Oct 22, 2005

Dr Phil - Business Guru...

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I sat down to watch Dr. Phil yesterday (as I usually do in the afternoons - it's my "break time") The show was about couples who fight over money. But, once you got past the first segment, it was really about "bad business ideas".

The last segment was about 2 SAHM's who LOVED to shop in exclusive boutiques and wanted to open their own. They both had very small children but KNEW that they could take their kids to work with them every day. They had all these ideas about what they wanted to sell ("the stuff WE like") and how they wanted to sell it ("martinis while you shop!"). What they DIDN'T have was any idea how much it would cost ("we'll deal with the costs when we start spending"), or even if anyone WANTED a new boutique. Oh, and they assumed they would make about $100,00 in profit - after the first year of course because the one thing they were sure of is that businesses don't do AS well the first year... Through the whole segment, I kept thinking, "insert 'scrapbook store' here". They sound like a lot of women who want their own scrapbook store.

So, Dr. Phil set up a reality check (a stroke of genius!). He had them go shadow a boutique owner. The owner gave them all sorts of unglamorous tasks like packing and counting unsold merchandise, changing lightbulbs, meeting with vendors (so they could see how little you got for a huge amount of money), helping customers, cleaning, etc.

One of the moms said (about 2 hours into the day), "This is SO overwhelming!". Then, an employee called in sick and they had to stay until 9pm that night. So, one of the moms called her dh and told him he had to pick up the kids for her. Instead, the show BROUGHT the kids to the store (remember, the moms thought it would GREAT to have their kids with them at the store). Well, the little children did what little children do - they whined, they cried, they tore up things. The moms were often caught between trying to help a customer and peeling a whiny toddler off her leg. It was so unprofessional. I wonder if the boutique explained to their customers what was happening? At 9pm, the moms finally went home.

I guess they were sort of mad. They said that were SURE that Dr. Phil had set the day up to be EXTRA hard (like having the employee call in sick). He had the boutiqe owner in the show who said, "Nope, that's a typical day. And, the employee really was sick." She also said, "After you left at 9, I was there three more hours. I came in at 9 the next morning and worked another 12 hours. That's my life!" These moms got a HUGE reality check. I wish I had been recording the show! It was a GREAT business lesson for those people who think that opening a scrapbook store (or any store) is fun and easy and bringing your kids to work every day is a BRILLIANT idea.

Owning a business is HARD WORK! Dr. Phil told these two that if they didn't do all the research they needed to, he predicted with 99% accuracy that they would fail. They sort of "bristled" when he said that and said, "We'll be back on the show in a couple of years as a success story!". Hopefully, they took this as a learning experience and they WILL be successful - but only after they do the dirty work they want to ignore.

Then there was the lady who had 100,000 nail polish holders she spent $250,000 and 6 years making and hadn't sold a single one... YIKES! That one was just plain sad, but, another good business lesson still the same.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

great post!