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Ben LaMoure

Three ingredients for Success

~ Three ingredients that your going to need in order to succeed ~

Do the Work ~ Have the right mind set ~ Watch your money


1. Do the Work ----- 2. have the right mind set.

Do the work and having the right mind-set [ attitude ] are interconnected and so I'll be talking about them both here.

Coaching someone on how to be successful in the Kettle Corn business, or any business for that matter, is not so much a matter of telling them every detail of what to do, holding their hand every step of the way, because all of those needed skills will come naturally over time. The most important things that I can emphasize for your success is the following 3 principles: Do the work, Have the right mind set, and watch your money; apply all three and make them a part of the way you approach everything and all the details and specific business decisions and actions will come to you naturally. You'll become an effective, successful, and natural business man or woman... I guarantee it!

To illustrate the first two principles, I'd like to start off and tell you a story about an old roommate of mine who's name I wont disclose. So let's call him... Carney. I'll call this the "Carney principle", after my old buddy and roommate. Carney is an old Irish boy's name and the origin meaning is "The Winner".

At fist glance Carney appeared to be a complete looser. He had a history with drugs in the past and was missing a few marbles, so to speak. He was off the drugs, but as a result he was slow mentally. He was kind of funny looking, wasn't very popular, and people used to make fun of him all the time. He moved out to California to take a sales job knocking on doors selling roofing repair and replacement. [ I mean who does that, right? move to another state to take a job like that? ] Well, Carney had invested everything into this little venture of his and rented the basement room that nobody else wanted. We called it the dungeon room.

He really tried hard but was getting discouraged because it had been a few weeks and he wasn't making any sales. If he didn't make a sale soon, he was going to have to hitch a ride back home with nothing but his electric guitar and the shirt on his back. Naturally, he was very discouraged and felt like giving up. So one afternoon I sat him down and explained in detail the following work and mind set principle.

I said.. "Carney, do your realize that even though you didn't make any sales today that you still made money?" He responded, "How do you figure that?" So I went on for the next hour or so explaining this principle to him. I gave him several examples from my own personal experiences with door to door sales and other ventures. [ not that Kettle Corn is door to door sales, although it could be if you wanted it to be, but the principle is the same ].

I'll share with you one of those examples... I once sold a household item that cost around 600.00 to 1,200.00 dollars to install in a home. The first year I hardly made any sales at all, but I kept at it anyway. Most people quit within the first week, some even quit the very first day! During that first year of knocking on doors, making phone calls and everything else I could think of, I built up a huge lead base.

The following year I did much better and sold over 50 homes and made about 50,000 dollars. Well... here is how it works. The principle is also discovered through a mathematical calculation... That first year I actually made 25,000 dollars and didn't even realize it, if you split the 50,000 dollars for both years. Not bad for a start up business, right? So in reality I was getting paid for my work, but the big check wasn't coming until the following year. I either knocked on doors or called people on the phone and talked to about 100 people every week; that amounted to a part time job actually, it took about 2 hours a day. That comes to about 4,800 people that I talked to every year, face to face or over the phone; divide 25,000 dollars by 4,800 People and it comes to about $5.00 for every person that I spoke with, whether they bought or not. That's the principle I'm talking about here, and you need to keep it in your head in whatever you do. You'll start to see things differently, failures are actually part of your success. So, back to the mathematical calculation... Thats pretty good, go knock on doors and get paid 5.00 dollars for every person you talk to, who wouldn't take a job like that, right? So even when someone slammed a door in my face, or was rude, or even politely turned me down, I still got paid 5.00 just for talking with them. As each year passed my sales went up & so did the dollar figure for every person that I spoke with.

