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RANT Where did intentional iteration go?

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Greg R

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While everyone is talking about Ecommerce, I wanted to bring up it's less sexy neighbor- intentional iteration.

This year-to-date, there have only been 14 posts in this thread category.

While the AMAs about Ecommerce and Amazon are the easily the most active forums, intentional iteration seems to be getting neglected. Similar to the real estate forum.

But why?

Why aren't you focused on franchising or chaining?

Ray Crock bought a burger joint... and you know the rest of the story.

Is this topic not really that interesting?

Hhmmm. Maybe this means opportunity.

Did anyone else read Making Money for Dummies (and in a crowded market) by @IceCreamKid?

What did you think?

I don't know about you but for someone who is into physical business and physical assets, I was completely moved.

I know being in front of real people is scary, but why not travel where others wont go?

It would be interesting to know your thoughts on the subject and why it is not the route for you.

Peace!
 

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MTF

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Intentional iteration is not popular because it requires even more process orientation than other paths. Most people here think in terms of months, not years or decades (that's not to say it's wrong or bad; it's just a completely different route).

You can start and grow an online business in a matter of months with less than $1000. Intentional iteration - and particularly things like franchising - requires a lot of capital, time, and business experience. Your potential reward will be most likely bigger, but your risk of failure is much higher, too.

I like physical businesses and think there are a lot of opportunities there. However, personally I wouldn't like to have one because of the chains it puts on you (you usually need to work fixed hours, can't be location independent, need to invest a lot of money and hire employees).
 

Greg R

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You can start and grow an online business in a matter of months with less than $1000. Intentional iteration - and particularly things like franchising - requires a lot of capital, time, and business experience. Your potential reward will be most likely bigger, but your risk of failure is much higher, too.

@MTF I think we have identified another strength of I.I.

A stronger barrier to entry.

Nicely put though. "Not to say it's good or bad." I think is absolutely correct.
 
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IceCreamKid

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While it does take decent capital to start many offline businesses, there are still some that can be started with zero dollars. You just have to think outside the box a bit.

For example, I have a relative who works at one of the largest tile & stone general contractors in the Bay Area. They've done work for all of the big names. Apple, Adobe, Levi's stadium, and Facebook to name a few.

They order super expensive tile and stone from all over the world. Italy is one of the more expensive ones. They ALWAYS order more materials than they need because if they're short on materials it causes them to risk missing deadlines which costs BIG money in the construction world.

They have so much surplus tile at the end of each job...it's insane. When the job is complete, they throw all the surplus tile away. Thousands of dollars worth of tile/stone thrown in the trash each time.

You could start a small biz collecting the surplus tiles and wholesaling them to smaller guys. The only cost to you would be a storage rental. I'm pretty sure that could be a 6-figure PROFIT biz if you pushed it hard and marketed correctly. I love dealing with products that command premium prices because it's much easier to reach 6-figure profit quickly.

You could probably follow a similar strategy for other niches as well. Just look around for niches that end up with a ton of surplus product.

I remember reading that whey protein is the surplus product from milk production. Not sure if that's true or not???
 

EvanOkanagan

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I love intentional iteration.

At the beginning it sucks. I was just scraping by a few years ago and grinding non-stop to start the machine...

As time goes by though, you pick up momentum.. and then it becomes easier.. and you make more money... and can work less (while still building momentum).

After you gain enough speed and momentum with the machine you can essentially retire, or keep building speed to get to a more comfortable level.
 

IceCreamKid

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At the beginning it sucks.
I must add to this and say that everything sucks in the beginning lol including online biz.

From what I've seen, the exponential growth typically comes around year 3 for most people.

Year 1 is stumbling and working out all of the quirks. Year 2 is somewhat more streamlined and getting a bit more aggressive on marketing. Year 3 is when everything is streamlined and you are now ready for a serious marketing budget to really hit the fastlane.
 

Greg R

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While it does take decent capital to start many offline businesses, there are still some that can be started with zero dollars. You just have to think outside the box a bit.

It sounds like it all depends on how creative you can be.

I think that it is also important to note the we should be questioning our perceptions.

Does it really take a lot of capital and time?

We've shown thus far that tons of capital may not be needed.

How about time?

Can we disprove that it takes a lot of time to see real results. i.e. less than three years.

How would you expedite the process?

Let's expand on that.
 

RHL

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Intentional iteration is not popular because it requires even more process orientation than other paths. Most people here think in terms of months, not years or decades (that's not to say it's wrong or bad; it's just a completely different route).

