“Can’t fail” business ideas

June 15, 2011

People sometimes ask me how you know if a business idea will work. The answer of course is that you don’t, (business) life is not that easy. Or as I tend to say:

If it was easy, everybody would do it

Which explains exactly why even if such a “can’t fail” plan exists, it would be foolish to follow it. Plans that can’t fail are per definition plans that many people will follow, which means that there is no money to be made with it (supply-demand, that stuff). Which of course in turn means the plan fails, and so it wasn’t a “can’t fail” plan to begin with, merely an easily executable project without reward.

One Response to ““Can’t fail” business ideas”

  1. Lisa Says:

    My protracted history with Cervelo. I became enamored with Cervelo many years ago, during the CSC sponsorship years. It became my mission in life to own a Cervelo made bike. Not being in the tax bracket of such purchases, I took the next logical step, I applied for a customer service position at the Toronto office…and got an interview. In fact, I had 5 interviews over 18 months! I aced the bike exam (written with Sastre’s handlebars almost hitting my head), failed dismally on the excel task, and I believe I did very well in the customer complaint handling, negotiating with a potential distributors, etc. I saw a lot of employees in my many visits to the office. All of them were friendly, cheerful, seemingly happy people. It made me want to work there even more.

    Then came my last interview. My interviewer, the first with an actual Cervelo manager (neither Vroomen nor White, though I passed you on your way for coffee once and you gave me a friendly smile), was 3 hours late, on his way back from a hectic trade show and obviously over-tired. I wanted this job so badly I would have bled for it. So, I started calling around all east-end bikes stores from Peterborough to Pickering to find out if anyone fixed internal cables. At the time none did. I collected the data, came up with a possible solution (borrowed from Sony, actually) to east-end dwellers who, at the time had to go to Toronto for cable adjustments, which was often a deciding factor in not purchasing a Cervelo, and presented it to my interviewer, who testily nixed it as a stupid idea. After 5 interviews, multiple tests and 3 hrs wait, I was not called to tell me the final decision, even though my interviewer told me such actions by others were “unconscionable”. Finally, I made calls, wrote emails and got the response, my skills were impressive but I was not a “good fit”. Nice skills, shame about your personality?

    At least I was able to ask and receive an answer to my haunting question, “who was the first green tt bike actually made for?”, your secret is safe with me….and I still think I would make a kick ass Cervelo employee.

    Oh dear, my response is a blog. I wanted to email it privately, but could not find a venue, sorry for the public message, but I am still a fan of your company, as the 99% of the people I encountered were great and I love the bikes…and I am still trying to come up with an alternative route to owning one. ;-)

    All the best,
    Lisa


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