So, back to Carney... I've told people about this concept before and it usually doesn't sink in, I mean they might understand what I'm saying but it doesn't really get them down deep to where they really get the picture and get super excited about it. But, for some reason Carney really took to it, and got it! Next thing I know he's banging doors left and right. He'd work from the morning until it got dark and then follow-up call people on the phone in the evening as late as he could... he just kept going like a downhill freight train. I remember once he got very angry because he got a flat tire, he was terribly upset that he lost 2 hours of knocking doors.. Seriously, this guy got the fever! Two years or so later he moved back home. Do you know how much money he had in his pocket when he made his triumphant return? About 250-Grand baby! Now that's what I'm talking about... How you like me now.... right? Now I'm not saying the kettle corn business is not going to produce a profit or make you any money for the first year, that's NOT what I'm saying. What I'm trying to get across is that No Business is a picnic in the park and always has it's ups and downs, always! But if you keep this principle in mind when you hit those not so good days, it will keep you motivated and keep you going, just like it did with Carney.

So remember, you got to do the work. Don't worry about whether the money is going to come in, because it will! But along with doing the work, and having the right mind set, you got to watch your money and spend it in the right way or else you can work all you want but your profits are not going to be as high as they should be.

So before I get into #3 Watch your money, let me draw a conclusion as to how to apply No. 1 & 2 to the kettle corn business.

So your popping kettle corn, and your first gig is at a lazy truck stop. Your there all day and sell 5 bags of kettle corn. Wow, thats discouraging right? [ Probably should have picked a better place than a truck stop. Try to pick a place where kids and families go and you'll do much better. ] But, hey... remember the Carney principle... 100 people walked by your booth that day and do you realize that you still made money? Do the Carney math... Later that year you'll do a show that pays 5,000 dollars, or even 20,000 dollars. Calculate how many people walked past your booth [ not that you need to count unless you want to ] during the past number of shows, the good and the bad, and you'll find that for every person that walked past your booth your making pretty good money, when you average it out. So when someone walks past your booth and they don't buy, you just remember good old Carney... you just made a dollar from that person and they don't even know it. Isn't this fun! You start to realize that your making money even on those not so good days as long as you keep doing the work and have the right mind set. And be sure to remember good ol' Carney, the weird guy that everybody made fun of that made himself a rich man because he was willing to do the work and had the right mind-set. Anytime Carney knocked on a door, he knew he was making money from each and every person whether they bought or not. So along with doing the work remember to have the right mind set and remember that even on bad days, your still making money, your failures are part of your success.

So lets move on to number 3, Watch your money.

3. Watch your Money

I could talk for hours on this one. This is so so very important, it is just as important as doing the work and having the right mind-set. All three of them must be equally applied or its going to be difficult to succeed in any business venture.

There are many things that you can spend money on when it comes to business and your personal life, there is almost an endless list. So it's important that you spend wisely and I've found that the best way to do that is to avoid making impulsive purchases and be especially cautious when signing a contract of any kind.

To start with, let me tell you another story from my own personal experience. You remember that household item that I sold where I didn't sell anything hardly the first year? Well, I used to go to these sales meetings, right...you know, some of you have been to similar meetings I'm sure. At these meetings there are always the big dogs, the top salesmen/saleswomen that show up and walk around like they own the place. So there I was, an apparent failure, I mean I am going to meeting after meeting with hardly any sales I could hang on my belt. The big dogs would talk and brag a little, like they were your "mentor" or something like that, and if they took a liking to you they just "might" mentor you. Well, come to find out that many of these so called "big-dogs" were making their sales because they were throwing down 10,000.00 dollars in radio ads and other advertising every month or so. So they make 80,000 dollars a year in sales, but spent about 50,000 a year in advertising, how they figure their making money? Plus, the effectiveness of their advertising went down when others tried to follow their lead and oversaturated the market place with multiple ads from competitive salesmen. I mean , I'm not knocking it, I'm just saying that it doesn't always work out, some people lost money... you catch my drift? My experience has been that if you do the work the old fashioned way, and there is nothing more old-fashioned than Kettle Corn, you'll expand your business the smart way. The old fashioned way is to put your face out in the public, its the one on one encounter that means the most. As for me, it didn't cost me anything for advertising, maybe a new pair of shoes once in a while and a monthly phone bill, so my profit margin was very high. Be patient and build your business with the long haul mind. Patience is something you'll need when building any business. King Louis the XIV of France had a Motto... "Impatience for Victory guarantees defeat". Now I'm not saying that advertising doesn't work, or that paying a lot of money for a booth space doesn't work, it can and does, but I want to give you a rule of thumb that if you apply it will protect you from making a fatal mistake, or bad investment. And I don't want you to fail, I want you to succeed.

