I did a double-take when I read that a pair of self-made brothers were purchasing Asda.
If you don’t know Asda, it’s a massive British grocery/everything store, kind of the “Wal-Mart of the UK” (in fact, Wal-Mart is exactly who they’re buying it from).
For entrepreneurs who started their own business from scratch, with zero family wealth, and have only been in business about 20 years, this is an INSANE accomplishment.
So of course I had to read more about the Issa brothers and their story.
The short version is, they started by saving up enough money to buy a petrol station in 2001. Fast forward to today, their business owns over 5,000 petrol stations, control of Asda, 110 Starbucks stores, and 125 KFC’s.
It made me reflect on the lesson here for a much smaller business like mine.
So many entrepreneurs have big dreams. We want to turn our smoothie shop into the best known smoothie brand in the world, we want to be the top speaker on our topic commanding $50k for every talk. We want to grow our software business to 100,000 customers.
These are our DREAMS, but are they really what we’re going for?
When I think of the Issa brothers owning that first petrol station, I think about how many other petrol station owners would LOVE to have the same kind of accomplishment. Let’s say it’s owning 1,000 stations all over the country.
Now, in order to own 1,000 petrol stations in let’s say 5 years, what do you need to do?
There’s a pretty clear path forward — first off you’re going to need a LOT of capital, so that means you’re going to spend a lot of time securing funding.
You’re going to need to do bigger deals, acquiring multiple locations at a time. You’re going to need solid systems for management and operations, and great people on your team to be able to run and train this many locations effectively.
And yet the “regular” business owner, dreaming of owning their own petrol empire one day, isn’t doing any of these things. Not a single one. They’re spending their days running their one station.
They might dream of the empire, but they aren’t actually GOING for the empire. You wouldn’t observe them doing any actions that will lead to the empire.
Now, there could also be an entrepreneur doing everything the Issa brothers did but falling short of their incredible outcome. That happens all the time.
BUT, at least that person has a shot. If someone is spending their time raising money, actively looking for deals, and creating scalable systems they have a very good shot at achieving their 1,000-station goal. (Or at least making very strong progress.)
The person doing none of these things has almost no chance.
I think this is a lesson we can all apply to our goals, no matter what the size.
There’s what you say you want.
But what are you actually GOING FOR?