Snow Equals Opportunity!

By David Docekal, Editor The Hypercapitalist

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The 162nd Rule of Acquisition states that even in the worst of times someone turns a profit. Nothing could be more true about the hardworking private contractors whose primary business is to plow snow. While we whine about our commute and having to shovel our own driveway, this difficult time has profit being earned hand over fist.

Snow storms highlight entrepreneurship at its best. From the larger companies with dozens of plow trucks to the kid on the corner armed with his (or her) trusty shovel to clear his neighbors driveway. This is the American dream! Where some see adversity, others see opportunity. This is the attitude that keeps this country strong.

The economy is aided by the money spent by those snow plow employees. The kid on the corner might in fact be saving up for a new bike or the latest gaming console.

So while it took me over 2 hours to get to work this morning, I look out the window and see white gold.

There’s gold in those snow mounds!

163rd Rule of Acquisition and Drunks That Hinder Profits

The 163rd Rule of Acquisition: A thirsty customer is good for profits. A drunk one isn’t.

By David Docekal, The Hypercapitalist

@DavidDocekal

Go home Squirrel, You’re Drunk!

The last time I quoted this rule. I got a standing ovation from a longtime bar manager.

Interpretation: This rule is inspired by the inevitable customer in a bar that makes more trouble than their worth. Establishments spend a lot of money every year on security to help quell misbehavior. What is considered misbehavior?

Starting fights,molesting waitresses and bartenders, stumbling about and running into things, throwing up and of course the ever-classy trashing the bathroom. The list goes on…. and I have seen all of these first hand in my years of bar-patronizing experience.

While there are many customers who come to have a good time and not get crazy (I am one of them), there are a few that decide that a good time consists of drinking more than their body weight, for whatever reason, and proceeding to take on a behavior from the list above. This reduces my bar enjoyment. Or what economists call Diminishing Utility. Why would I want to spend money at a place that allows the drunk and unruly? I would prefer to spend money at a bar that is NOT like that.

Long story short: I am good for profits. The guy who just kicked over my beer in a drunken rage is not. (Also happened to me for real). Fewer customers seeing red means you seeing more green.

Implementation: When using the 163rd rule at your establishment, always remember: Cut off customers in a timely manner if possible and hire more bouncers! Their salaries will be well worth it.

Business Opportunities Not Taken & the 9th Rule of Acquisition.

By David Docekal, Editor The Hypercapitalist

@DavidDocekal

When I am feeling depressed or uninspired in my creativity or work, I turn to the good book: the Rules of Acquisition.

This week I have been inspired by the 9th Rule and how that would apply to a particular scenario. The 9th Rule of Acquisition: Opportunity Plus Instinct Equals Profit.

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This was brought up by a couple of my friends who patronized a local movie theater where there was a celebrity appearance. They said they had to wait in line for 4 hours outside before entering the theater to meet this person. My friend had a great idea: The theater should be making food and serving drinks in the line outside with a mobile cart. This particular theater already has full service food preparation in it as it is one of the theaters that serves full meals during their movies.

The issue for the theater is that these celebrity appearances are generally operated at a loss due to the cost of having the person show up. Granted they probably wouldn’t profit under the guidance of the 9th rule in this situation but it would be a way to make some of that money back.

Hungry people in line? Sell food.

Thirsty people in line? Sell bottles of water and beer!

People standing? Rent them folding chairs!

Cold and rainy? Sell blankets and umbrellas with the theater logo printed on them!

You could easily sell a $10 umbrella for $30 to a cold and wet person.

Its all about opportunity! On top of that those people would be more likely to come back know they will have those thing provided to them. By not taking advantage of this, they are missing out on a grand money-making and customer service operation.

Too bad for them.. This also fall upon the guidance of the 374th Rule: Only a fool passes up a business opportunity!

The Rules of Acquisition #150 Easy to find shops and profits

By David Docekal, Editor The Hypercapitalist
@DavidDocekal

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Here is one of the most forgotten rules:

150th Rule of Acquisition: Make your shop easy to find.

Interpretation

Seems like common sense right? Well some businesses lack it.

Making things difficult for the customers who are trying give you money gives your competitors an edge. Customers seek out your business but they will only try so hard. If your business is off the beaten path, you can usually eliminate the chance of walk-ins.

