On Business Dave Says Be a Tortoise

Dave Ramsey
Posted: Mar 02, 2013 12:01 AM

Dear Dave,

I’m a general contractor, and I was recently offered some business by a large corporation. I’d need new equipment to handle the job, and the purchase would use most of my cash flow. I’m wondering if the opportunity is worth the risk.


Dear Wayne,

I’m glad you realize that, on the surface, not all growth is good growth. The number-one thing that causes small businesses to fail is accounting and cash-flow problems. The second biggest thing is that they grow too quickly and fall in on themselves. Owners are sometimes scared to turn down anything, so they take everything that’s offered, and things grow and grow and grow. The problem with that is it can become impossible to keep infrastructure, leadership, management and equipment in line with what you need to do the job right and keep the company running smoothly.

Working with a large corporation could mean good money. You said you have the cash available, but at the same time, it could put you in a bind financially. So, in my mind if the existing business has to suffer, you’re probably biting off more than you can chew at the moment.

Think about this. Maybe you could start out on a smaller scale with the corporation that wants to work with you. At the same time, you could begin looking for someone to help manage things in this area. From a leadership perspective, as well as emotionally, intellectually and logistically, it’s impossible for one person to carry the entire load of running a company and do everything well.

Regardless, I think there are enough reasons to back off and take it slow. You just don’t have the resources to pull this thing off right now without jeopardizing your business. Remember the tale of “The Tortoise and The Hare”? Every time I read that story, the tortoise wins. The hare is always running around, looking flashy, but he never finishes the race.

Take your time and go a little slower, Wayne. It’s okay to be the tortoise! 




(Is multi-level about money?)

Word count: 315



Dear Dave,

I got myself into a multi-level marketing group several months ago. I’ve heard that a lot of people in this organization are making good money, but I’m not one of them. At this point, I’m not sure if I want to stick with this type of business. Can you give me some advice?


Dear Mary,

First of all, you’re only being told about the ones who are making good money. Lots of people who become part of these organizations don’t earn a lot because they don’t have the proper skill set to succeed in that kind of environment. The big earners are the ones who are good salespeople and good recruiters.

It sounds to me like you’ve already discovered that selling the product you’re selling isn’t where the money can be found. The money is in recruiting others into the organization. So, you need to ask yourself if recruiting and building a high-turnover, large sales organization is what you want to do for a living.

Take a look at the future, and see if you can envision yourself with 50 to 100 people in your hierarchy, knowing that a certain percentage of them will disappear every 90 days or so. A lot of people like the idea of making money, but they don’t want to do the hard work and make all the contacts to get a large number of people to join the organization. In this type of scenario, you have to know that you want to be a recruiter and trainer, and you have to want to grow other recruiters and trainers of salespeople. If that’s your thing, then you can make some money in a multi-level company. Stick with it, and build up your hierarchy.

But if you’re looking to simply make a little money by doing something on the side, you should probably look somewhere else.


*Dave Ramsey is America’s trusted voice on money and business. He’s authored four New York Timesbest-selling books: Financial Peace, More Than Enough, The Total Money Makeover andEntreLeadership. The Dave Ramsey Show is heard by more than 6 million listeners each week on more than 500 radio stations. Follow Dave on Twitter at @DaveRamsey and on the web at daveramsey.com.