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Thursday, December 22, 2011

Buy a Ticket

This is not an article about funding your startup using such risky capital as a lottery ticket.  However, there are lessons one can learn about winning the lottery.  The lottery is nothing more than legal state sponsored gambling.  Many of the states have them and the people that buy the tickets want their chance to strike it rich.  Well most entrepreneurs want the same thing with their startup.

There are schemes that suggest how to buy tickets and most of them are nonsense.  A few people however, have managed to use science and statistics to determine ways to increase their chances of winning.  They determine in advance how many numbers they must purchase in order to increase their odds of winning.  Then they organize teams to purchase the required number of tickets.  You may have seen the news reports on these schemes because the group wins. Well in your startup, you organize the team and focus them on the projects and timings needed to win.  If you are good, you also work to have the odds of success in your favor.

Like the lottery, your startup is risky and you may not make any money.  You may also lose your total investment.  The odds of your having a big hit are not in your favor, but you can increase your chances by planning.  That is one of the most important parts of organizing your startup; i.e. putting the odds of success in your favor.

To this point the message is:

1.     Entrepreneurs want to make it big

2.     They need to organize the business & team carefully

3.     The can increase the odds by good planning

4.     They can lose their investment. Startups are not risk free!

There is a final point. The following story will help describe it:

“An old man was down on his luck and really needed help.  For 10 years, he made the same prayer each day: 

I need help.  I am down on my luck and nearly broke.  I cannot support my family.  My home is going into foreclosure.  The family needs food.  My children need money for school.  I feel like such a bad father.  PLEASE LET ME WIN THE LOTTERY.

Finally, in desperation he said the same prayer for one last time.  He was ready to give up. He was certain his prayer was not being heard.  So he ADDED:

I have asked for these things each day for 10 years.  I do not know what else to do.  I thought you would grant my prayer requests.  What am I doing wrong?

It was at this point that a voice answered “YOU HAVE TO BUY A TICKET

Maybe you can guess what the last key point is.  There may be risk and a need for planning, but if you do not start the company, you have lowered your odds to ZERO.  You may not lose, but neither can you WIN. 

So if you are an entrepreneur, BUY A TICKET = START A COMPANY.  Plan well and increase your chances for winning.   

Taffy Williams is the author of:  Think Agile:  How Smart Entrepreneurs Adapt in Order to Succeed to via Amazon