Some businesses understandably choose a location based on cost of ownership or rental of the property. But you have to remember to find a balance. If a property seems to good to be true for the price, it usually is. You have to ask yourself “Why did the other businesses in this 100-year old-building fail one after the other? What makes mine different?”Implementation

This rule parallels another rule (#199 Location, Location, Location). The best way to handle an undesirable location is to balance it out with advertising and word-of-mouth. People will turn down that alley or side street if they know for sure what they’re in for. Again, you may lack walk-ins but that’s not the end of the world. Assuming you are providing a quality, much-desired product, the customers will follow.

If you choose a storefront that has high turnover, more than likely it is the location that is the issue (or it could be that the building owner is a douche). Either one is a possibility. Be prepared to compensate for a cheap property and make sure you have the capital to do it!!

And…..For the love of god…. Don’t overextend your resources!!

Don’t Spend More than You Have to: The 3rd Rule of Acquisition

Spending more for something than you really need to is something I am actually guilty of. Yes, even I the Hypercapitalist violate the Rules of Acquisition once in a while.

The 3rd Rule of Acquisition: Never spend more for an Acquisition than you have to.

For me what comes to mind is the supermarket. On any given day, I’m probably in the vicinity of ten different supermarkets. Some more expensive than others by a wide margin. However there are days that I will go to the more expensive market and spend a lot more than I really needed to. Why? Many factors.

One is the convenience of one shop over the other. It may be easier to drive to or is right on the way to work, either way, it costs more. Another reason may be that there are items not found at the less expensive store. Such as a certain kind of cheese…. mmmm cheese.

Or finally it may be the simple fact that I just feeling like being at a certain store over the other. Perhaps a change of atmosphere. Its not like I WANT to spend more, its just the bi-product of wanting a certain service or item.

Really there are solutions to some of the above scenarios that would help me avoid higher costs. For example, planning my day to patronize a store that is not on the way to work but maybe slightly out of the way or buying the item not found at other stores then refraining from purchasing other items. But all these situations require too much preplanning and I have found when it comes to the supermarket planning, I am lazy. I go when I need to or feel like it without a list of items predetermined.

long story, short: I am a frequent violator of the 3rd Rule of Acquisition!

Enough is never enough: Breaking Bad & the 97th Rule of Acquisition

I took the last month off from posting on my blog. This was a nice break to reflect on what I had already written and consider what I will write about. I hope your summer was a productive as mine was.

Today’s blog makes me think of the show Breaking Bad. Are you a fan? I am. The premise is simple, the plot however gets complicated. Walter White is a chemistry teacher that learns he has cancer. To pay the bills, he gets the idea to make crystal meth with a former student of his. Long story short,  Walter follows the 97th Rule of Acquisition in his business: Enough is NEVER enough. In later seasons he points to the fact that he is not in the meth business, he is in the empire business. A true hypercapitalist attitude if I’ve ever seen one. He has a healthy level of greed (and yes, like Micheal Douglas in Wall Street says: Greed is good.)

Rule Interpretation

When someone asks me how much money I would like to make, my answer now is always “all of it”.

I am a hypercapitalist. I put a lot of value on the almighty dollar. Does that make me shallow and materialistic? Absolutely not. I realized a long time ago that money affects everything in society. Everything has value. Everyone has a price. Do you go to your job and work for free? No you don’t. One could argue that they dedicate all their time for doing volunteer work. Yes that has its place too. I do volunteer work but that doesn’t pay my phone bill or gas for my car. I still need money for all of those things. Where is going to come from?

For many years my philosophy was always having enough money to live comfortably and not worry. Now people have taught me that I won’t be comfortable until its all mine. Whatever I have is never enough. I am in the empire business. Does that mean I will keep it all to myself? No, not at all. I plan to share. There will always be people in need. You can do that too.

Just remember not to negotiate with beggars. Its bad for profits.

Implementation

Always reach for the stars!! You may not get there but you will land somewhere comfortably in the middle. The way to building an empire is always to think big. Complete your daily tasks while always thinking 5, 10, 100 steps ahead. Look at the big picture and set goals. Get that first admin job with the goal of being a CEO someday or president of the United States.

This is where a healthy level of greed comes in. Make sure you have enough, but not so much you choke on it.

