The Street Smart Entrepreneur – Jay Goltz

By | January 23, 10

The Street Smart Entrepreneur:133 Tough Lessons I learned The Hard Way by Jay Goltz

If there is anyone knowledgeable, experienced and qualified to guide entrepreneurs to business success, it is Chicago businessman, Jay Goltz. Jay has built his business, Artists’ Frame Service, from scratch in 1978 to the world’s largest custom retail picture framing facility.

With such accomplishment, he is surely worth listening to, and you just can pick his brains from his book The Street Smart Entrepreneur: 133 Tough Lessons I learned The Hard Way.

jay-goltz-street-smart-entrepreneurIn this book, Jay shares his secrets to success with business owners on the major challenges that entrepreneurs face in starting and growing their businesses, including hiring the best people to work with you. And he does it in a format that tells the reader “What I Used To Think” and then “What Nobody Told Me” before going ahead to narrate how he dealt with the situation.

This is a book packed with invaluable lessons for entrepreneurs, particularly small business owners to stir their business to success. With The Street Smart Entrepreneur, you wouldn’t have to learn business lessons in a hard way as Jay did, it could be very costly – you will have the secrets to making your business successful.

This is a book I will recommend any day! Here is an excerpt of the book, enjoy it!

If You Don’t Want To Answer To Anyone, Find A Nice Cave

What I Used To Think: When you go into business for yourself, you don’t have to answer to anyone.

Nobody Told Me: When you go into business for yourself, you have to answer to everybody. You have to answer to your customers, your employees, your landlord, your neighbours, the IRS – everybody. You may not have to take orders and you may have more control of your destiny, but you’re accountable to everybody. There’s a long list of reasons why people go into business for themselves. They’re great salespersons, they’re natural leaders, they’re ambitious, they have highly marketable skills, or they have a vision. Going into business for yourself so you don’t have to answer to anyone is the reason least likely to result in success.

Lesson #1: Going into business for yourself is more responsibility than you can possibly imagine.

Great Ideas Can Be Hazardous to Your Health
What I Used To Think: You think it’s a great idea, your wife and kids think it’s a great idea, and your friends think it’s a great idea. It must be a great idea.

Nobody Told Me: You could come up with the most harebrained idea and find a dozen friends who would say it’s great. Why? Because they don’t want to burst your bubble. Because they admire your ambition. When you have an idea, discuss it with someone who has enough business smarts and objectivity to say with authority, “I don’t think that idea will work. Here’s why.” Or, “It’s a great idea. Let me tell you why.”

Several years ago I stumbled into the opening celebration of an ice cream parlor near my home in suburban Chicago. A corporate executive had opened the shop. He had planned for his wife to run the place until his retirement, when they would run it together. That night there was a big crowd of well-wishers. Everybody was smiling.

The future looked bright. I went in there on a Saturday about a month later, and it was very quiet. The wife, husband, and their eldest child were working behind the counter. They looked disappointed but hopeful. I came back a month after that and found the wife working alone. The place was empty. I returned a few months later and found the windows covered with newspapers. The shop had closed.

I don’t know enough about the ice cream business or about the personality of this corporate executive to say why the business failed. But I do know summers are short in Chicago, and running a small business is a far cry from running a corporation. I suspect this guy’s friends and family told him the ice cream parlor was a great idea. But I doubt he thought it through very carefully either from a business or personal perspective.

It’s crucial to conduct a careful business analysis and make a business plan before starting or purchasing a business. It also is important to talk to lots of people, like the owners of similar businesses, potential customers, a lawyer, an accountant, and anyone else who can shed some light on what you might be getting yourself into.

Lesson #2: Behind every failed business are a dozen friends who said it was a great idea.

The Fine Art of Delegating Authority

What I Used to Think: You tell people what to do, and they do it.

Nobody Told Me: If you have a gun to their heads, maybe. I’ve never had much trouble delegating authority, but it took me a while to learn how to do it well. You have to make your expectations clear and follow up to make sure your employees are doing what you asked them to do. You also have to expect screwups when you delegate authority. I avoid delegating jobs that will cost me a bundle if someone makes a mistake.

