It costs the soft drink Industry over $100 million a year for thefts committed involving vending machines.
*actual Coke vending robots!
Yet vending machines still exist for one simple reason. This is still a profitable business regardless of the theft.
So often in startup land we here people pointing out the gaps and potential issues in any business model we propose. The fact is no business model is perfect. Every business has gaps and potential issues which will impact profitability. There is always leakage, there is always some evaporation. What we need to focus on is the net result and understand if we can still make a profit regardless of the model imperfections.
5% of our customers wont pay on time
5% of our customers wont pay at all
5% of our employees wont deliver what they are paid to
5% of our employees will steal and or damage company property
5% of business partners will break contracts and even worse, not keep their word
5% the people we meet will be genuinly dishonest and painful to deal with
It’s the 5% rule. In fact quite often business discussion are too often focused on the 5% of times the business model will break down and we will get cheated in some way. The amount of strategy, board room and agency discussions I’ve had about the 5% of people who make business models and ideas imperfect are countless. The point for startups, no less any business, is to accept the fact that all models have gaps. And more often than not these gaps the doing of the 5% rule.
The problems with trying to remove the 5% is that we build gates and protections which often stuff up the 95% which is working. We create unnecessary friction. What we are better off doing is thinking about the problem like water evaporation. It’s going to happening, no matter what we try. But we must remember that the very large majority of people are good.
My advice is simple. Know that it exists, and forge ahead anyway.
Quite often I’ll be looking for a business solution. A solution to a problem. But most times I really don’t know what I am looking for until I find it. But when I see, hear it, or touch it, I know it’s exactly what I need. If I waited to start until I knew what I wanted, I think rarely would I find a solution at all.
I know it sounds crazy, but I really think we should get started before we know what we are looking for.