Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Experience Required

When I finished school, i took my entire life savings, $5,000, and invested it in a business. I was young. I was inexperienced. But I was an entrepreneur and proud. And in six weeks I was broke. Mark Warner

When I meet young people, especially college students, who are enthusiastic to become entrepreneurs, I'm reminded of a parable of unkown origin:

A manufacturing plant has been experiencing trouble for weeks. Production is slow and off specification and none of the employees can figure out how to fix the problem. So the plant manager brings in a consultant that had worked in the industry for decades.

The consultant walks around the plant, asks a few questions, turns a valve then picks up a hammer and hits the valve. The plant roars back to life, making in specification product again.

The following week the plant manager receives a bill from the consultant for $10,000. After the shock wears off, the manager calls the consultant and asks him to justify the bill. The consultant offers to send an itemized billing as explanation.

A few days later, the bill arrives. Item 1: Hitting stuck valve with hammer $10. Item 2: Forty years of experience to know what to hit $9,990.

So young folks who believe it could BE different, go make it happen, you're young and it's a great thing to try! You might get lucky with the next Facebook, but most of you will not get very far without the depth of experience that comes from working in an industry for a decade or two. If you can't wait that long, then at least add someone to your team who has.

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