That's 100% the issue. Franchising is a way to make billions, but is so arduous, requires such masterful skill, and, most annoyingly of all, requires working with so many people, that it's rarely considered.

It takes years and hundreds of thousands of dollars and insurance and pro accountants and lawyers to franchise. It takes clicking a button on Amazon to become a "writer" and it takes 100 hours or less on Shopify and Alibaba, and pocket change, to become an "entrepreneur." Sure, as ICK said, *succeeding* at the above takes serious blood, sweat, and tears, but it's way easier to action-fake self publishing than it is to action fake a five year lease on a 3,000 ft^2 commercial property at $10,000/mo and FICA for sixteen people.
 

IceCreamKid

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How about time?

Can we disprove that it takes a lot of time to see real results. i.e. less than three years.

How would you expedite the process?
Templates and processes.

I'm pretty confident that I can move to another state and start a carpet cleaning biz that generates 6-figures profit by the end of year 1. The reason behind that is because I already know what machines and vehicles to buy, solution ingredients to use, employee training procedures to use, and marketing strategies to deploy.

If I was getting into a biz that I had no experience in then I'd go the Tim Ferriss route and locate guys who are absolute experts in that craft and use their templates/processes. You'd be surprised how generous people can be with their info/time.

True story...

During my high school days I worked for Teavana loooong before they got bought out by Starbucks for $630M cash. It was the greatest biz lesson I ever had. It was store #12 and I was there for the grand opening. Today they have more than 350 stores.

Before they even opened up, they already had templates and processes for EVERY little detail of the store. The cabinets, tile floor, ceiling fans, etc. No detail was overlooked. The sales process and upsells were already perfected down to a science. The founder was a ruthless mofo who was clearly out to make a killing.

We were trained to tell stories about the products to increase their perceived value. Here's an example:

"As legend has it, ancient Buddhist Monks trained monkeys to gather the youngest leaves from the tip-top of wild tea trees for this special Imperial Reserve blend. The legend lives on, now with the deft hand-plucking of the broken, evenly sized leaves that unfurl to create a light, orchid aroma, and the highest grade of oolong in the world."

That product was $25 for 2 ounces of leaves. 2 OUNCES MAN!

By the end of year 1, the store was averaging $30k/day on weekends and $10k/day on weekdays. Profits margins were outrageously healthy.

So yes it's possible to make good money in year 1. The catch is that your execution has to be very well planned.

Teavana was the most expertly executed biz I've ever taken a part of:
1. They caught the beginning of the health trend and knew it
2. They chose products that could command a premium
3. They perfected the sales/upsell process
4. They knew how to position everything to create a brand

I was paid a measly 10 bucks an hour to work there, but the lessons were worth millions.
 

Greg R

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Templates and processes.

I'm pretty confident that I can move to another state and start a carpet cleaning biz that generates 6-figures profit by the end of year 1. The reason behind that is because I already know what machines and vehicles to buy, solution ingredients to use, employee training procedures to use, and marketing strategies to deploy.

If I was getting into a biz that I had no experience in then I'd go the Tim Ferriss route and locate guys who are absolute experts in that craft and use their templates/processes. You'd be surprised how generous people can be with their info/time.

True story...

During my high school days I worked for Teavana loooong before they got bought out by Starbucks for $630M cash. It was the greatest biz lesson I ever had. It was store #12 and I was there for the grand opening. Today they have more than 350 stores.

Before they even opened up, they already had templates and processes for EVERY little detail of the store. The cabinets, tile floor, ceiling fans, etc. No detail was overlooked. The sales process and upsells were already perfected down to a science. The founder was a ruthless mofo who was clearly out to make a killing.

We were trained to tell stories about the products to increase their perceived value. Here's an example:

"As legend has it, ancient Buddhist Monks trained monkeys to gather the youngest leaves from the tip-top of wild tea trees for this special Imperial Reserve blend. The legend lives on, now with the deft hand-plucking of the broken, evenly sized leaves that unfurl to create a light, orchid aroma, and the highest grade of oolong in the world."

That product was $25 for 2 ounces of leaves. 2 OUNCES MAN!

By the end of year 1, the store was averaging $30k/day on weekends and $10k/day on weekdays. Profits margins were outrageously healthy.

So yes it's possible to make good money in year 1. The catch is that your execution has to be very well planned.

