WHY is it that one person can start a business and grow it so strongly that they are able to give their seventeen-year-old son an aeroplane for his birthday; yet the next person winds up in their late fifties losing their home, sad and broken and living in a caravan?

It’s not luck. It’s not destiny. It’s not a blessing bestowed from above. And, most surprisingly of all, it’s not down to being born with or without ‘the Midas touch’.

No, the answer to building a healthy, thriving, stable cash-rich business from scratch is much more mundane than that. And you can do it. Believe me, you do not have to be gifted, and you do not have to be a risk-taker; you just have to be sensible and creative.

Here is the answer…

But wait – because this is URGENT so we need to deal with it right now. Before one more second passes download your free copy of my e-book “Do You Make These Mistakes With Your Business Finances? … Not Any More You Won’t!“. Your book is COMPLETELY FREE – it won’t cost you a penny. And it comes with no strings attached, no obligations. Snatch your copy now using the panel to the right, because if you dilly-dally you may lose it.

Why is that urgent, and why might you lose it? Well, before we get into the meat it is only fair that I confide in you my intentions for this site – then all will become clear.

The truth is, this site may not be here tomorrow.

If it doesn’t do the job I created it for, I will take it down. (I’ll give you my exact reasoning later – which will be a lesson in itself). I’m monitoring its performance daily, and some days I’m even checking it hourly. It only takes the click of my mouse and it’s gone. That would be most unfair on you now that you’ve found it. I can imagine my frustration if I found a site jam packed with free information, book-marked it in my favourites, and next time I clicked on the link all I got was “Error – This page cannot be displayed“. I’d be livid, I would feel frustrated, and I’d feel let down.

I don’t want to do that to you.

So to ensure you preserve the ENTIRE THIRTY-SEVEN profit-generating and cash-amassing lessons contained within this site, before they slip from your fingertips, I have made them all available as the e-book which you can download instantly.

So grab yours now. Then come back and keep reading, because I broke off barely before we’d got started…and there are many revelations coming up which you would kick yourself black and blue if you missed (these are not included in the book).

OK. Now you’ve downloaded your e-book let’s get back to our theme…

If you want your business to work, you need to understand exactly what it is that causes one business to flourish and another to flop. Business is not a game of chance. It is a game of cause and effect. Do the right things and you will get the results you want. Do the wrong things and live with regret. The choice is yours, just as it is mine.

Way back in the late nineteen-seventies I decided I wanted to get into business. You see in 1789 – yes, we’ve gone back two centuries – my distant forebear started a business. That business was Pears Soap which developed into a national, and even for its day, an international phenomenon. It provided a grand lifestyle for the family, and endured as a family business right up to the First World War when it was eventually sold.

You know a business is a wonderful thing to have, so long as you understand how to run it, just as I knew that in my youth. You know what draws you to business. Control. Freedom. Fulfilment. And of course, money. I had been bitten by the business bug early on, just as you have been if you are reading these words.

But if you want a business but have no business experience, or if you have a business and want to grow it, how do you go about it? Exactly what is it that makes one business thrive and another bump along the bottom or even collapse altogether?

I had exactly the same questions. While business was in my blood, I had a problem – I was a marine biologist. What did I personally know about business? Zilch. So I went to work for a small company, which was part of the young Virgin group. Wow. What an introduction to business that was!

But I wanted my own business. So working at Virgin was not a job, but an education. And to make the best of it I studied accountancy at the same time. (Which was hard to fit in amongst all the parties I can assure you! But I did manage it in the end.)

Thirty years on, battle-scarred from many scrapes and adventures, having struggled through periods of stress, worry and sleepless nights, and having sailed through periods of elation, freedom, fun and joy, I now know why some businesses soar, why others scrape along the bottom, and why others crash.

And I want to share that understanding with you.

There is a strong clue as to why some business owners get the lifestyle they want and others do not in the title to this site – FinancialPreneur.com. I wish I could claim credit for that name, but actually the credit goes to my good friend, and internet master-geek and online marketing maestro, Ed Rivis.

When I was explaining that to be successful in business people needed to blend entrepreneurship with an understanding of the way money worked in business, of finance, Ed said, in a stroke of genius, “well, why don’t you call it FinancialPreneur then?”. So I did.

And there you have it. You need to be an entrepreneur and you need to understand how to handle money in business. Make no mistake, very few business owners possess the blend of understanding that makes a ‘financialpreneur’. Which is, without question, one of the reasons why so few people ‘make it’ in business. But you can learn those skills, if you choose to.

