If you’d met John Lawson when he was a teenager, you might have been one of the kids who called him “cheap.” If you rode in his car, he’d ask you for gas money. If you came to a party at his house, he’d charge an entry fee.
“It’s not that I was cheap; I was just enterprising,” he recalls.
It’s that enterprising spirit that landed Lawson on the Small Business Influencer Champion list. These days, he may not be charging for gas money, but he’s still finding ways to make money. Lawson is the founder of the ColderICE.com ecommerce blog, consultant to small businesses on ecommerce, and CEO of urban clothiers 3rd Power Outlet, but he never planned to be the guru of all things ecommerce.
Years ago, Lawson was on the brink of bankruptcy when he had an idea for selling “urban accessories” online. It was a good enough idea to keep him from going bankrupt, and a business that continues to grow today.
The Key to Success
Every small business owner has a different answer when asked what the key to success is, but we all benefit from Lawson’s idea:
“The key to success is patience.”
Patience, persistence and understanding what he wanted all contribute to Lawson’s success as a CEO, keynote speaker and television personality. Business success, he says, is never how you dreamed it, and it never happens overnight. He’s got patience enough for the long haul.
Another factor in Lawson’s motivation is a quote from Wallace Fard Muhammed:
“Big fields are awaiting for the wide-awake man to work out.”
What he takes from this quote is that the world is wide open, and there’s no reason to box yourself into one area. “[This quote] opened my mind to possibilities that I could do things outside of what I had done in the past,” he explains.
Start With a Blank Page
Lawson makes a habit of focusing on the bigger picture of his business, not just the day-to-day operations. The best time to do this? Early in the morning, before his head is cluttered and when he is more conscious. He recommends all business owners do the same thing: Think about what you want out of your business, how you want to market it and where the business should be in a few years.
“Sit down by yourself in a room with pen and paper and just let your brain wander.”
Great advice for all of us.
John was recognized as a Small Business Influencer Champion for 2011. Read more of our Small Business Influencer Champion interviews.