After a few years in business, I was eager to follow the advice about delegating authority that I’d read in so many management books. In Chicago you used to have to put a new vehicle sticker thing. The boss shouldn’t spend his time scrapping off and replacing vehicle stickers in the freezing cold.” So, admittedly, starting small, I delegated the job to one of my production people and felt pretty good when he told me he had taken care of it without any trouble. When I went out to the car that night, I saw that the sticker was halfway up the window instead of in the lower corner. I drove around with that sticker obstructing my view for a year. It was a painful reminder of my failure to delegate authority well.

The following year, I said to myself, “You really didn’t understand delegation last year. When you delegate you have to give thorough instructions.” So I gave my employee a razor blade, a paper towel for the scrapings, and instructions to place the new sticker one inch from the bottom and one inch from the side of the windshield.

I had a car and a van, so I told him to take care of the car after he finished with the van. He came into my office a little while later. I said, “Did you finish the job?” He said, “Kinda.” So I said, “What do you mean, kinda?” “Well, I had a little problem,” he said. “I can’t find the razor blade.” So there was a razor blade floating around somewhere in the car that I drove with my family. I began to wonder whether delegation was such a good idea after all.

The next year, however, I refused to give up. I asked another employee to do the job. I gave him detailed instructions and just one sticker at a time so he’d have to put them on the right vehicles. I also told him to keep an eye on the razor blade. He came back to my office ten minutes later and handed the vehicle sticker to me in one sheet. I never have been able to scrape a sticker off in one piece like that. I thought to myself, “I’ve become some kind of delegation guru.

I got the right guy, gave him the right tools and clear instructions, and he did a better job than I could have.” I gave him the other sticker. He was gone for ten minutes, then twenty. Finally, thirty minutes later, he walked into my office as white as a sheet. I said, “Did you take care of it?” He said, “No, I broke the windwshield.” As it turned out he had used a blowtorch in subzero temperatures to remove the stickers.

There are two lessons here. First if you see an employee walking around with a blowtorch, ask where he/she is going. The more important lesson, which took me weeks to accept, is that screwups happen. It’s easy to forget that the thirty other jobs you delegated that week went smoothly when you’re in the midst of a crisis.

The windshield cost a couple hundred dollars. But if I had done everything myself, (as the old saying goes, if you want it done right, you have to do it yourself) it would have cost me much more. I would have spent all of my time doing maintenance, deliveries, writing ad copy, and everything else instead of running my business.

Lesson #23: Screwups happen when you delegate authority. Deal with them. Don’t stop delegating.

A Healthy Business Starts With A Healthy Body

What I Used To Think: When you’re young and strong, you don’t have to think about your health.

Nobody Told Me: Health is your best long-term investment. When I started my business fresh out of college, like many young people I took my health for granted. My body soon sent a message to me, however, that I had better pay attention. I had been suffering from severe intestinal pain for many months before going to an internist, who gave me a prescription that failed to provide relief.

I read a magazine article shortly thereafter that clued me into the real problem. The article described the link between intestinal pain and stress. I made some changes at work to reduce the amount of stress I was experiencing. I also began exercising regularly and eating better so I would have more energy to handle those stressful situations you just can’t avoid.

It’s easy to take your health for granted when you’re young, but it’s difficult to develop healthy habits when you’re older. Neglecting your health in the long run is a detriment to your business. Health problems may distract you from business, if not prevent you from being able to work altogether. The time you invest in your health, no matter what your age, will pay high dividends. You will experience the payoff in your energy level, mental acuity, emotional well-being, and ability to deal effectively with stress.

If you have stress-related health problems or deteriorating health, it’s time for you to re-evaluate where you’re going and how you’re getting there. Make your health a top priority because all the success in the world means nothing if you’re unhealthy.

Recommended Resource

This is a great book by all standard, and I very much gladly recommend it to you if you desire to find out how to become super rich.


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