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-And in your book, you say entrepreneurs must think in specifics, with laser-like precision. How is that different from how most people are thinking? What do you mean by that?
-Because most people talk and think in generalities.
-Deals are made for specific products, or a specific process, or a specific service. So you can't deal in generalities. Exactly what are you talking about? And it changes a deal completely.
-What do you say the guy-- because you meet these people who are very big generalists, big dreamers. They say, well, basically what I'm going to do-- I'm going to go in. I'm going to buy this pen factory. I'm going to flip it around, move some stuff around. I'll add "value."
I'm going to streamline it. And then you say, well how? Well, I'm not getting into the details. It's the big idea. What do you say to the guy who's the generalist, captain generality. What do you say?
-You better tell me how you're going to do it. Otherwise, I'm not interested.
-Period. I have no interest in generalities. I want to know how. Perfect example-- so simple, it was almost crazy it was so simple. We were manufacturing ballpoint pens successfully. We were selling them through Europe successfully.
And we were having a good time. And then suddenly a thing comes out called the highlighter.
-The highlighter-- came out that--
-I'm sorry if I purchased any that hurt you in any way.
-It was a deal. I said, well, why don't I get a highlighter like this and put it on the end of my ballpoint pen, one of my pens. Because I need the pen to make the notes. And then I have a highlighter on the back of the pen, the same instrument. I have to go looking for hey, where's the highlighter? Right?
-Right. So I did that. And it was very successful. Cost nothing.
-I mean, really, almost zero.
-Well, you, in your book, as you're talking about details and the importance of laser like focus, you also say that stress is guaranteed. Some people say, well, this sounds stressful. I mean, this might be a lot of work. You're saying stress is guaranteed, buddy.
-Guaranteed, absolutely. How much are you prepared to take?
-But it's going to be guaranteed. So how much are you prepared to take?
-How much are you prepared to take? There's some stresses that you say, I'm just going to go for that-- not worth it. Certain things that come through, there's stress that was involved in the deal with Pierre Cardin, getting the license.
But the joy of knowing this man and how his mind worked, and having him with me, and traveling with him--
-Now you also encourage entrepreneurs to figure out what their distribution model's going to be. Why is that so important?
-It's important because somehow even in this, or whatever you're doing, whatever your business is-- let's say, you're saying, I want to sell it. Let's use a popular phrase. I'm going to go viral on the internet.
-I'm going to go viral.
-OK, go viral.
-Good, hockey stick growth.
-How do you do that? How do you do that? So let's say you have this service, a product or what have you, and you say, but I don't know enough people to make it pay for itself or a name brand to put it with. So what I would do is we happen to be a celebrity oriented society today. And if I have a celebrity name who's got 10 million followers, that distribution can work.
Or I could have someone who's selling something similar to that. And they're selling to the same type of people. In other words, it's a question of just analyzing it. But to sell it at this point and say, now I'm going to build the market for it, one at a time and send it out to all my friends, ask them to send it to all their friends, and put it on their Facebook, and the Twitter, and all that stuff, the odds against my succeeding are very, very
-And in your book, for the entrepreneurs who are into this, and they want to really deep dive into it, you give a ton of questions we should be asking. There's a lot of questions, but one is, is your time frame flexible enough to allow for unexpected delays? Are you dealing with a patent or a brand name for your product? Or are you just going to enter the marketplace and let the chips fall where they may? What is it going to cost to make your product? You say, what is the minimum you must produce to sell to ensure a profit? What do you have to do to produce a superior product at a better price than your competitors? Is your profit margin large enough to sustain steady growth? I mean, you have a ton of questions--
-And you need to have them answered.
---in there, and you need to answer these questions. Now--
-My point of the Nadel method--
---incidentally, the real point is that there is a huge number of failures. Everybody goes into business, and what I'm saying is if you do these five things, these five elements in the Nadel method, you dramatically-- that doesn't mean you won't fail-- but you dramatically reduce that chance.
-Well, in this method, step four, you say, fulfill your agreement and then some. This right here is massive. If we, if me, if we-- I'm sure you watching, you already do this-- but if everybody would just do this, this could be a game changer. Walk us through what you mean when you say fulfill your agreement and then some.
-How nice it would be if you were able to give a bonus of additional accounts, of merchandise, of goodwill, or whatever it is that your client is looking for, that he didn't even count on.
-It's a deal of like when you do that, it appears as though the trust factor has to go through the roof, and then the repeat customer--
-Repeat is automatic. Repeat is going to come when you give a value, and you give more than you promised, more than you promised-- in fact, one of my bank customers absconded with the saying, and where you come to at that time was Gibraltar savings, and get a little something extra.
-At this point in your method, you talk also about, you say, you must be prepared to make some course corrections along the way. Can you walk us through what you mean by that?
-I think every time-- I have yet, and this is where I believe that so much of methodology is out of step with the times is that you've got to prove what you're doing, and the best way to do it is to actually do it. There's no shortcut to that. I mean, I've got success stories. I've got failures. And I think I've learned more from the failures, but then some things seem so perfectly simple.