What does it take to start a business from ground zero and grow it to the level you want to? What does it take to be an entrepreneur?

You will have heard, and will continue to hear, all sorts of nonsense about entrepreneurs and business. And if you already have a thriving business you are probably mildly amused by all these myths. The media in particular love to play this game. Dress up business to be all mysterious and dramatic. It makes great television, and sells newspapers and magazines by the vanload. But most of it is hype, and it is misleading if you buy into it.

I’ll tell you what it takes to be an entrepreneur. It takes these three things…

But let’s pause just here – only for a minute though, I promise – to verify that you have downloaded your copy of “Do You Make These Mistakes With Your Business Finances? … Not Any More You Won’t!“. That’s the free e-book. It hasn’t been published as a physical book yet, and may not be, so if you miss it now you won’t be able to find it in any bookshop no matter how hard you scour the shelves.

If you haven’t yet got your copy, you and I both know what will happen any minute now…the phone will ring, or the boss will walk in, or if you are browsing at home, your partner or child will call for you. Then you will click away from this site; and you may lose it forever. As I said earlier, there is a very real chance it may not be here tomorrow. I’ll explain why later.

Are you an entrepreneur? Can you start a business, and create a solid, successful, enduring business?

It takes just three things.

One, be yourself.

Did you feel the tension flow from you when you read that? I hope so.

So many people think they have to be different, to be like someone else, in order to get on in business. That’s a fallacy, and it’s a damaging one, and it’s born of ignorance and inexperience. You do not have to change the way you are. In fact you must not. And the truth is you could not change the essence of you even if you wanted to.

Instead of changing yourself, take advantage of the best developed aspects of your character and mould your business to fit them. Conduct your business in the way that plays to your nature. Design and build your business to suit your personality. Not the other way round. You may have to tweak the way you view the world, but that’s altogether different from trying to change your nature, your self.

Two, you must want to be an entrepreneur.

That’s no secret, but it’s critical. If you don’t feel like an entrepreneur, you can’t go off and start a business just because you fancy a truck-load of money. That will not work.

What does it feel like to be an entrepreneur? You know if you are an entrepreneur, or a budding entrepreneur, at heart. You are an individual. You have that restless feeling in your soul, of mild – or maybe even violent – dissatisfaction. Like an ocean-going vessel chained up in a harbour. Or Bilbo Baggins on his 111th birthday, itching to get adventuring again. (From Tolkien’s ‘Lord Of The Rings’).

You want to do things your way. You want to call the shots. You are probably fairly stubborn deep inside…you have your own views, even if you sometimes play your cards close to your chest.

That streak of stubbornness is vital. Nurture it. It is your personal gyroscope. Ships and planes have gyroscopes to keep them true to their course through storms and turbulence. Use yours to keep you true to your vision and to your character. Circumstances will try to push you in other directions; and friends, colleagues or family may tell you the best course through life is to get a good job with a pension. You need to be wilful enough to resist these distractions.

Let me reassure you my friend, if you have read this far you DO want to be an entrepreneur, no question of that.

And by the way, I don’t feel it is a liberty to address you as ‘friend’ by now – because if you are reading this, you and I are pretty much on the same wavelength. I hope you agree.

Three, do not be impetuous, but be willing to learn.

The first two were easy. This one may be harder.

Entrepreneurs come in many character forms. But one thing many have in common is they want to dive in, they want to get going, they want to drive things and make them work, and they want to get results – FAST – if not instantly – and preferably even faster than that. “Look out! Make way! There’s an entrepreneur coming through.” Step back, or you’ll be swept away, like a chip-paper sucked from the platform in the slip-stream of the 125 to Paddington.

That’s all very well, and there is no doubt that taking action, stirring things up, innovating, changing, improving, making things happen is what drives a business. But it must be directed action, and it must be controlled action. You must take the right action. Any old activity will not do.

You must know what to do, first, and then do it. Not the other way round. You will hear the opposite of this. You will hear people telling you that it is not ‘ready-aim-fire’ that works, but ‘ready-fire-aim’. Clever imagery, but for the most part bad advice, because it is high-risk.

What are the two things, above all else, that you really must LEARN? They are marketing and finance.

Once you are good at marketing you have the power to make your business soar. You can take your business almost anywhere you choose. And when you are really good at marketing it is possible to control to a large extent what people will pay for your product or service, and how much and how often they buy. A business owner’s dream.

