Entrepreneurs should read Phil Knight’s Memoir

“I wanted to leave a mark on the world.”

– Phil Knight.

nike

I’m sure you did Mr. Knight, there’s a giant tick, a swoosh… everywhere.

I’ve always wanted to know how Nike came about – the story, the man who made it what it was today. It’s hard to find stuff about Nike and Knight, but I’m glad he wrote this book. Knight has always been trying to fly under the radar, and it shows in his last chapter when he bumps into Gates and Buffet. Everyone recognizes them, but not many will recognize Knight. A man worth $10 billion and climbing. A man sport idols recognize and look up to, Jordan, Kobe, Lebron and Tiger to name a few.

“Like it or not, life is a game. Whoever denies that truth, whoever simply refuses to play, gets left on the sideline, and I didn’t want that.”

– Phil Knight

Knight details his journey about his ‘Crazy Idea’ – Nike. It’s a pretty brutal (but fun) journey, and as he said – he would be happy to do it again. The journey involves many things, such as banks basically kicking him out, the Japanese suppliers denying him exclusivity in distributing the shoes, the government demanding a huge lump sum of $25 million which would bankrupt the company and even a personal flare of heartache and friendships. It’s a great reflection on how hard it can be to make a successful company.

So how did a man from humble Oregon make a multi-billion dollar company? A company who’s brand, its name alone – worth billions? Some think he is lucky, and you know what? Knight agrees.

“Hard work is critical, a good team is essential, brains and determination are invaluable, but luck may determine the outcome.”

– Phil Knight

But I have always believed luck comes to those who do work hard. Knight worked really hard. Seriously. I probably would of broken down at some points in Knight’s story. Lawsuits from companies, FBI threats from the banks, people’s lack of belief in his dream goal – it’s endless, but all in detail in the book. It’s a journey worth a read, especially those wanting to make their own mark in the world.

Lessons Learned:

  • No journey is easy. Especially if your goals are huge – as they should be. Bigger goals, a longer journey, but what a journey that will be.
  • If you believe in something – pursue it.
  • Nike was a team effort, Johnson, Bowerman, just to name a few were crucial to Nike’s success.
  • Set ridiculous targets – isn’t it funny how people will hit those targets (When Knight told Johnson to sell 3250 shoes – which was almost impossible – I add almost after because it was deemed Impossible by Knight before Johnson made it happen!).
  • There is nothing wrong with ambition (Words from Ito, the Japanese company bankrolling Nike at the time to Knight).
Phil Knight's Memoir

Phil Knight’s Memoir

Give this book a read.

The Millionaire Next Door, is not really a Millionaire

This book was a tough one to finish. Super fine detail towards the end.  Most of it reiterating the same point.

If I could summarize it all for you:

Frugality = Millionaire.

It reminds me of the times I walk around and see a Lamborghini or a Ferrari.  You see these guys in nice cars, and you say to yourself – ah, I wouldn’t mind that car. Or you think – wow, that’s impressive. Firstly, there’s nothing wrong with admiring a nice car. I know many financially successful people who spend hundreds of thousands on their cars. What the Millionaire Next Door is trying to say is that a significant amount of people are putting up a lie – they can’t afford to live a high consumption life. So even though there are people who are successful, and are able to afford luxurious things, there are also many who simply do so to look rich.

car

The Millionaire Next Door?

The best example is simply comparing a guy who looks like a millionaire. We think of a giant house, great suburb, nice suit and exotic car. The reality is that a majority of millionaires don’t look like this. Take a look at Brin and Page (billionaire founders of Google). they drive a Toyota Prius! You don’t need to look rich to be rich. 

That’s not to say you can’t have nice things! What I took away from the book was that you should always be frugal when you can be, especially at the start. You can’t just make millions without saving. So where you can be, be frugal. Use your money wisely. Where you can, live below your means.

Keeping up the image.

Keeping up the image.

Is it easy? No way. I know that when I see something nice, and I have a bit of money saved up, I take a while to fight the urge. It’s hard. I also think its much harder for those living in very nice suburbs. The Millionaire Next Door shows that because you live in these nice suburbs, you feel pressured to keep up the ‘image’ of the area. Your neighbor has a nice car and is always nicely dressed – so why aren’t you? If you can afford to keep it up, why not – but if you can’t, don’t. Don’t waste your energy. Every dollar does matter. Use that money to build wealth. Sure, spoil yourself a little (these feel even better the longer you hold it off – you learn to appreciate it even more), but when you can, why don’t you save? Any accumulated wealth will position you in future for great ventures – I’m sure of it. 

 

My game plan or quick tips?

  • Eat at home when you can – when you see friends, host a small dinner at yours. Its more intimate as well!
  • No drinking – minimize the alcohol whenever you can (In Australia this is really marked up!)
  • Use the gym in my condo or my home gym as opposed to memberships. There’s also many videos on Youtube for body-weight exercises.
  • Work more, even on side projects.
  • Plan ahead, budget and all.

What’s yours?