When I was very young, and just starting in the business world, I paid a thousand dollars to place an ad on grocery carts. Have you noticed that you don't see those anymore? There is a reason why. So, guess how many calls I got for my thousand dollar ad? You got it... Zippo! Nada! Not one call!

I've learned some lessons over the years, yes indeed. I think the temptation to spend money foolishly on things like advertising gimmicks is that sometimes we hope that it will provide a quick solution. My experience has been that that is rarely the case. It always takes time and effort. But remember... I promise you that if you apply the 3 principles I'm talking about here, you will succeed! You can't fail. And, when the time is right, and the risk is low, and you have some experience under your belt... The advertising, the big shows, etc.. can and will pay off when your ready to take them on and your making an educated decision.

Here's the the rule of thumb that I always use when making a decision of whether to make a purchase or invest in my business, and that is to ask myself this question... "Will this investment or purchase place a heavy burden on me or even devastate me financially if it does not produce the returns that I hope it will when I expect them? If the answer is yes... I don't do it, period! It's not worth the risk. If you want to take a risk and gamble that's what they have the lotto and casinos for. Whenever I invest or make a purchase for my business, I know my limits, and it's never an amount that if it doesn't pay off as I would like it to it will really hurt me. This way, you will survive and stay afloat during the storm. Remember the movie Forrest Gump? He became a multi-millionare because his little shrimp boat survived the storm and as a result was ready to rake in the rewards when business got really good. If you don't spend your money wisely, you'll be like all the other shrimp boats that were docked on the day of the big storm and didn't survive.

So I developed this rule of thumb, so to speak, that I use before I a make any financial transaction whether personal or business.

When making an investment or a purchase to promote your business, remember that it's always possible that your investment may not produce the returns in the time frame that you need it -- and here is the important part -- and "if" this financial set-back will either devastate you or make things in your life difficult, don't do it. Yes, it "might" pay off right away, but what if it doesn't pay off on that first "Big" show you do? will it financially devastate you? You'll loose your house, your car, etc. ask yourself... are the risks worth the potential reward? So the basic rule is never invest or spend unless you can financially survive if it doesn't pay out like you expect right away. A simple rule, but if you apply this "watch your money" principle in everything you do, you'll avoid making bad or even fatal decisions that can put you out of business.

So if your considering popping kettle corn at a convention or a show, and lets say that you calculate that with booth rental fees, ingredients, and other supplies, your estimating that it will cost you about 4,700 dollars to do it... ask yourself "Will this make things very difficult for me if I only break even or show a small profit?" Will it cause me to miss a mortgage payment or something major like that?.. If so, I wouldn't risk it, There is a better way. Don't be like the fools at my old sales meetings who spent tens of thousands of dollars on radio ads just so they could get praised at sales meetings and end up making less money than I was, who was spending nothing on advertising. I'm not saying don't ever take a risk, thats not what I'm saying. Remember the principle is that if you do take a risk, make sure it is a risk that you can afford. Start small and build slow but steady, this is a much better way than making a big commitment without having the experience or the financial ability to survive if it doesn't pay off like you hoped it would. Take the the high road my friends, invest wisely, grow steadily and remember the Carney principle.

Contracts [ and my three day review rule ]

An important thing to know especially when it comes to singing contracts, whether for personal purchases or events for your kettle corn business is to be sure that your good for your money, and that you can definitely follow through with the commitment. If you ever make a deal with a show promoter and don't follow through they'll never give you another chance. Your chances of getting a booth in the future with that promoter is not going to ever happen if you do that.