But if you are not good at marketing you will never sell a thing. While that’s perhaps not literally true, it is pretty close to the absolute truth. So let’s qualify it. Until you are good at marketing you will sell so little that your business will never amount to anything more than a hobby, and most likely an emotionally exhausting, risky and expensive one at that. It’s as simple as that.

And once you understand the way money works in business you have the power to design your business so that it produces the profit, and above all the cash, that you want. And it is through finance – and only through finance – that you control your business.

If you drive your business with good marketing but fail to steer and control it through your finances, it will charge off like a bucking steed with you clinging on for dear life. Do not create and goad a beast which you cannot then control, because it will throw you off and trample you. But when you are in control you can manage it so it feeds off its own profit and cash, and fuels itself. You can lead your business wherever you want it to take you in life. But to do that, you must be in control.

So now we have answered the question we started out with.

In a nutshell, to build a strong and enduring business you must want to do it, and you must channel your drive as much into learning as into doing. And the things you must learn above all are marketing and finance.

And it is these qualities and activities that underpin the difference between the person who has so much surplus cash they can splash out on a plane for their son, and the person who loses it all, or who struggles and frets and gets nowhere.

And it is because finance in particular is such a thorn in the side of so many people, and yet is also an incredibly powerful business-building tool, that I wrote a book about it and launched FinancialPreneur.

But I promised to tell you something, which I have not done.

So let me now explain why this site may not be here when you come back tomorrow – or why, if you are really unlucky it may melt away in front of your eyes even as you are reading it.

Why this site may not be here tomorrow…plus, a business gem for you to understand

One of the most critical business-building secrets you can ever learn – and I assure you this really is a secret, because so few people know of it – is to treat everything you ever do in business as a test. If you do something and it doesn’t produce the effect you want, change it. Carry on with things that work, and drop or modify those that don’t work.

This website is a test. The free book download is a test. I spent a full nine months between August 2007 and late April 2008 compiling and writing the thirty seven finance lessons on this site and in my book. And I didn’t just do it in my spare time, an hour here and an hour there. I spent two to three days a week on it, sometimes getting up at 5am on a Saturday or Sunday morning. I pored over every line, every example, every illustration, because I wanted to make it easy for you to understand. I knew that the more time I invested in it, making it clear and readable, the less time and effort you would have to spend reading it.

It’s not perfect, I know that. There’s no such thing. I could spend another year on it. I’m not doing that – I don’t think my marriage would stand it! But you won’t find a clearer, more thorough, more comprehensive book on managing your business through the money – anywhere. And it will propel you from complete novice to financial wizard in just one volume. And that is what I wanted to achieve for you.

That’s all very well, but what has it to do with why this site may not be here tomorrow? Well I’ll tell you. Now that I have completed that mammoth task, I can do many things with it. I can have it printed as a physical book, which was my original intention. I can break it up and sell it as a series of lessons. I can use it as a training manual to go with a high-priced course. I can password protect this site so that only those who pay a fee can access it in future. I can do what I like with that body of text.

As you can see, for the time being at least, I have decided to give it away completely free, with no strings attached. You, or anyone else, can come back to this site again and again and plunder its treasures. And for today anyway, you can even download it all, free. But the point is I might change my mind an hour from now. I might remove the download, or strip the content from this site. Or I might leave things as they are for six months.

But I promise you that whatever I do, I will not act on a whim.

The fact is I do not yet know how to make best use of my creation. And that is because I am approaching this as a TEST. I will monitor what happens – how many people visit the site, how many return, how many download the book. All sorts of things. (I am most fortunate in having web virtuoso Ed Rivis helping me with monitoring what happens on this site.)

One thing though is for sure. If few people find this site, if hardly anybody uses it, I will change my approach from freely giving.

The power of pricing, and why you can hike your prices and get your customers, clients or patients chasing you

It may surprise you to learn – and here is another business-building jewel, so note it – that if I attach a price tag to the exact same information that I am giving freely, you will value it more.

Furthermore, the higher the fee, and the harder I make it to get hold of, the higher people will value it.

It is a fascinating trait of human nature, and one that a marketer can use if they are skilful and know what they are doing.

That is why I advise you, really strongly advise you, to download the e-book now if you haven’t already. This may be your final chance. When you try to come back, the site may be gone; or you may find I have gone down a completely different route and repackaged this information, and that you will have to pay hundreds or perhaps even thousands of pounds or dollars to access it.

There are many ways to skin a cat, as the adage goes, and likewise there are many ways to market and use a product or service. Marketing know-how, like financial know-how, is a powerful business tool.

