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新经济MOOK

中国最挑剔的读物

 
 
 

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别等着天上掉馅饼  

2009-10-14 19:07:43|  分类: 默认分类 |  标签: |举报 |字号 订阅

  下载LOFTER 我的照片书  |

——区分好商机的5条建议

If It's So Good, Why Offer it to Me?

5 ways to tell legitimate deals from stinkers.

 

 

我从一个小混混和屠夫成为了一个亿万富翁。是什么机会使我变得这么富有呢?是收账业务。这种职业在人们心目中的印象并不好。我的公司另辟蹊径,并赢得了《工作女人》杂志的称赞,我们被称为是在职妈妈最理想的100家公司之一。我们打破了传统,重新定义了一个行业,同时获得了丰厚的回报。

回顾我的成功和失败,我想我可以提供五条法则,让你快速地筛掉其他的东西,并确定什么才是你真正的机会。

1.好机会一定存在不足

当有人指给你一个好机会,并说这个机会只有好的一面的时候——那这就不是一个好机会。有一句谚语说:“在快速、便宜和优良中,你可以达到其中的两个——但是不能同时满足这三个条件。”这适用于大工程,也适用于面包店。

要争取和能够认识到一切事情都有优劣两面,且能认清他们都与什么人合作。只要你能认清劣势并采取相应的行动,你就有可能获利。

2.向你招手的机会不是机会

当一个机会向你招手:“欢迎,来吧!”那并不是真正的机会。

寻找传统观念中认为充满障碍的行业,这些观念常常并不明智。试着寻找人们很容易接受但又缺少任何实际基础的有力行业。在我的例子中,收债人的名声显然是不如政治家和艺术家的。我认为“禁止入内”的标志意味着更小的竞争和更大的利益。

3.和实际使用者沟通

如果这个机会是一个产品,那就自己试用一下,再从一个消费者的角度来看你是否会被打动。如果产品是和石油钻塔有关的,那么就要和钻井队沟通意见。你仅仅需要从实际的使用者那里得到回馈,再来决定这个机会实际上有多大。

我人生的很大一部分都是贫穷的,所以我清楚地知道典型的收债人是什么样的。我会给客户以尊严和尊重。相反他们也会先还我的账再还别人的。

4.考虑他们的动机

我知道……你妈妈和你说过黄金定律。我不是你的妈妈。记住这篇文章的标题——他们为什么要把这个好主意告诉你?让我们先把诸如因为我想归还这样的胡扯的话放在一边。现在,你告诉我你到底为什么和我说这个主意?好的机会怎么就会轮到你?其他的回答有:

我已经有了八个像这样的好点子,我还能想出更多,可是我找不到足够的钱。

这个理由很合理,只要他能证明他自己的观点是正确的。

很多人都要求我们加入到这个新机会中来,所以我们最终还是屈服了。

通常这些都是些废话。翻译过来就是:“我们不想冒险把钱放到这个新项目中,所以我们想用你的钱来验证我们的设想。

这不是我们的核心业务,所以我们想要卖掉。

这可能是个好理由,如果卖家能证明它是个好点子,这说明这家公司决定只关注自己的核心业务。

5.确定生意能够维持的时间段

商业机会有半衰期,就像铀一样。现在很火的是博客和视频网站。如果你的生意是依赖于一些很火的流行趋势,那你就要留心用户何时会对其感到疲劳以及寻找下一个流行元素。

当我在90年代买下不能偿还的债时,我知道这个商机不会永远持续下去。事实如此,它只维持了几年的利润,然后业务就开始缩小了。

政府的挽救行动改变了一切。我现在又在购买欠债中发现了更大的商机,而且也确实挣了不少钱。最大的机会将会出现在之后的几年,直到下一届大选。政客们将会希望这些“毒瘤资产”问题能在投票者投票之前解决。

I went from being a gang member and slaughterhouse worker to becoming a billionaire. What opportunity made me a billion bucks? The debt-collection business. Talk about an area with a bad reputation. My company took a different path and earned the praise of Working Woman Magazine for being one of the Top 100 Best Companies for Working Mothers. We broke the mold, redefined an industry and made lots of money at the same time.

Reflecting on my successes and scars, here are five principles for how you can identify truly good opportunities of your own and quickly dump the rest:

1.It should be just good enough to be true.

When someone pitches you on an opportunity and there's only good news as far as your eye can see--that's bad news. Engineers have a saying: "You can have any two of the following--fast, cheap or good--but not all three." That's as true with bakeries as it is with bridges.

Strive to work with partners who recognize that everything has tradeoffs and who are up-front about them. It's often still possible to profit, as long as you see the negatives and act accordingly.?

2.Barriers are your friend.

When an opportunity seems to say: "Welcome, come on in!" that's no real opportunity.

Look for conventional-wisdom barriers. Often that "wisdom" is not wise at all. Try to find powerful statements everyone seems to accept but which lack any factual basis. In my case, the reputation of debt collectors was somewhere below politicians and scam artists. I saw that big "Keep Out" sign as less competition and more profit.

3.Talk to actual users.

If the new opportunity is a product, use it yourself to decide whether you're impressed as a consumer. If it relates to oil rigs, talk with a drilling crew. You simply must get input from actual users to determine how great this opportunity may realistically be.

I had been poor for so much of my life that I knew exactly what the typical bill collector was like. I treated customers with dignity and respect. They reciprocated by paying my bill before they paid others.

4. Question their motives.

I know . . . your mother told you all about the Golden Rule. I'm not your mother. Remember the title of this article--why are they offering the deal to you? Let's put aside the baloney answers you'll hear--answers such as, "Because I want to give back." That's nice. Now why are you really showing me the deal? Other responses:

I already have eight deals like this and I see more good ones than I can finance.

That may be legitimate, as long as the person can back it up with proof.

We've had overwhelming requests by people to participate in this new opportunity, so we finally caved in.

Usually hogwash. Translation: “We don't want to risk our own money on this new venture, so we're looking to use your dough to prove our concept.”

It's not part of our core business so we're selling it off.

That can be a very good reason, if the seller can back it up with proof. It could mean the company has decided to stick to its knitting.

5.Look for the time horizon.

Business opportunities have a half-life, just like uranium. Blogs and video sites are "in" right now. If your business relies on popular trends, it pays to watch for signs of user fatigue and what may be next.

When I was buying defaulted loans in the '90s, I knew the opportunity would not last forever. Sure enough, it was profitable for a few years and then dwindled.

The government bailout changed all that. I now see an even bigger opportunity for buying defaulted loans and making an absolute fortune from them. Still, the biggest window is only for another couple of years until the next major election. Politicians will want this "toxic asset" problem solved before voters go to the polls.

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