I have been away with my family for the last 2 weeks and have enjoyed my time with them. Last week, I did not post because I did not want to take time away from their Spring Break. This week is Easter. The conversation at the dinner table these 2 weeks has been Education. My older kids are starting to worry about college and my little ones are hyper-competitive with grades.
One thing I can tell you is that I realize that your family time is important at any age because it shapes their thinking and expectations. In the case of my kids, we have made a point of always directing them to what we think is important. Education is a big thing for, not so much for a professional future, but in order to appreciate the other things in life that sometimes we do not see if we do not know any background on it. I will give you an example: A few days ago we were discussing the origin of the word decimate. If you look in a dictionary, the word gives you something like to kill or destroy. I was telling my children that the word has an origin in the Roman legions. When the troops would rebel, they had to make an example out of them, and since the penalty was execution, they could not be left without soldiers. So they would go and pick one out of ten and take their life. Hence the word decimate.
You would think this is not the typical table discussion, but when you speak to your kids about history and reality, you have to be truthful and open with them, and obviously speak with candor and respect to their age. Well, business is the same way. We have to be truthful and open when we talk to each other. Very much like a family. My partners and I are honest with each other and it saves a lot of hassles. I would wish that more individuals acted on principles instead of strategies.
Today’s discussion was about the future of my kids and their college interviews. They seem worried and excited, and I must admit, they do not realize, I am more excited than both of them combined. I love them and hope they truly enjoy the college experience. I know I did! Probably a little too much…
Stay Calm and Keep Humble…
If there is one thing that one of my old bosses hated, was the lack of detail when it comes to negotiating a deal. I don’t mean the type of cross your t’s and dot your I’s. More like the kind of, check to make sure the 22 cents remaining are mine and nobody else’s. I always thought it was a mix of control and greed, but as I delve more into my own deals, I am kind of beginning to understand him.
If there is one thing I have learned this last few months is that patience and flexibility are a virtue. Not everybody can be patient and not everybody can be flexible. When you have an instinct for ambition, you will take every opportunity to negotiate to your advantage. Whether you are negotiating with your business partner or your kid, this is the way you do it. But there is always the motivation at the end: how much do you want for yourself, and how much does the other person want.
I am extremely good at judging this, but I have changed thankfully in so many ways, that I am always willing to see what is fair for me and for the other party. Once I establish a fairness principle, I try to make sure we both stay around there, that way we both win. If the other party is not willing to come close to fairness, then I don’t need to worry too much about a long-term relationship. If the party, like one of my current principals is fair, then I will take care of them like there was no tomorrow.
I actually have 2 principals right now that I believe are not only fair but well-meaning. Don’t get me wrong, I know they will always look for a way to come on top, I am not blind by my sudden good heart, but at least their self-interests are not extreme – they are, well, fair.
So to all of those out there reading this, please remember that as an entrepreneur you have to charge for your services and you have to pay for your services. Judgement will not always be about the lowest cost or highest price, but about the perception of fairness in your relationship. Hopefully, it will start with you and how you treat others…
Keep Calm and Stay Humble
This is an exciting upcoming week. Not only is our project going well because our projects are close to materializing, but it is also an excellent week because I will be traveling to a very cool “Food Show.” (Touché for those reading this and thinking you know where I am going.)
Part of business, as I have learned in most unfortunate ways, is discretion, and this is one of those situations. You really want to share, but in the case of today’s technologies, you really can’t share everything. I would like to say though, that I am going to a place where I will find some good people that need my expertise and help. They value my experience and I value their drive to make their small companies shine. I would rather spend the rest of my days as a professional helping people who are looking to grow, instead of wasting away in a corporate environment,
I was actually thinking today that I might have saved a few years of my life by making this decision. My problems today are nothing compared to what I had and my stress level is so low, I can actually laugh and joke that I am not making much money. I can actually – and happily I might add – pay the salaries of my partners who are not producing much as well, as they have been in it with me and have believed in our dreams together. Life is good and so are my partners.
My wife and I are very blessed to be a part of this project and we love to share our time, resources and energy with our friends and partners. I believe that God will look at us and have mercy one day and say, “OK, here is a little something for you guys, have fun and make something out of it” (He might say it in Spanish if you believe that he speaks in your language.)
So for now, we wait and we wait happily as ever.
Keep Calm and Stay Humble….