Teavana was the most expertly executed biz I've ever taken a part of:
1. They caught the beginning of the health trend and knew it
2. They chose products that could command a premium
3. They perfected the sales/upsell process
4. They knew how to position everything to create a brand

I was paid a measly 10 bucks an hour to work there, but the lessons were worth millions.

Wow! That was a pretty epic story.

I'm reminded of how hard it is to cultivate saffron and how expensive one little bottle is.

OR even morel mushrooms.

With Intention Iteration, knowledge seems quintessential so you can either create or replicate a system.

A relate-able example for me could be with my rental properties.

When we renovate and lease, we use the same forms, building materials: paint colors, fixtures, flooring...etc, and sales ad copy for every single place.

It is simple and there is some beauty to it.

I thoroughly enjoyed doing it and is the main reason I am expressing interest in it again.
 

MJ DeMarco

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Simple question has a simple answer: Because it's harder.

By appearances, II isn't a straight-line path, but zig-zagged.

People will almost always gravitate toward a path that "looks" easier and right now, that's anything in the digital ecosystem.
Problem is, that space is crowded and as such, your execution needs to be in the 99th percentile.

Most of my ideas nowadays lie in non-digital, physical arenas. And if you are looking there, you will have far less competition. That means you can do well in the 66th percentile.

While we should strive for the 99th, starting at the 66th and gaining momentum is sometimes the jumpstart we all need.
 

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OldFaithful

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Why aren't you focused on franchising or chaining?
Intentional Iteration is in the same quiet corner as physical products. (BTW, the "Invention & Innovation" section of the forum has about 60% the number of threads in "Franchising & B&M".) I asked the same question upon my arrival at this forum and found MJ's comments to be "spot on", then & now.
People will almost always gravitate toward a path that "looks" easier and right now, that's anything in the digital ecosystem.
Perhaps it's because this forum is in the digital world and that brings it closer to eCommerce (easier to find?). Perhaps the folks that start B&M or physical products aren't searching for this forum like those with a tendency toward eCommerce. Perhaps they might read the book, but not join the forum because it's in a different sphere, the digital world. I don't know...
A stronger barrier to entry.
That I do know, and I certainly agree with. The barrier to entry for B&M or physical product can be quite high. The barrier in my chosen marketplace is high enough that at times I question myself!!!
Yup, read that and loved it!

I can't tell you why folks here choose one path over the other, but I can tell you why I choose Invention. I've found a proven need, and I believe I can do it.

MJ once wrote that the majority of that content is on the Inside. I haven't joined the Inside yet, but we might find more apropos content there.
 

Greg R

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Simple question has a simple answer: Because it's harder.

By appearances, II isn't a straight-line path, but zig-zagged.

People will almost always gravitate toward a path that "looks" easier and right now, that's anything in the digital ecosystem.
Problem is, that space is crowded and as such, your execution needs to be in the 99th percentile.

Most of my ideas nowadays lie in non-digital, physical arenas. And if you are looking there, you will have far less competition. That means you can do well in the 66th percentile.

While we should strive for the 99th, starting at the 66th and gaining momentum is sometimes the jumpstart we all need.

Great logic!

A lot of businesses in the physical arena still play by the old school book.

And they are reluctant to change.

Especially in the residential construction industry.

I recently bought a new home and it needed a fair amount of work.

The work load was too much for me to handle myself with everything that I had going on.

I decided to try and hire a general contractor to take care of everything for me.

I wound up uncovering a huge service gap that is badly in need of a solution.

The gap was so bad that I opted not to go with a General Contractor altogether after dealing with four separate companies.

I had the same exact experience with the flooring guys and painters.

From getting estimates, to ordering material, and scheduling the experience was really uncomfortable.

One thing that I did notice, is that most of these guys are either self employed/ 1099'd and they are all play the technician role rather acting like a business owner.

Sound like enormous opportunity to me.

It is probably the reason why Home Depot is doing so well with it's third party installers (which is what I ended up using)... it makes the customer experience more enjoyable.
 

Greg R

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For me it's the amount of people that it will involve. I'm not a fan of having a ton of employees or people to manage.

Ah yes, I remember MJ mentioning that in the book.

After being on this forum for a while, my belief that soloprenuers couldn't make decent dough was quickly negated.

You always hear the gurus talking about "your team" and not doing everything yourself.

That's not the case here.

I guess this is solved nowadays with VA's are remote assistants.

