Porter’s Preface: Got Gas?

February 25th, 2009 by Sharon Larsen

Today we launch into Chapter 4: Got Gas?  We begin with Ron’s preface to the chapter.



Imagine yourself sitting in the captain’s seat of a commercial airliner. As you wait for the ground crew to finish the preflight checklist, you check the instrument panel and chat with your copilot. As you wait to push back, your headphones buzz and you hear a voice from the control tower:


“Captain, we’re cleared for takeoff; let’s push back and get you in the air. We don’t have a flight plan for you, but we know how excited you are for this trip. We know you can probably figure out the details once you’re airborne.


“By the way, we haven’t checked your fuel. We hope you have enough to make it to the Big Island—anyway, let’s give it a shot. And one more thing, you’re taking off on the short runway, so you’re going to have to give it some extra throttle. We know you’re in a hurry to get going, so cross your fingers and good luck!”


You may think that scenario is ridiculous—and it is. No airline captain would even consider taking off, much less flying, under those circumstances. Unfortunately, many would-be entrepreneurs launch their businesses with a cinch of their seatbelt, a glance toward heaven, and a push of the pedal. These small businesses never arrive at their destinations because they ignore basic startup necessities. No plane can fly without fuel, and getting your venture off the ground is just the same. You have to get gas.


There are three maxims Rich considers faithfully when fueling his ventures: logic must manage emotion, numbers don’t lie, and find how to fund the runway.


Cruising at an altitude of well over six miles, watching patchwork farms, tall mountains, sprawling forests, and glittering oceans pass beneath you, your plane may feel invincible. Emotions run high when you start a venture, but reality hits if the gas runs out. Keep logic in mind, line up the numbers, and find the right funding to ensure as smooth a flight as possible.



Tomorrow we’ll begin talking about how logic must manage emotion and what that means for starting a business.



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