“The true entrepreneur is a doer, not a dreamer.” ― Nolan Bushnell
Luis, our 15-year-old yard worker, wants to go to his cousin’s quinceañera in Costa Rica in November. Although, he only works for us on Saturday, he wanted to work after school to save money for his trip. We are preparing for a new roof in November, and we needed someone to remove the old roof tiles.
“Luis, how would you like to make enough money to travel by removing our old tiles and selling them?” we asked him.
Five Business Skills We All Need
I am going to use Luis as an example because he is one bright guy and learns quickly.
I’m a believer that education is everything. That isn’t necessarily formal education, although it can be. Education comes in many forms, including through experience and through mentors. Luis didn’t know where or how to begin to sell our roof tiles, so we mentored him.
You see, Luis is willing to learn. He hired two of his friends to remove the roof tiles, and since we needed them to be removed, we paid them. It was a long, dirty day of work with nasty surprises under the roof tiles like scorpions and snake skins. Ron was stung in the stomach by a scorpion that crawled under his t-shirt! UGH!
2. Know Your Goal
Luis’ goal was to simply remove the roof tiles and sell them. Yet, there were many sub-steps he needed to understand to be successful. How many roof tiles are there? What is a reasonable price to set? How will you market the roof tiles? How will you deliver them? What is the cost of delivery and do you increase the cost of the tiles because you have to hire a truck and workers to load, deliver, and unload the tiles?
3. Gauge Your Strengths and Weaknesses
Luis realized that math was not his strength. But, with Ron’s help and a calculator, he wasn’t overwhelmed with the task. The most difficult part was figuring out an easy way to count the tiles. Once the tiles were counted and he had a reasonable price figured out (4c per tile for 1700 tiles ), he was ready to market them.
4. Know Your Customers, Their Wants and Needs
Luis was happy with the progress he had made. He had all the numbers, the cost of delivery, and the profit he would make. But, he needed to find a buyer. How? He couldn’t advertise on Facebook because most of the local people wanting to buy the roof tiles wouldn’t be on Facebook. He could go door to door, but that was time-consuming. He needed to have connections, and an understanding of who would want to buy these tiles. Who were his customers?
5. Networking is Your Friend
Right or wrong, business is all about who you know. Knowing someone who can advise you, knowing an investor, or just knowing someone who can provide you with emotional support can be invaluable. Luis is a budding entrepreneur who needed our help in selling the tiles.
Since we have a good network of local and foreign friends, it was only a matter of putting the word out that Luis had roof tiles for sale. One of our friends is interested in buying the tiles. Luis has been in contact with him and is in the process of negotiating a good deal. Nicaraguans are excellent negotiators, and Luis is no exception.
Consistency in business is much more effective than trying to nail everything all at once and all alone. Luis is consistent and persistent. I am so proud of him! He is learning the steps needed to be a successful entrepreneur. He is definitely a doer, not a dreamer.
What other business skills do we all need to know?