It Takes Extraordinary Patience to Build a Successful Business

Building a Successful Business Takes Extraordinary PatienceThere is a great chance that you have a can of WD-40 under the sink or in the garage. Most people do. In fact, you can find it in the garages of homes in 160 countries. Everybody knows WD-40. What most people don’t know is the origin of the name.

The Rocket Chemical Company was founded in San Diego, California in 1953. It created a product to displace the standing water that caused corrosion in nuclear missiles. The first thirty-nine attempts to perfect the formula failed. Success was achieved on the 40th attempt. WD-40 literally stands for Water Displacement, 40th attempt. In 1969, the company name was changed to simply WD-40.

We have all heard of similar struggles by Walt Disney, Theodore Seuss Geisel and the Coca-Cola Company. If we’ve learned one lesson from these stories, the lesson is, don’t be in a hurry to become a success.

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Ask any veteran Advisor how much patience is needed to build a profitable business.

The path to success is a long one. Being proactive may speed up the process a bit, as opposed to waiting for success to find us. Following the suggestions of our mentors should help us along. But there are no shortcuts to success.

Shortcuts don’t work in the long run. I have seen a few Advisors achieve a lot of success in a short period of time. But in each of those cases, something was wrong and you can guess what that something was.

Success takes extraordinary patience because, to be successful at what you do, you must be great at what you do.

You get great at this business the same way Kobe Bryant got great at basketball. You put in the proverbial 10,000 hours of practice.

How, then, on our way to long-term success, do we combat the inevitable impatience?

One way to combat impatience is to recognize that it comes from within.

It doesn’t come from the people ahead of us in the line at Starbuck’s. Obstacles irritate us. Tasks frustrate us. Things that take too long anger us. Irritability, frustration and anger are all reactions which we can control. Those folks in Starbuck’s really don’t stand between you and your goals. If you have the patience to wait, you will eventually be at the head of the line. If you can’t wait, leave. Feeling hostile won’t make the line move faster.

As well, in order to succeed as an Advisor, you must depend upon others to some degree, staff members and clients being two examples.

You must be patient with those people. You certainly can’t move any faster than your clients are willing to move. Getting angry with them and saying the wrong thing will damage existing relationships, setting you back or ruining you.

It also helps to keep in mind that if we build our business as if we are going to sell it someday, we will build a better business. In order to sell our business, it must be profitable. Achieving profitability takes time. Knowing what works takes time. Culling and rebuilding our client list takes time. Putting down roots in the community takes time. Establishing a reputation certainly takes time. Filtering out unrealistic expectations takes time. Learning how to do everything right takes time. Nobody would argue these points.

Patience may well be fleeting because we live in a world of Twitter, Netflix and

People hurry even though they are not late. We can get most anything we want right now. But success is not for sale. You can’t order it online. Success must be courted. And courtships always take time.

To paraphrase Lao Tzu, you must have the patience to wait until the mud settles and the water is clear.

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  • Bread.

    For me, thats what helps when I get that impatient itch. In 1984 I traveled back to Czechoslovakia to visit my family. In high school I was reading about the 3 to 4 hour waits on the bread lines in Russia and the Soviet rules countries. I could not believe it.

    During my visit I had to see and experience that for myself. Near my grandma’s house there was indeed a bakery and sure enough I saw those lines. Next morning I set out to test them myself.

    30 minutes. 1 hour. 2 hours. 3rd hour and NOT one person was gripping. Everybody waited patiently as this was a way of life.

    After 3 1/2 hours I finally bought my bread. Yes, I was insanely impatient, but did not dare say anything on line, and simply watched the other customers admiring their infinite patience.

    This example has nothing to do with business, or financial services, or the art of patience to succeed in business. This is what I use in my life as a reminder to keep cool and patiently work hard to reach my own goals. Maybe others need to follow Kobe Bryant’s or Mr. Disney’s story.

    Thanks as always for your insights Don and for sharing Kirti.


    Marty Morua

    • Glad to hear from you Marty. Indeed, patience is a virtue (needed in both personal & professional lives) that comes to a person with the wisdom to understand when they should act and when they should wait. Often the initial lessons we learn are from our personal experiences.

      I can totally relate to your bakery shop experience. Thanks for sharing. 🙂


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