I now have a favour to ask of you

I have given you a lot. And I am happy to do that, because I know beyond any shadow of a doubt that there is tremendous value in the techniques and explanations in the lessons, and that you will profit from them hugely if you learn them and apply them.

In return, may I ask you to say a small “thank-you”?

This is completely voluntary because as I said – and as I mean – the site and the book are a no-strings-attached free gift. And I do not want you to feel I am in any way pulling the wool over your eyes. You can take the goodies and run – and I will never know, and even if I did know I wouldn’t think any the less of you. You have my full unreserved permission to stop reading now, and to leave with my blessing and with my sincere wish that you use your business to carve out the life you want for yourself, your family, friends, parents and employees.

So what you do next is entirely up to you.

But here’s the deal…

I have been able to give to you because you and I met – virtually – through this site. But there are many, many more people I would like to give to. Problem is, they don’t know I exist. So you can help me to help others by showing this site to your friends, co-directors, business partners, colleagues, students, clients and to your own finance staff. Yes your finance staff stand to learn a lot too, and that can only be good for you.

You see, by far the majority of people in business, and this may well apply to you too, do not understand finance – they really do not. And even though most know how to read their Profit and Loss Account, that’s not even scratching the surface of what they need to know if they are to plan and control their profit and cash, or even if they are to survive long-term.

That is why so many hard working, bright, honest folk run into cash flow difficulties when they should have a stockpile of money in the bank. It is why they struggle along on meagre profits, vulnerable and weak, when they can and should be ramping up their margins.

It’s a tragedy for them. It’s a tragedy for those of us who want to buy their products, and it is a tragedy for the economy.

And even those who have thriving businesses already can really turn up the heat once they understand how to apply the advanced profit and cash controlling techniques that I pull together in the final few lessons of the site and e-book.

And YOU stand to gain yet further too, by doing what you can to assure this site’s future, and its development. If the free-giving approach I’ve adopted here works, I will extend it. Extensive as the information on this site is, there is so much more I can put up here over time. As we discussed, this site is called ‘FinancialPreneur.com’. Well, the existing content is pretty strongly along the ‘Financial’ line – but there is the ‘Preneur’ aspect yet to be addressed – marketing, mindset, risk reduction, people – all sorts of things.

Whether I scupper this free site or expand it is in very large part down to you.

If you know anything about the internet you know that ideas and information can spread like wildfire, a benign virus, as people spontaneously introduce others to ideas and sites they like. With your help FinancialPreneur.com can become a hugely valuable and expanded resource for you and for your friends. And through it we can help those who are struggling, whether to get their business off the ground, or to prevent their established business from nose-diving and taking their life, their home and their family with it. It’s a worthy project.

Which leads us into a critically important topic, which I will let my one-time boss Sir Richard Branson introduce…the following quote is taken from his book “Losing My Virginity”. Here is the final, closing sentence of a talk he delivered to the Institute of Directors in 1993:

“Whatever happens, have a good time, and do not be afraid to make mistakes, for if you do not make mistakes, you do not make anything”. [Richard Branson, May 1993]

Why do you think he chose that as his very closing utterance? It was because it was the thing that above all he wanted people to remember from his talk.

(And he means what he says. When he talks of having a good time – the parties at Virgin were something else! But that’s another story.)

And here’s another quote from the same book: “Once I was convinced that we had protected the downside – which is always my first concern – the other significant question to resolve was…”. Well, never mind what the other question was because it is not relevant here because there is a vital theme I want to pick out for you.

These quotes demonstrate a lesson that every business person in the world should understand. The lesson is this:

You will make mistakes. There is a downside. Things do not always go the way you expect or the way that suits you. No matter how good you are. Even billionaires make mistakes. Every business owner makes mistakes, without exception. Mistakes, risk, the downside, these are all just facts of business life. BUT the successful people understand how to limit the damage. The unsuccessful business owners however just wade in regardless because they ‘know it will all work out OK in the end’. Dangerous. Naive. And unwise.

Virtually everybody likes to talk about business success because success is exciting, and frankly ‘success talk’ is what sells. The lure of business success and the promise of easy pickings sells loans, sells advertising, sells business advice, sells business courses – a whole business support industry.

But it is also grossly irresponsible to give the impression to inexperienced business hopefuls that everything is as easy as ABC. Because if they believe that, they will go and borrow a load of money secured on their house, or scoop up all their redundancy windfall, and go and blow it on some untested scheme. High risk. Painful downside. Not a smart move.

