I tell this story because I literally just got off the phone with my friend, the colleague who I wrote about in part one. That ‘franchise from hell’ was 20 years ago and we both went through a lot over the years since then. We reminisced about those old times as we often do and as usual our conversation came around to what we call, “the $100 dollar days.” You see our journey was far from over once we left the, eh-em, opportunity of a lifetime. With our own tiny amoeba companies launched, we watched as all of our once fellow entrepreneurs disappeared. Some simply faded away while many others demise was painful to witness. Struggling mightily to stay afloat over the next few years, we were wary of all the new start ups that came out of nowhere year after year. Much like our franchise friends however, almost all of them quickly vanished with no real sign or trace they had ever even existed.
Although my buddy and I ultimately chose different paths, early on we both struggled while implementing any new idea that, #1 we could afford and, #2 sounded like it might have even a spark of hope. There was however, one thing we both had but it wasn’t very obvious to either of us way back then. You see, we used to speak on the phone all the time about each others business and how things were going. We spoke about equipment, treatment strategies, how to grow etc. If it was business related, we discussed it. Looking back, there was one such conversation that probably was and still is more important than any other we’ve ever had.
The Hundred Dollar Plan
For some reason and I don’t know who was the one to suggest it- we had set a goal of working, selling, finding or even begging for $100 dollars worth of business per day. Ok, I am joking about the begging part-but only 1/2 way, remember, times were tough starting out. But for whatever reason we chose that $100 dollar mark and that number dominated our thoughts and decisions for many years. No matter what we devised or what idea we acted on, it all was to reach the goal of the $100 dollar day.
Our phone conversations were a great way of going back and forth about what worked and what didn’t. It also gave a sense of accountability and more importantly, a person to vent to. That in and of itself can sometimes be worth its weight in gold. So many of those phone calls were just the same exact words time after time but it didn’t really matter. Yes frustration so often ruled the day but at least if one of us had a decent day, then somehow that counted for us both. We always ended up however, with the reaffirmation of the goal to reach the $100 dollar day.
One Hundred Different Ways
Door knocking, flea market booths, realtors, builders, rewards for referrals, etc. etc. etc. What ever it took, we were game and although we failed more than anything else, we counted each stride forward as a victory. I was terrible with door knocking but there were days my counter part hit his $100 by noon with it. My forte was commercial work which was slow but paid off when the regular service came around on my schedule. He did lawns, I HATED lawns and still do to this day. I had a small night route, served 4 counties and loved terrible german roach jobs. He barely leaves his side of town and turned down most nasty roach jobs where he said there was a lot to do but little money to make so why do it? Come to think of it, that may have been pretty wise.
Now two decades later we chuckle about some of the things we did and still wonder why some of our ‘killer’ ideas never paid off. We still have goals, but at least for me, I’ve changed my outlook from setting number goals to setting activity ones. Numbers (or at least the pursuit of them) can come with negative baggage but activity goals produce a healthy bottom line while promoting good business ethics. But regardless, goals in any start up is KEY and being accountable to those goals and what it takes to succeed is the lock. What my friend and I didn’t realize so long ago, is that we were operating this most fundamental principle and in so doing we both were able to put these two crucial items together. No, we weren’t record setting fortune 500’s and no, you couldn’t call either of us “large companies” today. But here we are, THANKFUL to be where we are and I credit so much of this opened door to the hundred dollar days.