Ask Questions

 

When two brothers, named McDonald, ordered eight multi-mixers for their hamburger stand in San Bernardino, California, Ray Kroc, a multi-mixer machine salesman, knew he was on to something. He acquired the rights to the McDonald name and opened his first franchise in Des Plaines, Illinois in 1954. The rest, as they say, is history. Ray Kroc, in his fifties, seized the opportunity that was staring him in the face. It was not a complicated concept: hamburgers, French fries, and milkshakes. Today, the average McDonald restaurant franchise brings in a $1.4 million per year.

 

Ray Kroc asked questions about the business he was interested in, how things work, the economy, etc. He created a business model based on his findings by asking questions about the business and what keeps the customers coming back for more. It turned out to be a basic business that money makes money hand over fist. It doesn’t matter what the business is. It can be a product or service, and when you add your value and expertise to the mix, you can be very successful. However, making money is at its core.

 

Another example is a research chemist, Neil McCarthy who started investing in the stock market in the 70’s when he was 34 years of age. When stocks went down, he purchased more contributing to his IRA and 401K. His employer matched it 100% giving him risk-free money. It was during the 90’s bull market when he received a huge payoff because his stock doubled in three years, allowing him to reach $1 million.

Even though he asked questions, he avoided technology companies because they didn’t make sense to him. He saw amazing price-earnings ratios of 200-300 but thought it was all nonsense. His practical investing style saved his millionaire status when the market crashed. Neil retired in 2000, taking a retirement payout in one lump sum, however, just before interest rates fell, he invested part of his money in an immediate annuity that earned a much bigger payout that if he had chosen the company’s pension annuity. Neil’s best advice that made all the difference for him is if you wait to pay out of what is left over from your salary, it most likely will not happen. Pay yourself first.

 

pay yourselfopport

 

You must be realistic about your capabilities and the opportunities available to you right at this moment. Making money is a craft and the more questions you ask and effort you put into it, the more you will learn and improve over time. It is possible to take an idea and gradually build it up into something of substance, but make sure you understand the difference between possibilities and probabilities in your approach to making money. You need to assess the possibilities by asking questions and not simply fantasize about them. success in life

 

success in life

 

Challenge the status quo and always make an effort to do better.  Asking questions such as “Why can’t you do it this way?” or “What can’t we do this better?” will motivate you to move forward. In 2005, Sheri Schmelzer was a stay-at-home mom who decided to get creative with her Croc shoes. These shoes have holes across the top and Sheri, armed with rhinestones and clay, created a huge selection of designs that would fit into the holes. It was her husband who saw the potential in her creative idea and within weeks, set up a website to start selling them online.

 

With their new company in place, Jibbitz, they were able to tap into a home equity loan. Before long, the accessories were sold in stores and by the year 2006, sales had reached $2.2 million. Eventually, they sold their company to Crocs for $10 million and were promised another $10 million if sales reached a specific goal. Sheri will tell you that the growth of their company was organic without any marketing or advertising.

 

Good questions can move your organization, career or business forward. Asking questions can give you the insight you never thought possible. Don’t be embarrassed to be direct as you can miss out on opportunities to grow. When you ask a question, make an effort to not keep rambling on. Listen to the responses that you receive. Learn how to be comfortable with silence. This will give your respondents a chance to think. You won’t get answers if you keep talking.

 

Inspiration came at the grocery store for the founder of Honest Tea. A professor at Yale School Of Management, Dr. Barry Nalebuff was simply looking for a great- tasting glass of tea. There were dozens of beverage options available but they were either high in sugar, full of chemicals or simply water. He thought there should be a beverage that was low in sugar and calories without a high cost. Dr. Barry knew that tea was the world’s least expensive beverage and teamed up with a student, Seth Goldman, to create Honest Tea in twenty-six days selling it to Coca-Cola. His piece of advice is that if there is something in this world that annoys you, look at it as an opportunity.

 

If you are thinking about starting a virtual company, there are some questions that you need to get answered depending on where you choose to operate your business. If you have a company in the United States, you will pay self-employment tax on your income. However, if you are living overseas and have a U.S. company, it makes more sense to launch a company where you live simply because it will be easier to conduct daily business, open a bank account and work with clients in the same country where you live. However, you could eliminate the U.S. self-employment tax if you lived in another country, leaving you more money to infuse into your business.

 

Don’t be afraid to stop a conversation and ask the right question as opposed to nodding along in ignorance. You can steer the conversation in the direction you want it to go and that will help prevent those who simply like to ramble on. You can also clarify statements before the conversation gets too far ahead to go back. Be polite and use questions if you need to interrupt the conversation. Most people will not be upset by interruptions when you let them continue to talk. In fact, additional questions make people feel like you are really listening to them.

 

One well-known person who is good at listening to people is Richard Brandson, one of the richest men in the world. He owns over four hundred companies and worked for every penny. He started out selling Christmas trees, never got a college degree and suffered from dyslexia. This led to poor performance in school but he realized that he was good at connecting with people. He worked for a variety of businesses and made his first million dollars when he started a recording studio, now known as Virgin Records.

 

He continued to pursue a variety of businesses and now owns his own private island.

 

It is sometimes necessary to probe for answers through multiple angles before getting the information you are seeking. It won’t look bad if you ask questions that clarify what is being said, as long as you are sincere. You can also restate the answers back for more detail or clarification. There is no point in pretending you know something when you don’t. Your goal is to gather information and the worst question is the one that is left unasked. Asking questions is the one conversational tool that will make you a better millionaire.

 

Look at Elon Musk, born in South Africa, who has impacted the world in a variety of industries. At the age of 12, he learned computer programming on his own, creating a video game code that he sold for $500. Eventually, he ended up in the U.S. where he got a bachelor’s degree in Physics and Economics. His entrepreneur spirit steered him to starting SpaceX, a space travel company, and Tesla Motors. He was instrumental in founding PayPal, one of the most well-known payment processing services and is now worth over $12 billion.

Follow your gut instead of relying on what other people have done before you. You will not always have the right answers, but you can rely on your instincts that will help you discover new perspectives and new approaches that your competitors are not doing. Not following the mold has worked for some of the most successful companies in the world.

 

QUICK TIP: Be willing to ask dumb questions. There is an ancient Chinese proverb that states, “He who asks a question remains a fool for five minutes. He who does not ask remains a fool forever.”  Do NOT be afraid to ask questions. There is plenty of knowledge to be gained that will broaden our horizons beyond anything you ever thought.

 

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