So here is a rule that I apply before signing a contract or obligating myself to any purchase. This rule, will help keep you out of trouble and from making bad purchasing decisions or commitments that you can't follow through with, or will be difficult to. I call it the 3 day review rule. [ This is also an excellent way to handle what I call "Crafty Salesmen", It dumbfounds them and leaves them speechless because they've never heard it before ]

It's pretty simple, it doesn't matter if you call them, they call you, or viz-verza... when your confronted with a choice to make a major purchase or sign a contract, whether personal or business, don't ever make a final decision until you've taken three days to review it [ consider it, read the contract etc ]. If you decide to do it after the three days to review you call them back and make the deal, or go back to that car dealership and tell them your ready to go through with it. While your speaking with a sales person on the phone or in person, no matter what they say, or how good the offer is [ even when they give you "half off" if you "commit now" ] Make it a policy of your business and your houshold that before closing any deal or singing any contract you always take a thee day review period. If after your three day review you decide to go through with the deal then do so. And, don't ever fall for the "sign now and you can cancel within so many days" thing; just remember to tell them that its a rule, a policy of yours or your business to take a 3 day review period before you commit to any purchase or contract no matter how good it sounds or what price they give you. Applying this rule in my business and personal life has saved me many a time; and, like I said...It's a great way to ward off pushy sales-people.

Now that you understand this simple rule.... what are your going to say when a salesperson calls you today and makes you an offer that appeals to you and sounds really really good?.... Right, your going to ask him for his contact information and tell them that your going to take your three day review period, and that you'll call them back when and if your ready to do the deal. Don't ever do a deal on the spot, in the moment, always always take a three day review period. I had a sales lady call me the other day trying to sell me a 300.00 dollar ad on a local high-school event flyer. At first I told her no...Then she offered"half off" if I commit now. Well that sounded pretty good and I thought maybe it would be a good idea for me to help out a little and support my local high-school. So she asked me if I would agree to this now to get half off... Well, I was pretty tempted to just go ahead and agree, but rules are rules and I have a company rule that before agreeing to anything I take a three day review. So I told her about my rule and that if I decide to do it I'll call her in three days. She told me that in three days the spots will be filled up and thats why it has to be now. So basically I said to myself... "rules are rules", so at this point I'm done, and not going to do it, and I told her so. A few days later I did some research and found that this company is not affiliated with my local high-school and they just try to give people the impression that they are in order to get sales. Plus, the kettle corn business is not always something that you need to advertise [ unless you have a permanent location ], so even though it was only 150.00 it still isn't what I would call a wise investment into my business, so why should I throw 150.00 away? And, by applying my rule, it saved me 150.00... That translates into earing 150.00 dollars, see how that works?

By following this principle you'll save yourself from making some bad decisions and commitments that you cant keep in addition to having more money in your pocket for better and wiser investments in the future. Remember there are only two ways to earn money, one is to earn it and the other way is to be wise how you spend it.

Kettle Corn Equipment

There are lots of things we can spend money on, most of which disapears into the wind never to be seen again. I've always been a big believer in investing my money in tools. I have lots of them. They NEVER loose their value and if you take care of them they will last much longer than any of us will. Investing in good tools is as good or better than money in the bank as far as I'm concerned, and I never sell them. And, that is exaclty what Kettle Corn Equipment is, a tool for your business that will never loose it's value and will always be there to make you money anytime you need it.

Talk to lots of people every day

I like to keep things simple. "Talk to lots of people every day" is a phrase coined by my all time favorite success coach Jim Rohn. This phrase is very much a part of my first ingredient for success "Do the Work", and it is really all you ever need to become successful in business and in life. Having the right mind set [ Attitude ] and watching your money are mediums that just keep us humans doing the work that we need to do in order to obtain the things we need.

Below is link to a speech given by Jim Rohn back in the early 1980's when I first discovered him. It's really all about doing the work. As they say.... "Work solves all problems", it really does.

Audio of one of Jim Rohn's timeless speeches

Well that about sums it up for now. Thanks for taking the time to read this, I hope that you've enjoyed it as much as I have enjoyed sharing with you.


Benjamin E. LaMoure

Entrepreneuring since 1982

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