Category Archives: best practices

How to change things when change is hard

I just finished “Switch: How to change things when change is hard”, by Chip and Dan Heath.  I loved their first book “Made to Stick” and decided why not spend my mini break (and sadly the month after) reading their book on change.

I am that girl who writes notes in books.  Now that I have switched to ebooks, I am trying to find a good way to store my notes and highlights (is there an app that moves them to a safe place?).   I’ve had two library books stashed in my kindle app for over a month Switch and Steal Like an Artist (I just posted about that on my other blog).  Syncing would wipe out my notes.  The time has come to share my thoughts so I can upload new books.

  • “For anything to change, someone has to start acting differently”
  • “For individuals’ behavior to change, you’ve got to influence not only their environment but their hearts and minds.  The problem is this, Often the heart and mind disagree, Fervently.”
  • “Change is hard because people wear themselves out”
  • The brothers Heath had an interesting visual on change.  You have an elephant, a rider, and a path.  They took the concept from Jonathan Haidt’s book “The Happiness Hypotheses”“You’ll direct the Rider, motivate the Elephant, and Shape the Path.”
  • Bright-spot philosophy,”What’s working and how can we do more of it?”
  • Don’t get hung up on understanding the past to make change.
  • Create “Big Hairy Audacious Goals… 10 to 30 year goal(s) to progress towards an envisioned future.
  • “When you’re at the beginning, don’t obsess about the middle, because the middle si going to look different once you get there, just look for a strong beginning and a strong ending and get moving.”
  • “Checklists simply make big screwups less likely”
  • “When you’re leading an Elephant on an unfamiliar path, chances are it’s going to follow the herd.  So how do you create a herd?”

Lemonade Stand

So, you have a great product idea.  You decide you want to make your millions on this product. Can you really make millions on this product?

My last post was about planning with the end in mind.  I’ve recently sat down with a freelancer, and two small businesses to discuss job costing.  I know that finance is scary, but think about your first entrepreneurial venture, the lemonade stand.  You borrow money from your parents, you mix up your lemonade, you set up a table in the front yard and then you get to work in the hopes that you can pay mom back, and buy yourself a new toy.

So, your end goal is that new toy.  It’s $10.  You borrowed $10 from your parents to buy supplies (they wanted you to earn the toy, rather than give you money for the toy directly).  It’s pretty simple math.  You need to sell enough lemonade to pay your parent’s back and buy the toy.  End goal, clear $20. Simple enough.

Other things to factor in.  Other lemonade stands in the area.  You need to price your goods competitively.  Then there is the actual cost of goods sold.  Ingredients, cups, a sign, and maybe some decorations for your front yard set up.  If you are lucky,  You can scavenge around for the decorations, and make the sign yourself.  You are down to cups and ingredients, and you have $10.

Around the corner, your neighbor is selling lemonade for $0.50 a cup and they are making it from a mix.  If you go with a mix,  You can’t really sell your lemonade for more. You could use better ingredients (although more costly) to raise the price.

Most small businesses, end up running right out to the store with $10 and buy the ingredients for their lemonade.  They get the nice cups, they get the organic ingredients, they make a glorious signage, they sit out at the curb, and sell lemonade until they have exhausted their supplies and themselves.  If they are disciplined, they spend their earnings from the day on more supplies and they show up the next day with more lemonade.

Does that define success?  Not really.  Your goal was to make money.  At some point you have to make money off the cups of lemonade, not just get more supplies for lemonade.  You want to make enough money to pay off what ever start up costs you had.  You want to pay off any loans you took out to open your lemonade stand.  You want to pay yourself for your time spent running the lemonade stand (at least minimum wage).