Maybe you will never wind up being the CEO but wind up being a high-paid consultant for CEOs. Or maybe you wont become president. Maybe you will be governor of your home state and find its perfect for you. Life has many turns, but always remember wherever you are right now, you can always go much further. Keep pushing, cause enough is never enough.

The 148th Rule of Acquisition: Opportunity waits for no one.

If there is is one thing I have learned during the last few months is that life is short and it could be stopped anytime. I used to have big dreams (well, still do) and never act on them. It was always “someday I would like to ________ (insert dream here) and then push it off til some distant point in the future.

Not anymore.

The 148th Rule of Acquisition states that “Opportunity Waits for No one”. This is a good rule because it can be applied to the rest of your life as well as business. Already I have encountered a lot of “woulda, shoulda, coulda’s” from others as well as myself. My parents of course being the biggest culprits. My mothers passing earlier this year lit a fire under me to pursue things I always dreamed of. One good example was making model roads for display and maybe occasionally playing with my matchbox cars when no one is looking. I had always considered it then one day a few months ago I had the opportunity to make one for a class presentation. Now I do it for fun and for other people. I take pride in getting the lines of the road just right. Paying attention to detail and abiding by the Uniform Traffic Code to scale.

Seeing a simple dream like that come true after sitting in my head festering for many years has a calming, stress-relieving affect.

When I see the opportunity to do something, I try not to hesitate now. I don’t talk myself out of it (unless it costs way to much). I have had to many instances where I could have done something and I didn’t. This is where regret comes in.

I’m sure not every dream will come true but I will do my best.

Hopefully this post makes sense and is not a bunch of rambling…..

Rules of Acquisition #301: Crazy People and Their Crazy Ideas

The 301st Rule of Acquisition states that “Only Bugsy Could Have Built in Vegas”.

Background & Interpretation:

In the 1991 film Bugsy, Warren Beatty portrays the mobster Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegal. The portrayal is based somewhat on the real life mobster of the same name. The film makes the character seem manic, if not bi-polar.There are many unspoken references to mental issues regarding Siegal. Bugsys erratic behavior (and arguable mental illness) eventually leads to his undoing. In the process of his downfall was the semi-fictional proposal and development of the Flamingo Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. I say semi-fictional because the real life project was actually spearheaded by a man named William Wilkerson (whom Siegal assisted). Construction of the casino/hotel was a budgetary nightmare. A budgetary nightmare funded with mob money. The budget overruns stemmed from changes and elaborate improvements to the design of the Flamingo made by Bugsy. These issues were compounded by poor accounting practices.

As we all know, gambling with the mob is like fighting with women. Its good to have a friend around when you lose. Unfortunately for Bugsy, they ran for the hills long before his murder.

Siegal never got to see his crazy idea turn into billions in revenues over the decades for the Flamingo. His idea helped turn Las Vegas into one of the worlds premier tourist destinations.

Within the fictional portrayal of Bugsy lies the basis for the 301st Rule of Acquisition and the lesson that sometimes with craziness, comes profit. Only the manic, bi-polar character (or similar real life counterpart) could have glanced at an empty wasteland and see dollar signs. A diamond in the rough. A small oasis of paradise within the borderlands of hell.

Only a true profiteer can see the proverbial “gold in the mine” where others see only death and despair.

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Fake Bugsy (above) with real Bugsy below.

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Do you remember the late 90’s ad campaign for Apple? “Think Different” was the tag line. In the ads it stated that “the only people crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do.” against a backdrop of individuals such as Albert Einstein and Ghandi. Steve Jobs proved to be one of them time and time again. He was the Bugsy of the computer industry. Perhaps with fewer mental health issues.

Jobs created pieces of technology that are so desirable people will literally kill for them. Why does an iPhone cost $600? Because people are willing to pay that much for it.

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Implementation:


The use of this rule should be done sparingly. As you don’t want to necessarily be labeled “crazy” when dealing with other business people. The “craziness” (for lack of a better term) should be focused and goal-driven. The last thing you want to do is have people write off many good ideas because of a bad reputation. This is especially important if you do not own the business. If you have to propose these ideas to others above you, make sure your crazy side takes refuge in your office during your presentation.

Also, more importantly, don’t go over budget. Especially if your funded by the mob!

“Poor people are crazy. I’m eccentric”

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Hey! Its that girl from the bus!!