal impact but largely hasn’t been profitable. Remember: Selling hundred-dollar bills for fifty bucks isn’t what we want. “Bleeding value” might grow a company fabulously and have VC’s drowning us in term sheets, but that’s not our objective. Let the deep-pocketed sultans of Silicon Valley make those gambles.

Your goal is UNSCRIPTED, which demands profitability now, not later. And if you want to create the next hot start-up reveled on TechCrunch, the better bet is doing it UNSCRIPTED where “F*ck you” opens up more possibilities.

As producers, we are in the business of serving consumers—not few, but many. However, before impacting the masses, we must first impact one—and do so profitably. If you can impact one profitably and your legacy system is replicable, congratulations, you’ve laid a scaling track.

The act of profitably impacting many is where your income (and life) makes quantum leaps. Optimally, your business solution should impact an industry large enough to impact your life. If you have a software solution appealing to hospitals, the appeal of magnitude scale exists. If any business owner could use your product, the appeal of mass scale exists.

The market size constructs the ceiling under which we limit ourselves. If your solution sells for twenty bucks and your target customer is an Internet-savvy octogenarian who owns a Corvette, the market ceiling is at your ankles. How big is that market? You can’t fill a pool with an eyedropper. Olympic swimmers don’t train in bathtubs. Swim in bodies of water large enough to take you somewhere.

Excerpt From: MJ DeMarco. “UNSCRIPTED: Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Entrepreneurship.”
Thoroughly enjoyed this reminder!
 
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MJ DeMarco

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Bump.
 

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MJ DeMarco

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How did you come up with this acronym, MJ?
It didn't start that way when I first identified the 5 commandments I thought were most important.

Yet, I was fortunate enough to have it form an acronym ... it was originally started as NECST (because NEED is always the most important) and then I later decided CENTS was easier to remember, plus, If it makes CENTS, it makes sense!
 

SD Entrepreneur

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It didn't start that way when I first identified the 5 commandments I thought were most important.

Yet, I was fortunate enough to have it form an acronym ... it was originally started as NECST (because NEED is always the most important) and then I later decided CENTS was easier to remember, plus, If it makes CENTS, it makes sense!
Been reading this and re-reading this often, so many valuable sentences within... @MJ DeMarco I was thinking of creating a spreadsheet for everyone based on CENTS to help evaluate your business and/or business ideas. Let me know if that would be ok to do and share...
 
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MJ DeMarco

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Been reading this and re-reading this often, so many valuable sentences within... @MJ DeMarco I was thinking of creating a spreadsheet for everyone based on CENTS to help evaluate your business and/or business ideas. Let me know if that would be ok to do and share...
Of course it's ok, anything that helps spread the CENTS message, just make sure it is credited to the book!
 

SD Entrepreneur

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Of course it's ok, anything that helps spread the CENTS message, just make sure it is credited to the book!
Thanks @MJ DeMarco, I created a CENTS Business and Idea Evaluator spreadsheet here. The purpose of CENTS is to improve your probabilities for creating a business that can change your life forever.

The purpose of the spreadsheet is to have a quick, visual method for analyzing businesses and ideas based off the CENTS commandments without having to open/find relevant info in the books/forums.

A few notes:
  • To copy the sheet and edit it on your own, go to FILE --- DOWNLOAD AS in the menu to save it
  • If you view the notes inside the brief description of each commandment, you will see the full text from this forum post
  • I added step 3 since there are uncertainties when evaluating a business idea. For example, you may not know or may have to research whether or not the business can provide the necessary relative value required. This area allows for adding your own notes/thoughts/questions for further research/evaluation
If anyone has feedback/suggestions let me know and I can consider updating the master sheet. We all think, visualize and learn differently, hopefully this framework is helpful for others as it is for me (I'm sure some people hate spreadsheets).

I also created a separate forum post for those that haven't seen or looked at this thread lately.
 
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Vigilante

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If you are in the Tampa area, stop by and catch my address this Saturday to Tampa area entrepreneurs. Cigar City Humidors by BCIC Cigar was selected to display at the Tampa Entrepreneur's Showcase this Saturday at the Clearwater Library, and they asked me to speak at 2PM. I will be talking about the CENTS business commandments from my friend MJ DeMarco and his best selling books "Unscripted" and "The Millionaire Fast Lane." Come learn how Control, Entry, Need, Time and Scale all play a role in testing the veracity of your business idea.
 

