A couple of weeks ago, Stephen A. Hart _on the Trailblazers Podcast_ interviewed Clarence Wooten. For those of you who don’t know, Clarence Wooten is the founder & CEO of VentureFund.io and the cofounder & Chairman of Progressly. But, many of you may know him from his 1998 mega internet business hit, ImageCafe.com, which he sold for $23 million less than a year after launching it. To learn more about Mr. Clarence Wooten, visit him at ClarenceWooten.com.
Be sure to check out the interview at http://tbpod.com/clarencewooten/.
Needless to say, Clarence had an exceptional degree of insight; so let’s jump into some of the most profound points he made (at least in my opinion) in that interview.
Profound Point #1: Teach Children The Value of Failing Fast & Failing Cheap
Clarence stated how as African Americans, we often don’t have relatives we can call up to ask to invest in our startups, and so we’re often required to enter into business with the understanding that when we’re doing anything of consequence, we’re pioneering not only from the perspective of doing something that perhaps has never been done before, but also with the understanding that our pioneering efforts will require a sense of ingenuity and innovation that will enable us to do a lot with a little. With this understanding, we must realize and ANTICIPATE a high degree of failure throughout our building/learning process. So, we fail fast, and we fail cheap to move on to the next gradation of growth.
The other side to that Fail Fast/Fail Cheap coin is the requirement that we never allow a lack of resources to restrict the magnitude of our visions. Just think about it, most services and products of consequence were derived from a need and the developer often needed waaaay more resources to manifest that product or service than he/she possessed at inception. So the key is to teach our children to think BIG, without limitations, and then simply figure the rest out later, as they go along. Not only will the end result be a sound lesson on faith, but they’ll also discover the power of their own will; a treasure that, once it’s unlocked, will allow them to connect with the power of God within themselves and learn how to tap into that Power at will.
Profound Point #2: Grow a Grape Into a Watermelon
One of the other poignant points Clarence made was the fact that when building a business, the goal is to turn a grape into a watermelon and ultimately own 20%-30% of the watermelon, versus 100% of the grape. Allow me to explain.
So let’s say the grape is your vision and whatever small measures you’ve managed to pull together towards meeting your objective, but the ultimate goal is to have a fully functional, self-sustaining, profitable business; we’ll call that the watermelon. Since no one person can do it all, and we’ve already established the lack of financial and (probable) human resources, let’s shift our thoughts from doing everything (meagerly) and owning the whole business to attracting and leveraging other people’s resources (financial and human) by dividing ownership and exponentially multiplying the efforts and productivity of one person; thus, more efficiently and quickly growing the business and turning the grape into a watermelon. Now, if you cut 30% of that watermelon, you’ve still got far more fruit than you had when you had 100% of that grape.
Now, how is this important to the process of #RaisingBlackMillionaires? Here it is:
Many of us think individually and fail to ever experience the power of unified efforts, because we are always occupied with activities that maintain the survival of our individual households. We barely ever see the benefits of collective economics within our own community. If we’d collectively reject that mental tendency to think and build as individuals, and for the sake and benefit of one or a few, we’d be able to easily see how to leverage other people’s time, money, and resources and ultimately more easily benefit self AND others. Teaching our children this masterful skill and thought pattern early, will position them for mastery as children; versus allowing them to grow up and have to go through the unlearning process that will cost them the priceless commodity of time and wealth.
Getting a decent grasp on this concept is the basis for graduating to the next step of strategic alliances, which we discussed and demonstrated in last week’s Scandal article. For a great example of how to demonstrate this with your children, check out that article here: http://raisingblackmillionaires.com/the-lesson-olivia-pope-scandal-gave-in-raisingblackmillionaires/.
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