-Well, you say here in your book, you say it's almost impossible to anticipate the problems and all of the opportunities that will present themselves by virtue of being in the marketplace. I think you have a certain mindset that you can't possibly figure out. You're trying to ask these questions ahead of time, right?
-You try to ask them all, but you can't anticipate them. You can't truly anticipate them. An imprint rubbing off because the product doesn't have a surface-- it was too slick. It's stuff that you would not anticipate in front that you don't know what happened. And some things, it's a thing that's so simple. You're changing your direction to find out where to go. I mean, I said we're in the pen business, but for example, when we had our pen line set, I wanted to produce a women's pen.
-Woman's pen, made for women. So my big idea was I would put a little perfume in it.
-So when you write, you got perfumed ink. And that was good.
-Did that work pretty well?
-It worked. It worked like a charm, but I didn't have the pen that looked female enough. Now when I say you have to go somewhere else, who makes a barrel that looks female enough? Lipstick manufacturers. So we went to a lipstick manufacturer and got our barrels made.
-You say here in your book, you say, "always hope for the best, but prepare for the worst." That seems a little bit like two separate ideas there. You're saying hope for the best, but prepare for the worst. What do you mean by that?
-I mean if the worst things that could happen-- I always ask when going into any new product, what's the best thing that can happen and what's the worst thing that can happen? These are the extremes.
I want to know that I can withstand the worst. I want to know I can recover from it. I want to know I can maybe invest something and lose it now and go on from there. Or I can change it. But I've got to be prepared for it. I can't suddenly have it happen-- hey, Charlie, remember what you ordered? We can make those things.
-Well, this is huge. Because again, these steps you're talking about don't necessarily require a lot of money, they do require a lot of mind power. And you can look at, like what, 10 deals on paper and blow up 9 of them before you spend a dime by just going through your method, running through the five steps. And step three, if it gets weird, step four, if it gets crazy, you just blow it up. And there's always a new deal coming. You're not like there's a shortage of deals.
-Deals, my friend, are like buses. There's one right after the other. It never stops.
-I want to underscore that. Because there's so many people watching this right now who are going, oh my gosh, this is a once in a lifetime opportunity.
-No such thing.
-You're saying there's going to be another bus coming.
-Another bus coming down the road. It's going to happen. It's happened to me over and over again. I had deals made which we had to break apart. And I said, oh, my god, what's going to happen? And I said, oh, yeah, we're no worse off than before this whole thing came together. We can't do this. Look at doing it another way.
In this case, we were looking for a building to accommodate the printing plant. And we made a deal, perfect size, et cetera, et cetera. About two weeks later, to sign it up, they drew it up. And the guy's attorney shows up a half hour late. And first of all, that irritates me, to begin with.
But then he says, this part of the deal, we have to cut the lot over here. I said, wait a minute. And I turned to the other. Did we make a deal? He says, yeah. I don't want to renegotiate it. I came in to sign the deal we made. Now if you're telling me I have to renegotiate with your attorney, then we might as well say goodbye and not waste each other's time, which we did.
CLAY CLARK: There we go.
-And three days later, I got an offer for a building that was twice as good.
-Oh, man. And that's the way it goes. One of the things about mentorship is hopefully you can learn from your mistakes and your successes, so you don't have to go through it. But for anybody watching this, they need to know that new deals are always coming. You're never going to be at a shortage of those. And as we move on to your final step, step five, you say review the results for next time. Again, review the results for next time.
First off, what is next time? And what do you mean by review the results?
-You've come back to our original premise, which we started nine years ago, when we started this interview, we just started it, that to review the item, did it work, was it good, was the profit right, was everything right? And you have to know where you go from there. If everything turned out great and the customer is happy and you're happy, you've set the stage for my first rule of business, which is relationships. Because I just established a relationship and the door is open for other deals.
And that's what I meant by that, that there's always something else down the pike. It isn't like people stop with this one deal. If I was dealing with banks, I could deal with every bank in the world, because that demand hasn't stopped because one bank either bought or rejected it. So there's-- opportunities are all over.
-Well, I'm going to say this, you're supposed to review the results. As I finished reading your book-- and if I can just review the results from your book-- I read the book, and as I review the book and I want to marinate on the results here, your book is filled with so much wisdom.
But what makes your book better than almost every other entrepreneurial book I've read is that the wisdom is distilled from six different decades. So it's not like you wrote a book about how you made your money in tech in the '90s. Or you didn't write a book about how you made your money in the '80s working on George Michael videos or something, or in the '70s, because you were-- you're talking about six different decades, going from the end of World War II all the way till today.
And I can't thank you enough for taking the time to share this wisdom. Because for me, and I know for people younger than myself, who are older than myself, the wisdom is what you're seeking. You can lose your money and make your money and you can make it back, but that wisdom is what we all need to get ahead. And I just can't thank you enough for taking the time to share your wisdom. It is just refreshing. It's exciting. And I can't thank you enough, my friend.
-Well, I thank you, because you're fulfilling part of what I'm looking for, which is to pass it on in turn.
-Well, thank you.
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