Owning Your Own Dental Practice: Business Advice pt 1

Considering owning your own dental practice? I’ve been asked about running a dental surgery and any advice I could give about the topic. Here’s some of my tips and a few problems I have faced. (For some of the tips I’ve marked where I think it might only apply to Australia.) I also believe some of these things are related generally to all businesses as well, so those have been marked too 🙂

your own dental practice

Buy your own dental practice or start a new dental surgery?  (Business)

Being your own boss does have it’s perks. With dentistry, you get a fair balance of autonomy and ability to schedule things around your own personal schedule. In saying that however, you do have a lot more responsibilities. The buck will always end with you. The greatest perk is the responsibility itself, but that could be stressful for some people so always think about it carefully. Financially – you will be the one investing most into the business, and setting up a dental surgery is very expensive in Australia (plumbing, chairs, equipment – all of these are very expensive.) Practically, I have found buying over an existing dental practice a better pathway. Everything is setup for you and most importantly, the goodwill (clients) are already there. This leads me to my favorite advice, if you do buy over a dental practice, always retain the previous dentists. Patients are loyal to their dentists. Regardless of all the legality involved, it is generally better to retain the dentist at the surgery you take over. The patients appreciate it, they can occasionally see you and transition over time. Honestly, if you are in a good position to, I would simply retain all of them till the other dentists wants to retire. Goodwill is only good if the clients stay (and generally that’s what you pay for.)

Bend over backwards for all your clients.  (Business)

There will be a time when you have to go to work for only a few clients. Do not reschedule these clients ever. I have seen dentists simply ‘move’ the clients to a more fuller day and just skip going into the surgery. Going in regardless means a lot for your staff as well as your patients. You are in a health industry after all and seeing them on the day they expect is better than ‘delaying’ them (especially if they are in pain and stressed!). Your staff will see your dedication to the business, your clients will appreciate it, and you can see what else you need to do there even on quiet days. These are the small things and those clients matter Every single one. Always look after your patients. They will appreciate you for it, and in the long run, they will look after you.  

Do you actually get to holiday?  (Business)

holiday

Beautiful holidays? Only sometimes. Work takes priority especially when building the practice.

If you run the surgery alone – it’s harder to get away. Although dentistry has some autonomy, every day you aren’t there is a day you could be seeing clients. You are still paying staff, and all other overheads (costs to keep the place running even when YOU aren’t working). In saying that however, you can always close the surgery for a few days in advance and book around those times. You definitely need a break, dentistry can be very stressful and doing it every day might drive you a bit insane 😛

Whats the the costs in running a surgery? (Business / Australia)

Everything in the dental world is marked high. In order from most expensive to least:

  • Initially all up front costs such as equipment, loans, building premise (the dental chairs, plumbing are costly stuff.)
  • Staff – wages & superannuation do add up
  • Materials – keeping your stock up to date and always having enough materials
  • Laboratory fees
  • Electricity, Water & Gas.

My students have told me to keep this series going and I do intend to. I hope this helps and if you have any questions feel free to shoot them to me on Twitter or Facebook 🙂

 

 

 

 

Revisiting Stephen Covey Time Management Grid

I was in the car with a friend the other day, and we started talking about time organization. He mentioned about doing more things that are important for the future but seem less urgent.  I had read this somewhere and when I went home, I looked through my notes and found Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly effective people. I popped on the audio book version (which is great!) and reminded myself about time management. I honestly loved this part of the book most of all.

Most important lesson? Concentrate on things that are important but not urgent. 

covey time management grid

Stephen Covey Time Management Grid

Time is the most important thing in your life.

With more time, you can make more money. With more time, you could read and continually improve yourself. With more time, you can share it forever with friends and family.  Time is finite, so make the most of it. Don’t waste a single bit. Manage it well and make a dent. To help understand this matrix, I’ll go through some of the main points:

Urgent – Important (MANAGE):

  • These things are your crisis. You got to do them, and having a lot of them is not a good sign.
  • Your family’s in the hospital? urgent. Deadlines that have to be met? urgent. You HAVE do these things. They are both important and have a time constraint on them.
  • You inevitably have these, the less the better.

Urgent – NOT Important (AVOID):

  • Covey goes through the three Ps.
  • Proximate: When the phone rings, it’s right in front of you. It now appears urgent since it’s within your proximity. Hence, you feel like picking it up. However, if it’s not an important call (from work, a family member, or someone you care about) and you are doing something that is important to you – it can wait.
  • Pressing: Other people are expecting something from you. THEIR needs and problems are being transferred to you. Ignore these as much as you can. Why waste your time with OTHER people’s problems when you have to concentrate on your own?
  • Popular: Shallow relationships, or certain meetings to go to because you ‘have’ to but don’t NEED to. I’ve noticed that as I spend more time with people I care about, the less time I’m spending with others that are using me for their own need. Shallow relationships are hard to notice at first, but as you start to become clear in your mission and where you want to head, you will start to realize who you should be hanging around.

Not Urgent – Important (FOCUS):

  • You will focus on these parts in your life as much as you can.
  • Planning: Don’t plan day by day, that ends up becoming a list of URGENT things, instead, plan your week ahead.  If at all possible, plan your month ahead as well.
  • Self Improvement: Always sharpen the saw. Don’t keep chopping away at something that isn’t work. It all boils down to you. Improve yourself. Read more – not junk reading, begin reading classics, non fiction and stuff that can only improve you. Learn new things, start a new language.
  • Exercise: Keep fit. Go the gym.
  • Relationship building: Improve the relationships that matter most to YOU. This could be your family and friends. Perhaps business partners or founders. Your Mentors. Regardless – always be sincere. You want to be in their presence and they hopefully want to be in yours.
  • Meditation & Relaxation: This is hard to do, especially if you want to go out there and make some impact. Spend 5 to 10 minutes relaxing. I use the guided meditation videos on Youtube or even on Audible very useful.

Not Urgent – Not Important (LIMIT):

  • Limit your time doing pointless things. Many parts of social media can be mindless. Surfing the web for no reason. All these things can be distracting and make you forget what you want most in life. Don’t get distracted. 

If you have the time (and I’m sure you can find it 😉 ) give the book ago, or at least listen to the audiobook version. Steven Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People is well worth it.