SIDI

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If you are in the Tampa area, stop by and catch my address this Saturday to Tampa area entrepreneurs. Cigar City Humidors by BCIC Cigar was selected to display at the Tampa Entrepreneur's Showcase this Saturday at the Clearwater Library, and they asked me to speak at 2PM. I will be talking about the CENTS business commandments from my friend MJ DeMarco and his best selling books "Unscripted" and "The Millionaire Fast Lane." Come learn how Control, Entry, Need, Time and Scale all play a role in testing the veracity of your business idea.
Congrats Vig. Good luck with the presentation.
 

WillHurtDontCare

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If you are in the Tampa area, stop by and catch my address this Saturday to Tampa area entrepreneurs. Cigar City Humidors by BCIC Cigar was selected to display at the Tampa Entrepreneur's Showcase this Saturday at the Clearwater Library, and they asked me to speak at 2PM. I will be talking about the CENTS business commandments from my friend MJ DeMarco and his best selling books "Unscripted" and "The Millionaire Fast Lane." Come learn how Control, Entry, Need, Time and Scale all play a role in testing the veracity of your business idea.
Do you do these events often? I live in Saint Pete & would have attended had I not flown to visit my parents this past weekend.
 

Vigilante

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Do you do these events often? I live in Saint Pete & would have attended had I not flown to visit my parents this past weekend.
Nothing on the calendar through Christmas but I am working on a local radio deal... stay tuned...
 

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Fantasy

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A lot of it comes back to when I was 20 ... I wrote the book(s) I wish I had available to me.
This one line gave a goose bump. It's so simple, that I get it now. God, for days I used to think what product I need to sell. Now I know, I just need to provide people that I truly wished was available to me during that phase of life. As most people will feel the same way... Thanks MJ for this simple yet effective thought and for the two books that changed the way I think about life and fulfillment :D
 

gabbe18

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The Commandment of Control (Cents)
The Commandment of Control requires that your entire operation, from product development, to marketing, to distribution, to other operational components, be within your sphere of influence, or diversified from influence. It’s owning what you build, effectively giving you black-swan insurance. It’s immunity against catastrophic events that can derail your gig overnight.

In effect, the Commandment of Control is risk mitigation allowing you to sleep well as a shark in the ocean. Behind the Commandment of Control is a simple question, which reveals your food-chain positioning: Is there one person or entity that can instantly kill your business with one decision? Are you fishing in a pond controlled by someone else? And what happens to your business when that pond is taken away?

The Commandment of Control (and a productocracy) begs that this answer be NO.

If it isn’t, you’re at the mercy of the sharks, and your pecking order on the food chain is demoted to prey.

EXAMPLES (NETWORK MARKETING)
If you’re not familiar with network marketing (or MLM), you might be familiar with its telltale pattern: Some long-lost friend you haven’t heard from since Chumbawamba wants you to go to some ambiguous meeting at some ambiguous hotel so you can hear from some ambiguous speaker. And then you’re told how you can make millions selling some overpriced product if you just sell it to your friends and family, and they sell it to theirs, and so forth. If you're ever fooled into a meeting, take a look around. The room is full of guppies. The sharks? They own the company or are chilling in the founders’ circle.

Unfortunately, most people need to learn the hard way. And yeah, I was once “most people.” Sometimes being told “the fire is hot” isn’t sufficient—you need to get burnt. My burn came during my young twenties, and it marked the last time it would happen. I had brief success with one company until my top distributor quit. Her reason? The company discontinued a product favorite. Two events over which I had no control.

Hear that water being sucked out of the pond?

Instantly overnight, my income was slashed in half. Within months, it dwindled to nothing more than an entree at Applebee’s, of course assuming I bought a shit-ton of product and stashed it away into a basement closet. But hey, if I just meet my $500 sales quota by buying this garbage myself, I’ll qualify for that cool super $100 downline bonus! And I'll get a fancy gemstone title (Emerald/Diamond) that means absolutely nothing in the real world!

