Why did I start this company?

Why did I start this company?   Two reasons:

First I had some customers who felt they weren’t getting the right attention from my old employer. These customers deserved a better business relationship experience and asked me to provide them with that. Thankfully with 20+ years of experience I had a lot of contacts willing to support me while I opened my own Leasing / Finance group.

I also had some friends who ran existing companies, but who couldn’t get regular financing because of some dings in their personal credit.  I was now in a position to help them. Before long I was asked to help other hopeful business owners in the same situation.  Word got around.

Next thing I knew, startups were asking me for help in financing the equipment they needed to get going.  (I soon learned that folks in these situations need a good credit rating — though not necessarily perfect.  That’s still so.)

So while SFG does provide the same kinds of credit as banks and finance companies, we’re also active where most banks won’t go — with “B” and “C” credit level clients.  Why?  Because we know that these clients, who are looked down upon by banks, are precisely the clients who will and do pay on the button each and every month.

Over all these decades we’ve had almost no collection activity.  We trust you.  And this trust has helped a lot of companies — like these — grow from infancy to large successful ones.

Learn From Famous People Who Failed at First

Think about it: Henry Ford, Steve Jobs and Dr. Seuss have something in common.

fail to grow

Famous People Who Failed at First

We are all creatures of habit. Everyone has a routine that keeps us in our comfort zone both in our personal and professional lives. We drive the same route to work, park in the same space every day, drink the same coffee, shop at the same grocery store and buy the same brands.

As professionals, the challenge is getting creatures of habits to break out of their comfort zones and choose to work with you and purchase the product or service you are selling? A man recently drove from Albuquerque to Wyoming to North Dakota. He took a secondary road and then transitioned to the highway, relying on his trusty GPS for the best directions.

About 20 miles down the highway, He passed a truck. It was the exact same truck he had passed just before exiting the secondary road. The driver apparently had taken a different route, a better route, which cut time and mileage off his trip. As a creature of habit, he had relied on his GPS, as usual, but had not made the best choice. If he had known, he would have followed the truck! You better believe that the next time he will check for alternatives. Too often, we confuse guidance with direction.

At school, teachers provide information that guide us and influence choices throughout our lives. A GPS system provides guidance – alternatives – that shows how to move from point to point. At work, managers provide training and guidance designed to help us excel.

While essential, any information we get – whether from teachers, technology or managers – does not mean it’s the best direction in every situation.

The only way to get most people out of their comfort zones and motivate them to break habits is to get them to change their way of thinking or, as the saying goes, to get them to think and act outside the box, to change their perception.

If two people look at the same picture, they will each see it if different ways. One may see the sun breaking through a storm and another may see a storm brewing. Typically, an individual’s perception rarely changes.

If he had stepped out of my box and thought about alternative routes, he would have arrived earlier on that trip. Instead, he followed the directions his “guidance” – his GPS – told him to go.

Look what can happen when individuals and companies break out of their comfort zone.

Henry Ford failed and went broke five times before he finally succeeded. In the early days, Ford built cars one at a time. The car sat on the ground as mechanics and their support teams sourced parts and returned to the car to assemble it from the chassis upwards.

Henry Ford knew that to put the world on wheels he had to produce the largest number of cars, to the simplest design, for the lowest possible cost using what he called a moving assembly line.

Ford invented machines and then kept experimenting until every practice was refined, and his mass production vision became a reality. A bare chassis moved along the line and through different workstations until a complete car was driven off under its own power. Ford’s moving assembly line started an industrial revolution.

Another Detroit example is Lee Iacocca who saved Chrysler from bankruptcy in the 1980s. Iacocca had an uncanny knack for understanding what the American car buyer wants to drive. While not every car he conceived was a success, he never stopped thinking what car buyers would want. He created numerous hit vehicles and new product segments for both Ford and Chrysler.

Fred Smith wrote a term paper based on an idea for reliable overnight delivery service. His professor gave him a C because the idea allegedly wasn’t feasible.

Later, many potential investors agreed with the professor, refusing to send capital Smith’s way. The funds he did raise in 1971 and 1972 were gone by 1974, along with his investors.

A catchy slogan (“FedEx: when it absolutely, positively has to be there overnight”) and several million dollars of hard-won capital later, Federal Express was on its way to profitability and long-term success.

Steve Jobs wanted to give everyone a computer at a time when nobody realized computers were necessary. He founded Apple to create home computers, experienced some early success and even changed advertising with the infamous “1984” commercial that changed the way people thought about computing.

Apple faltered in the consumer market with the expensive Macintosh and Jobs was ousted from the company he founded but was eventually asked to return to his first love, where he turned around Apple at a time when it was in trouble.

A newspaper editor fired Walt Disney because “he lacked imagination and had no good ideas.” Disney declared bankruptcy several times before he built Disneyland, which was originally rejected by the City of Anaheim.

Dr. Seuss’ first children’s book, And to Think That I Saw it on Mulberry Street, was rejected by 27 publishers. The 28th publisher sold six million copies of the book.

Some people are motivated by the word no and by failure, and are driven to look for a new way to do things. For them, no means go, and fail means sail. All it takes is a different look, a change of perception. It takes you. If you don’t change anything, nothing changes at all. Yet, change brings benefits.

Each of these individuals, regardless of their field of endeavor, was a risk taker. They left their comfort zone repeatedly and accomplished what they envisioned, what often they were told could never be possible.

In sales, the constant question must be, “What are you going to do differently tomorrow that you didn’t do today?” Ask yourself:

How do I communicate with my boss, my customers?

Am I always learning about my business?

Am I looking for new things that are coming out?

Am I willing to learn from every day experiences?

Do I look for new ways to solve problems or am I complacent?

Unless you view your situation from different perspectives and try or invent new ways of doing things, no book or training or class will make a difference.

And if you can’t change your own perspective, you’ll never change anyone else’s.