Interestingly, and on this same theme, Peter Jones, of Dragons’ Den fame, says he has stripped the word ‘failure’ from his vocabulary. Instead he calls it feedback. And he is absolutely right. This is not just semantics, or a mental gimmick.

When a scientist sets up an experiment to test whether the outcome will be A or B, he or she doesn’t view one as a success and one as a failure. The true scientist is, or should be, an impartial and objective observer. Either A happens or B happens. So they watch, and learn. You should embrace that principle in your business as far as you can, as Peter Jones does.

An outcome can only be a ‘failure’ if you have put yourself in a position where that outcome can significantly harm you. SO DON’T PUT YOURSELF IN THAT VULNERABLE POSITION. Then whatever happens in your business is just feedback, which you then learn from. Smart Peter Jones is spot on.

All-out business ‘failure’ – where people get hurt – happens for the most part because people do not know what to do and what not to do in the daily, monthly and yearly running of their business. And they do not know how to manage risk, so they put themselves in vulnerable positions. And sometimes they leave themselves catastrophically exposed.

When I was at school I was acquainted with someone whose father had committed suicide when his business failed. Not surprisingly perhaps, no one liked to talk about it. I remember feeling what a tragedy it was, but also being mystified as to why anyone would take their life for what seemed to me in my naivety as little more than an upset. But now, all these years later I do understand, to a degree, what that poor chap must have gone through, and where the pressures came from.

Having worked with many business owners over the years I have seen successes and I have seen failures. And I have seen what the failures do to some people. While it is certainly true that business failure no longer carries the stigma it once did, in fact far from it, it can still be hard to bear – I have seen that.

Should the potential downside put you off business? NO, NO, NO. Business is great. You can make a small fortune (or a large one), you can have a ball, you can control your life. Nothing else can give you the things business can.

You just need to understand how to drive your business machine. Can you imagine anything as silly as jumping into the cockpit of an aeroplane and trying to fly it, having never had a lesson? Yet people do the equivalent in business in their tens of thousands each and every year. Is it any wonder some get hurt? Of course not. They are like sheep wandering across a motorway. Motorways are really very safe places when you know how to behave on one, but dangerous when you don’t. Businesses are the same.

By this stage you are getting a glimpse of why I want to reach as many business owners, business students, start-ups, managers, directors, CEOs and partners as I can.

Do you now understand why I am asking you to refer this site?

My friend and mentor Paul Gorman has taught me many valuable lessons, but one of my favourites – and one of his too – is to genuinely and honestly treat people as if they were your very best friend. It’s so pure it’s almost Biblical – “Do unto others as you would have them do to you”. He says, do for everyone what you would do for your closest friend. He calls it his “best friend principle”.

Well, if my closest friend came to me for advice I would tell them all the things I have just told you, and that you can pass on to your best friend, by referral. There are many people out there who need a grounded, unbiased, practical business education. Not airy-fairy, academic, hypothetical, abstract theories – but real strategies, tactics and precise techniques for building a sustainable and healthy business. Things that even a one-man, or one-woman, business can use to generate results, just as a multi-million pound business can. This site is their gateway to that education.

Let’s spread some good through the business community.

One final thing before I go.

I do not want to mislead you into believing that I am a charity, nor that I am being completely 100% altruistic, because I am not. I am in business. And you should be glad of it, because only from that stance can I teach you anything of practical value about business. And it is profit that provides the funding to enable me to continue my work. I will make courses and tools available. Some may be free – like this site – and some I will offer for a fee. But clearly only those people who want them – because they know they can benefit from them – will buy what I place before them. That’s entirely up to them. That ‘mini-revelation’ shouldn’t surprise you, but I wanted to spell it out, so you and I are not at cross purposes.

That’s all for now.

With my very best wishes,

Graham Pears

P.S. Do make sure you’ve downloaded your free e-book “Do You Make These Mistakes With Your Business Finances? … Not Any More You Won’t!

P.P.S. Quickly think of all the people you know who might benefit from the information on this site (and in the e-book), or the things we have talked about above. In truth that will be just about anyone you know in business, or in the business community, including those with their own established business, those employed in finance, and anyone you know who is interested in starting their own business. Then email them the site address for this page, with a few words of explanation from you. But do it now – because this site and the free e-book offer may not be here tomorrow, for the reasons I’ve explained at length. It is a test.

Copyright © 2008 by Graham R Pears. All rights reserved. No part of this article, website or accompanying ebook may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever, except for your strictly personal use, without written permission. If you would be interested in reproducing parts of this work, or in collaborating, I would be delighted to hear from you. Contact Graham@SuccessNavigator.co.uk