Anyhow, such events characterize the black swans risked when violating control as guppy.

In the network marketing space, Solavei, Vemma, and WakeUpNow are just a few that recently have imploded, leaving millions of distributors (guppies) wriggling for dead in an empty pond.

In WakeUpNow’s case, a letter from the current management blamed the former CEO for taking advantage of his position. Specifically, they stated the former CEO “made decisions that put the company on an irreparable negative trajectory; and sadly, he went to great lengths to keep many of these decisions secret from the rest of the management team and board of directors. Furthermore, they mentioned that the CEO’s “deceptive actions had put the company in a position from which it could not recover. In the end, his decision for a privileged few outweighed the incredible heart and dedication of the many.”

Now imagine if your business relied on this company. Imagine giving this company your heart and soul for years, and that your family depended on them. And now, in a matter of days, gone.

Unfortunately, most entrepreneurs don’t escape Commandment-of-Control tragedies with just a bruised ego and a tiny income drop—years of work can unravel in hours. This forum is rife with such horror stories. For example, imagine having your company instantaneously shut down—and the only person standing between its failure or resurrection is a minimum-wage employee halfway around the world, who can’t write clear English.

OTHER EXAMPLES:

  • Control Violation #1: You manufacture and sell widgets to Walmart. Walmart is your only customer. When Walmart stops selling your product, your sales go from $600,000 a month to $0.

  • Control Violation #2: You run an online eCommerce store leveraging the Amazon affiliate program. You’ve done quite well. Suddenly, Amazon decides to terminate all affiliates doing business in your state, due to a disagreement with your state’s government. Suddenly, your store is empty, as will be your bank account.

  • Control Violation #3: You’re an affiliate marketer who sells XYZ’s product, moving thousands of dollars in sales monthly. XYZ suddenly files for bankruptcy or disappears. You and thousands of other affiliates are left hanging out to dry.

  • Control Violation #4: You’re a network marketer and your company’s founder is indicted for fraud. The FCC shuts down the business. Your downline that took years to build is gone overnight.

  • Control Violation #5: You buy a burgeoning, relatively unknown franchise from a franchisor who likes to push the envelope with its advertising. The franchisor is interviewed on national television and makes some inexcusable, racist comments. The entire spectacle is a foot-in-the-mouth, social media shitshow. Suddenly, your business is regarded negatively. By the time the dust settles and memories fade, you’ve gone out of business.

  • Control Violation #6: You run an online store selling a highly commoditized product that relies solely on SEO (search engine optimization). Most of your traffic and sales come from Google searches. Google’s new “Panda update” changes their algorithm and penalizes your website for nefarious SEO and backlinking tactics. Suddenly, 10,000 hits per day are reduced to 100. Your product’s margin is so thin that you cannot afford to advertise. You go from living large to not living at all.
Just out of curiosity. If the main way you generate revenue and conduct your business is through a website and you created that website on wordpress, squarespace, etc. and did not program and code the website from scratch, doesn't that violate the commandment of control?
 

MrTrash757

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Just out of curiosity. If the main way you generate revenue and conduct your business is through a website and you created that website on wordpress, squarespace, etc. and did not program and code the website from scratch, doesn't that violate the commandment of control?
I’m wondering this also. Also to extend upon this - if you use a platform that allows self hosting of courses/content, does that follow the Commandment of Control? Thinking compared to Udemy/other online course sites, it would, since you are using the backbone but slapping your content on it and avoiding service fees, no?
 
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MJ DeMarco

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Just out of curiosity. If the main way you generate revenue and conduct your business is through a website and you created that website on wordpress, squarespace, etc. and did not program and code the website from scratch, doesn't that violate the commandment of control?
To an extent. It's a risk factor, but more dependent on your business than anything.

If you're in a field of controversy or political incorrectness, than yes, the risk factor becomes magnified. For example, I host an AR-15 gun forum using Xenforo and hosted on Blue Host. Both entities are control risk factors, not because the entities themselves, but because the content/business I choose to pursue. Either can change their terms and knock you out of business.
 

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