I hired me a little shop, . . . took small gain, kept no debt-book, garnished my shop, for want of plate, with good wholesome thrifty sentences, as "Touchstone, keep thy shop, and thy shop will keep thee." "Light gains make heavy purses."
I draw a plan and work out every detail on the plan before starting to build. For otherwise one will waste a great deal of time in makeshifts as the work goes on and the finished article will not have coherence. It will not be rightly proportioned. Many inventors fail because they do not distinguish between planning and experimenting.
This is the strategy of "creative imitation." It waits until somebody else has established the new, but only
"approximately." Then it goes to work. And within a short time it comes out with what the new really should be to satisfy the customer, to do the work customers want and pay for. The creative imitation has then set the standard and takes over the market.
The debit side of the balance sheet reflects incredibly hard work and self-sacrifice--with very little material return for the investment in the first few years. The credit side? It will be whatever you make it.
People say it takes so much courage to become an entrepreneur. I think it takes far more courage to work for somebody else, to get up each morning and go to work and not have something in your control.
In games, many times there are prizes for effort. You can get second prize or third prize, and that is not bad at all. However, as in a battle, in the small business game it is winner take all. No reward for effort, no second prize. You try and you win or you lose. Please know this before you jump in. It is sink or swim.
Most aspiring entrepreneurs believe that the key to success lies in developing an innovative and exciting product. After all, remember Emerson's adage "Build a better mousetrap, and the world will beat a path to your door." I'm here to tell you that if you believe in that adage, then you are doomed to failure. . . . The truth is, it's far better to aggressively market a mediocre mousetrap than to build a superior trap and wait for the phones to ring.