SBM #51- The 1st Million Is The Hardest

The 1st Million, Is The Hardest










As entrepreneurs, we all set goals. It’s a way to measure our progress. The biggest difference I have found between individuals is the size of the goals. Some people are just more ambitious than others. But the size of ones’ ambition is not a precursor to success.

“Without Goals

We Risk Drifting Aimlessly”

Goals are wonderful, they keep us moving forward. Much like a ships compass, goals give us a heading or a direction in which to sail, even when our destination is over the horizon. Goals give us focus, because without them, we risk drifting aimlessly.

One of the most common goals entrepreneurs have, is a million dollars! It could be a million dollars in sales, a million dollars in profit or a million dollars in wealth. Regardless of what anybody says, a million dollars is still a lot of money and damn hard to achieve. and the 1st million is the hardest. The million dollar goal was immortalized by The Barenaked Ladies hit “If I Had A Million Dollars”.

The problem with having such lofty goals is that, although achievable, they’re rarely short term, nor easily attained. When you think about it, if we were to measure our progress on a daily basis, most of us would become disillusioned very quickly. The painfully slow progress would be akin to watching a kettle boil.

Patience and Resilience

Most big goals require the compounding effects of time and effort to achieve. Having a healthy dose of patience and resilience usually doesn’t hurt. A major setback can easily destroy the will to continue our journey, turning a goal into another failed impossibility.

To avoid the goal crushing reality that are part of the entrepreneurial life, I use a simple formula or process to break down my loftier goals into a series of smaller more manageable objectives. Simply put, if the 1st million dollars is the hardest, it also stands to reason that the $10,000 is the hardest. Yet $10,000 feels much more achievable in the short term.

Intermediary Goals

Once we get to that 1st $10,000 under our belt, we can set our sights on the $20,000 mark, then $30,000 and so on, relishing in our achievements along the way. Before we know it, we’re hitting our 1st $100,000 and have settled in and marking off the mileposts of our smaller, yet more manageable, intermediary goals.

Whenever, I’m faced with a large seemingly insurmountable goal, I always try to remind myself of the adage on how to eat an elephant and that’s one bite at a time.

Celebrate Our Successes

I know this sounds simple and that’s because it is. By setting smaller more realistic short term goals it gives us the opportunity to celebrate our successes along the way. More importantly though, these shorter goals allow us to refine our methods so we can achieve the next one much faster than the previous one.

Setting smaller more numerous goals will give you a sense of progress. Success can then be measured in months versus years, if not decades. Because the 1st million is the hardest.

An interesting read Pre-Suasion by Robert Cialdini

Copyright © Greg Weatherdon 2017

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Small Business Minute #50- Confidence


When we first hang out our Small Business shingle, we outwardly exude confidence in our idea and our abilities that we will succeed. But if truth be told, we have absolutely no idea how the story will end. Will it be a fairy tale or a horror story?

Mouse in a maze

Throughout the planning stages, we have spent hours upon hours dreaming of the future we will create. We hope that this future will take us on an amazing and positive journey. Realistically though, this journey will not be in a straight line from A to B. It will not be simply a matter of putting one foot in front of another. Often, the entrepreneurial journey is more akin to mouse in a maze where it keeps running into dead ends in search of that elusive piece of cheese.

Of the many challenges we face is that success and failure can exist in the same day and frequently collide creating an emotional roller coaster. But true believers have the confidence that no matter what obstacles come their way, they’ll have the wherewithal either go through it, around it or over it to be successful.


This confidence is not based on wishful thinking but is a feeling that resides deep within them. It’s a belief in themselves. A self-assurance, if you will, that lets them focus on the end goal that allows them to continuously move forward even if they don’t have all the answers. They know they’ll eventually figure it out.

Having that inner confidence is what sets the successful entrepreneur apart from the rest of the pack.

Recent book read Deep Work by Cal Newport

Copyright © Greg Weatherdon 2017

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Small Business Minute #49- Clustering For Profits

Clustering For ProfitProfit, that elusive goal that frustrates many a business owners. To be sure, many businesses are just bad ideas that never should have been started in the first place. However, there are plenty of others that are well run with decent revenues but for some reason they aren’t as profitable as they should be.

When helping business owners, one of the first places I look is their pricing model. Other than suggesting some adjustments, their pricing doesn’t appear to be the issue. Take a minute and checkout episode #47 Pricing For Profit for more insight into pricing.

A little probing into customers and marketing initiatives often uncovers a flaw in their sales and marketing activities – namely geography! The problem is rooted in the fact that these businesses are casting their nets too wide. As a result, they fail to generate critical mass for their services in a single geographic area. This is where the concept of clustering can help increase awareness for certain businesses and profits for most.

What is Clustering?

Clustering, is nothing more than grouping your service deliverables or offerings around key geographic areas. Clustering can be applied to many types of businesses and services.

Most major sales organizations have been using clustering for decades. Sales forces use clustering as a way of making the maximum sales calls with minimal travel time between each location. Most delivery companies do the same to generate the necessary efficiencies needed to stay competitive.

Although you would think the concept of clustering is common sense, it has been my experience that it’s not.

To better illustrate, the following are a couple of examples:

Clustering for Service Businesses

Consider the example of a service company. This could be anything from a landscaping business, to equipment repair or a roofing company. It’s not uncommon for many of these companies to be running all over the city, performing their services throughout the day.

For many this comes about because of their marketing and promotion activities. Countless businesses owners wrongly assume that they need to advertise to the widest possible group of customers in the largest geographic area. Often, they have been convinced that, for just a few dollars more, they can blanket the whole city or region instead of focusing on a tighter geographic area.

Appealing as that sounds, this shotgun approach can lead to huge inefficiencies as they now run around the city burning fuel and man hours going between jobs. When you consider that many service company use lawn signs to promote their companies, having many signs in a tight geographic area drives higher customer awareness of your company. As an added bonus, this may help your business development initiatives because people are familiar with your company name.

Granted, every city and business is different and focusing on just one area may not be feasible. However, clustering can still be effective in these situations by limiting your service to certain areas on specific days of the week. For instance, we work in the East end on Monday, South end on Tuesday and so on.
Clustering in this case, ultimately allows you to service more customers during a single day with a greater number of billable hours at reduced costs.

Clustering for Retail Businesses

Retail businesses can also benefit from clustering and save significant money in their advertising and promotions costs. The first thing you need to do is to understand where most of your customers are coming from. By simply collecting their postal or zip code, you’ll quickly see a pattern emerge from key geographic areas. One thing that may surprise you is that most of your customers aren’t coming from as far as you think.

A survey by Brightlocal found that the average time that people will spend in a car to travel to a business, ranges from 12-23 minutes. They have a wonderful infographic that depicts various types of businesses and the time people are willing to travel to them.

Graphic courtesy  of

Driving Times to Local Businesses Infographic

In todays highly competitive environment, finding efficiencies in every part of your business is mandatory and can’t be left to chance.

So, if you want to increase your profits and the effectiveness of your promotions, you should consider the concept of clustering.

I’m Greg Weatherdon and this has been your Small Business Minute.

Copyright © Greg Weatherdon 2017

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