Do you do everything yourself in the Ecommerce space? Or do you have a skeleton crew of people helping you out on the back end?
 

biophase

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Ah yes, I remember MJ mentioning that in the book.

After being on this forum for a while, my belief that soloprenuers couldn't make decent dough was quickly negated.

You always hear the gurus talking about "your team" and not doing everything yourself.

That's not the case here.

I guess this is solved nowadays with VA's are remote assistants.

Do you do everything yourself in the Ecommerce space? Or do you have a skeleton crew of people helping you out on the back end?

I have one employee. No VAs.
 

Get Right

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I have had both online and B&M companies. I seam to do the best when I apply fastlane techniques to B&M businesses. I tried this fastlane B&M idea 3 times before I got it right (assuming I have it right this time :) )

The part I enjoy the most is magnitude. You can make really big deals (which I had trouble getting to online).

Right now I am building spec homes. I put in the upfront work (system) and now I don't have to work more than a few hours a week (if I don't want to). I don't have any direct employees but several dozen workers on my jobs each day.

I like the timeline comments above. Yes, I believe B&M timelines tend to be longer than online. For instance - I have a lot of friends that have "made it" in B&M. You know how the majority "made it"? Their daddy started the company 20 years ago and they run it now...It's a much more tight group of B&M entrepreneurs that "made it" themselves in a short period of time. This is what I am trying to do.
 

OldFaithful

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I'm not a fan of having a ton of employees or people to manage.
I understand that, because it concerns me too. However, I've worked in a great environment before, only to see it destroyed by new management. I believe it can be done and I look forward to the challenge. I am willing to find the best people I can possibly find and build an environment that people actually want to be a part of.
 

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When I think of this I think about a large amount of fixed costs. And fixed costs equals risk. You shell out cash even if you are not making any sales or profits.

When I think about business ideas I always think about ones that cost less to enter the space. The barrier to entry is shifted to some other variable other than "Large amounts of start-up cash". Losing a years worth of work cause something failed is better to me than losing $100k cash.

I want my costs to increase relative to my sales. Not just have a bunch of costs and expenses.

It's also interesting to note that money-chasers will run to whats "easy" or "popular" or blown all over the media. But some of the best business opportunities are in spaces must people never hear about in the media. Another reason to not base your reality based on what the media covers.

Also sucks for them because probabilities of success decrease as "easiness" increases.

But the underdeveloped mind of the money-chaser refuses to see this.

The truth is that probabilities of success increase as "hardness" or "difficulty" or "barriers to entry" increase.

You MUST be ambitious in terms of difficulty in any business if you want to succeed. Doesn't matter what it is.

Or to put it another way; success is very easy if its very hard. LOL.
 

Ron_

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I understand that, because it concerns me too. However, I've worked in a great environment before, only to see it destroyed by new management. I believe it can be done and I look forward to the challenge. I am willing to find the best people I can possibly find and build an environment that people actually want to be a part of.

This is a great angle on employee management. Have had several experiences where new managements (or old one, simply going mad..) had ruined
the atmosphere/chemistry of a work space. This one time, a company went from 15-employee, 3M/year company to 2 employee in a span of 4 months. I was fortunate enough to be there, watch this colossal collapse and learn some valuable lessons.

Anyway, just wanted to say - If implemented correctly, I believe what you said is one of the most important things a company can offer its' employees.
 

Oztrepreneur

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I think maybe a lot of people tend towards ecomm because it is something they can start on the side, while still working the 9-5. Unless you have a bullet proof plan and absolute confidence, most people just can't/won't risk the capital, time and uncertainty that is required to start a successful non ecomm business.

A website, an improved product, marketing are all things one can do in the few spare hours they may find each day. I think that trying to launch a franchise of B&M will require 100% of your time, and therefor rule a lot of people out.
 

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Why aren't you focused on franchising or chaining?

I think it has to do with the amount of money people want to make. If you can live the life of your dreams with 5-10 million or less and do it in a couple years with an online business, there isn't much incentive to build a franchise over the next 20 years to make a billion dollars.
Also I believe many people on here (including me) are first-time entrepreneurs who lack the funds for most B&M businesses (sure, there are ways around it) or want to gather experience with all the pitfalls without putting six figures and years on the line.

I remember reading that whey protein is the surplus product from milk production. Not sure if that's true or not???

Yup, it's true, it was left over after cheese production until someone thought to himself, "Hey, you can sell anything to bodybuilders, why not this aswell". And thus the whey as we know and love it was born.
 

