This is a post I have wanted to do for a couple days, but I just didn’t get around to it. I blame the allure of evil, AKA classic World of Warcraft of which I still am binge drinking. (Level 17 Whats up.)
The other day I took my car over to my buddy’s shop to get a mudflap fixed. One had come off due to the snowy weather and it needed to be re-bolted. Problem was I had lost one of the clamps that hooked it together and I didn’t want to wait around re-ordering one tiny part so I figured I’d see if my friend could come up with a crafty solution to my little problem.
I took the car over and he checked out the flap and said that it would be no big deal and that he already had an idea of how to rig it. However, soon we weren’t talking about my car but rather his business. I could tell he wanted to talk about it and it was interesting so I listened. He gave me his whole backstory about how his friend and himself had started renting the garage they worked out from his Dad as his father had relocated to a larger garage for his work but he still the lease on the current building. He offered to sublease it to his son and his friend with the idea that they could work on their cars there.
At first it was just the two of them working on their own project cars, but soon friends started having them work on theirs. Then the word had spread and people in the local car scene were going to them for help. And then before they knew it there was me. A total random as their customer.
From the outside this sounds great. These guys start a little shop and it blossoms and now they have a business. The problem though is just that. To one of them it is a business, to the other who knows, and only he knows what he thinks it is. But now this is a problem because the two are at a crossroad. The one that I talked to wants to expand the business and he wants to bring in more customers. In fact that is what he does. He hustles every day while he works his main job and advertises for their shop. The other guy doesn’t do the same, and yet the two guys split the profits. So now they are at a crossroads because one is an entrepreneur and the other is not. It’s not about being an owner of a business or having a business card or a fancy desk. Entrepreneurship is about risking your time/capital/self on an idea that could yield financial returns. An entrepreneur is always looking to improve his business and find ways to make more money. This is what my friend does and I really hope he succeeds.
The tough challenge for him though is that his co-owner does not have the same fire as him. And he is one of his close friends to boot. This is not to say that he has character issues or that he does not know anything about cars, rather this is totally to the contrary; he is a good mechanic and a solid guy. The problem though is that that is not enough to being a successful entrepreneur. He needs to have the same fire that my friend has if they are going to be able to succeed their shop. Without that it is going to be at the very least a rocky road.
Friendship and business can be hard things to mix as the two subjects differ greatly. A great friend may be a terrible business partner and likewise a great business partner may be a terrible friend. Regardless I hope that my friend figures his dilemma out and that the shop succeeds. The two of them do great work and I love bringing my car there. Either they can work it out among themselves and come to a solution or maybe they will have to go their separate ways. We shall see how it goes and I wish them the best.
Hanging out with my friend that night was special though. It was a real life example of someone, a real person, struggling through the trials that entrepreneurs often have to take. Being successful is hard and at times it even comprises friendships. It is a serious venture and it takes dedication. It’s not about the look, the desk, the title, the business card, but rather it is about the risk and mentality to evolve your project and make it succeed in whatever field that may be, whether it is an iphone-app startup or a local car shop. If you are an entrepreneur or if you want to be one, remember it is about caring about your idea and making it actually work: not about looking the part.
Best of luck,