Learning from Failure: Lesson Three.

Ok. I closed the restaurant– well, it’s more like I am in the seemingly eternal process of closing the restaurant. I can tell you one lesson: It’s a lot easier to start something than it is to stop it. Buying a point of sale system takes a morning. Selling one takes weeks. Buying inventory is a quick and steady process involving a few minutes a day. Disposing of inventory takes forever. The same with everything, from leases, to advertising, to accounting, to tax returns. So what’s the lesson?

Take the time to plan your business. It is much easier than having to change directions after beginning in the wrong direction. The same is true in the real estate business. I’ve seen agents waste a year or two in a company they would never have chosen had they taken the time to look at different options and their own business plan. I’ve seen agents waste months and thousands on the latest advertising idea, simply because they saw an idea at a conference or seminar. Advertising (your single biggest expense in real estate) should be carefully thought out and planned. It is much easier to plan well going in than spending the remainder of a contract and a lot of hassle trying to extricate yourself from a bad marketing plan.

Planning is crucial to your success, regardless of the business you are in — whether restaurant or real estate. See my article on planning. And sometimes, even the best plans don’t work because circumstances change, as in my closing the restaurant. Don’t be discouraged if that happens. Hey, it’s only money, right?! If you know how to make money, you can always make more.

In the next installment, I’ll discuss the decision making process I went through in deciding to close The Vineyard. Maybe as we explore it together, we’ll take something away that we can use the next time we are in a similar situation. Please feel free to write and submit comments and questions. I’d love your input. Until next time–

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