Random_0

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I must add to this and say that everything sucks in the beginning lol including online biz.

From what I've seen, the exponential growth typically comes around year 3 for most people.

Year 1 is stumbling and working out all of the quirks. Year 2 is somewhat more streamlined and getting a bit more aggressive on marketing. Year 3 is when everything is streamlined and you are now ready for a serious marketing budget to really hit the fastlane.

I'm in year 2 - If you're building in an already existing market, is it healthy to be copying the marketing and lead gen strategies & platforms that well established companies already use?

Have you heard of any examples of businesses that have managed to stop chasing for a piece of the pie and actually stand out in a saturated, mundane market? (plumbing services)
 

Andy Black

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I'm in year 2 - If you're building in an already existing market, is it healthy to be copying the marketing and lead gen strategies & platforms that well established companies already use?

Have you heard of any examples of businesses that have managed to stop chasing for a piece of the pie and actually stand out in a saturated, mundane market? (plumbing services)
  1. Hotels and B&Bs = Booking.com (and other OTAs), Air B&B
  2. Taxis = Uber
  3. Florists = Interflora
  4. Tradesmen UK = Able Group?
I suppose in a way also Groupon, Living Social, Yelp, Trip Advisor, Craig's List.

The trick is probably to do what Zuckerburg did and own a small piece of the pie first, then expand from there.



Plumber customers?

R+R=Profit

Repeat Business - Make sure they come back to you.

Referrals - Make sure they tell their friends.

They're also home-owners, so cross-sell and up-sell other services and products that home owners want.

Treat the first purchase as a test. Pass that and become their goto person for home services.

That's what happened with the plumber I use now. He's the only one who managed to get all our radiators working. I watched as two of them ran round the house trying to balance them, before they got frustrated and attached a hose to the system and flushed out any air blockages.

They weren't going home till they cracked it.

At least three other plumbers have done stuff in the house but no-one managed to get all the rads working.

"How you do anything is how you do everything."

We've got them in to do other small jobs now such as build a back gate.

When we want to get our utility room done we'll speak to the "plumber" first.

He's our goto guy now.
 

Greg R

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  1. Hotels and B&Bs = Booking.com (and other OTAs), Air B&B
  2. Taxis = Uber
  3. Florists = Interflora
  4. Tradesmen UK = Able Group?
I suppose in a way also Groupon, Living Social, Yelp, Trip Advisor, Craig's List.

+++ REP

This really help open my mind to what Intentional Iteration can be.

It is not just franchises, chains, and rental properties.

As you listed above, it can be much more. Leverage your biz with something that can scale (technology) and turn your B&M Fastlane.

Great stuff!
 

Random_0

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Leverage your biz with something that can scale (technology) and turn your B&M Fastlane.

Great stuff!

I think the trick is taking any business or industry and setting it to run itself as smoothly as possible, without your interaction (or with as much delegation as possible, as quickly as possible).

As soon as you've got that, scale?
 

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  1. Hotels and B&Bs = Booking.com (and other OTAs), Air B&B
  2. Taxis = Uber
  3. Florists = Interflora
  4. Tradesmen UK = Able Group?
I suppose in a way also Groupon, Living Social, Yelp, Trip Advisor, Craig's List.

The trick is probably to do what Zuckerburg did and own a small piece of the pie first, then expand from there.

[...]

Hi Andy,

do you mean he owned a piece of the social media world first and now makes his future in ads- and lead gen-selling?

Thanks for your help!
 

Andy Black

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do you mean he [Mark Zuckerberg] owned a piece of the social media world first and now makes his future in ads- and lead gen-selling?

Facebook started by being a social network for a few University campuses, before expanding to other campuses, and then outwards. i.e. niche down enough to dominate, then expand out afterwards.

I just dropped in a thread describing this:




As for "ads and lead gen-selling" - they're both the same really. Ads are just one way businesses can get leads and sales from your audience.


Remember:

"The internet is just one big lead generation machine."​
 

#nowhere

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Facebook started by being a social network for a few University campuses, before expanding to other campuses, and then outwards. i.e. niche down enough to dominate, then expand out afterwards.

I just dropped in a thread describing this:




As for "ads and lead gen-selling" - they're both the same really. Ads are just one way businesses can get leads and sales from your audience.


Remember:

"The internet is just one big lead generation machine."​

Thank you very much, Andy.
 

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