Finding Your Lane And Not Sticking To It

in business •  3 months ago

I received an email this morning from a business broker. It had about 30 listings of businesses for sale in my neighborhood. As a rule I like to investigate every possibility that comes my way - no matter how small it looks or how unappealing it is.

Business occupies most of my time. There is the task of keeping existing "balls in the air" and there is the ever elusive task of finding something new to get into. According to the business listings I received - everyone seems to be selling franchise restaurants (probably in undesirable locations). I saw 10 listings for the same Frozen Yogurt franchise - im not sure what the books look like but I can infer from the weather in Ontario that they don't make money all year long. Chicken Wing franchises seem for sale everywhere too. I've spend a lot of time in the States and the number of "fast food" franchises there is enormous - there is enough population and appetite to support TONS of them. In Canada - given our relatively small population - only a handful of franchises succeed (Subway, McDonalds, etc) - we are too small to support their competition - so inevitably the businesses for sale listings are full of franchises you really have to "sell" (which defeats the point of the franchise).

Sometime I get irritated by these business listings. Nobody seems to be selling what I want and after a while it all starts to look the same. Why do I pour over listing for Convenience Stores and Dry Cleaners if im never going to buy one?

It's part of my process.

Most of us know exactly who we are and we absolutely know what we don't like. When we try to define ourselves by what we do - we never find an exact match. I had to ask myself the other day - what is my end goal? Am I trying to be a billionaire? If I am I'm going about it the wrong way. The more I pour over listings of businesses that other people are trying to get out of - the closer I get to my next thing. I like small business - I like to start things small and then move on to something else. I've ridden all parts of the business building roller coaster and its early stages that I like the best. Buying something and tinkering with it is definitely an interest - but with a business like "Subway" its really hard to be an owner with a hired operator - you are bound by a franchise agreement that essentially keeps you from doing anything outside the box.

People used to talk about "finding your lane". We now live in a time where the idea of being in a lane is not applicable anymore. I started out as a "network engineer" which was a booming field once upon a time. Had I stayed in that lane I would have eventually been required to add more to my skill set and do something else in IT. Sometimes its possible to stay in the same industry and be in a different lane.

I was getting my hair cut the other day and was dreaming of the day when a machine will cut hair. If the machines are really expensive - there might be room for the barber to sell time with them (like a tanning bed) - its more likely however that machines will be owned by everyone and hair stylists will have to find another lane. Sometimes the industry disappears and you have no choice but to change - make sure you are paying attention to the "lane ending" signs - change can be scary but sometimes its absolutely necessary.

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I think that fro-yo was just a fun fad that is going out of style. (I just wanted to say "fro-yo") thanks for your thoughts!

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It makes sense inside of a bigger business (like McDonalds). In the North it doesnt really make sense as a full-time occupation.

Amazing, I agree with you. Change can be really scary but I feel like no matter what there’s always way to adapt to a change without totally leaving your lane, totally leaving your lane is more like giving up and giving up is never a good idea

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It depends how narrow you define "lane". If someone switches from selling cars to selling cupcakes - I would say it was a lane change - but if you look at it in the broader sense that person is doing the same job - retailing. The key thing is obviously knowing what your lane actually is and what it encompasses . Not everyone is in the right lane all the time - entrepreneurs are notorious for testing these boundaries. Change is a corrective action - it is different than giving up. Staying in something unprofitable, tedious or uninteresting would be giving up.

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I love that perspective, it all comes down to knowing what your lane really is. Being fully aware of your lane gives you the true direction no matter what happens, because you now see that everything is connected

There are 'get into a rut' kind of people, i wonder how life is for them, when they are operating a franchise, doing everything by the book, and have missed the exit signs. People no longer like donuts... or pick your fast food of unchoice.

Then the business dies slowly, then all at once.

Its similar to getting out of The US$, the stock market and housing. The exit signs are all there. But house flippers gonna flip. Traders are gonna trade. And they have no plans for that black swan event. They think that stop losses will stop losses.

I know its not really easy to see the end coming when you are IN it. But, really. What do you do with these people you know are going to crash and burn?

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We have a donut shop near us I call $5 donuts. Their business plan is simple - they make these really exotic handmade donuts once in the morning - then they close their business when theyve sold them all. Businesses in the area go there to buy donuts for meetings - people buy them for other people as a "treat" - some line up in the morning. I've seen them close as early as 10am. They dont want to stay open longer - thats their model. The anti-corporate model made this business a success. When they sell a lot of a particular donut - they stop making it and only make it once and a while. This is the exact opposite of what a good MBA program would tell you to do - but in 2018 it works.

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Interesting post.I was getting my hair cut the other day and was dreaming of the day when a machine will cut hair. If the machines are really expensive - there might be room for the barber to sell time with them (like a tanning bed) - its more likely however that machines will be owned by everyone and hair stylists will have to find another lane.
This is true, no doubt since the introduction of robots in car assembly factories, many have lost their job.

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With the advancements in AI - we'd probably all have better haircuts!

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Are you on discord! ??

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Yes - my username is @rgeddes - send me a message if im offline an we can schedule a chat..