Successful entrepreneurs are constantly asking three key questions –
‘what isn’t working’
‘why isn’t it working’ and
‘can I do anything about it’?
These three questions are the most important questions in the entrepreneurs vocabluary and a lifetime can be spent on developing the skills and abilities to answer those as successfully as possible.
So, what might these questions mean in practice? Let’s have a look…
Well, you might say that the European labour market isn’t working. That is, unemployment levels are much higher than in Asian countries or the US and the long term unemployment rates are far higher too. Why isn’t employment working? Well, mainly due to taxes, costs and the bureacratic burden of employees.
But is there anything you can do about this? Well, taxes are political – so let’s not go there – but knowing how the structure of the labour market works means that companies would be attracted to simple and cost efficient ways to hire staff. So, the freelance and contractor sectors of employment are the growth areas. And, therefore, can you build a business to meet this increasing demand?
Another typical complaint – house prices – might lead to a different answer. That is, house prices in the UK are very high – relative to earnings - and therefore it is hard to sell your property and move to another. This has all sorts of macro-economic disadvantages, but leaving those aside, it has lead many entrepreneurs to believe that the solution lies in either a direct sale approach to house sales (ie. cut out the agent) or a digital online database (property portals).
Now, let’s ask why houses don’t sell easily in the UK? Well, high price is one reason, but is it the agent? Evidence todate of 10 years of would be websites dedicated to cutting out the no-win/ no-fee agent – and replacing with a fixed adverting charge have failed to make any inroads into the market.
In fact, as it becomes harder to sell property, so it seems that the commission motivated agent in the middle is critical to ensuring that the two parties agree and close the deal.
Equally, the rapid proliferation of property portals suggests that property sales are going online? But no… instead, property adverts are going online – but the quality of those adverts is poorer now than before. Why?
Well, the agents treat the property portals as an advertising cost and therefore, don’t want to display all their stock at once – only those properties most likely to generate sales leads.
Hence, the all comprehensive promise of property portals is falling apart and anyone wanting to buy a house now has to look at multiple websites to see what they might buy.
It seems that property and property sales are – once again – returning to the existing structure of buyers, sellers and media used to generate leads.
Hence, it seems that business plans dedicated to changing the way that we buy and sell our houses have failed.
Now, the quickest way to make houses easy to buy and sell would be to cut their price in half – and that could be achieved by a massive increase in the availability of cheap land. Ah, back to politics then.
So, as we all agree, there is something deeply inefficient about how property is transacted. But there isn’t an obvious way to change it – other than by radical politically lead reform. Which isn’t easy either. It is a bit like capitalism – it is the least worst system.
The risk is that many young entrepreneurs may spend too much time (and money) attempting to make perfect an imperfect system. Sometimes we just have to accept that there is ‘nothing much we can do to help’. If so, then find out fast and move on.
You see, often the successful entrepreneur is portrayed as someone who never gives up – where as, in fact, he (or she) may simply be willing to give up faster – and therefore find something that works quicker.
If you perfect the use of our three special questions then you’ll get there faster, waste less money and time and achieve a greater result.