- November 25, 2013
- Posted by: Topher Morrison
- Category: Blog, Business Tips, Life as a Professional Speaker
A few days back I posted on Facebook that I bought a new vehicle. Almost immediately someone asked me what I got and the bait was set. I told them to guess and the hint was that I only like buying the best. As predicted these were some of the guesses: Bentley, Tesla, Porsche, Mercedes, Aston Martin, Jaguar, and Audi just to name a few. Perhaps more insightful than the guess of the vehicle was the reasoning that some people posted… associating words like “wealth” and “success” to the makes and models.
Especially for startup small businesses, but even for up and running companies, one of the biggest mistakes an entrepreneur can make is wasting a lot of money on an expensive vehicle. They usually stretch the payments out over 5 years which immediately means they are spending outside of their means (if you can’t comfortably finance a car for less than 3 years you are spending too much). They rarely consider the monthly insurance costs and fuel charges associated with luxury brands. But none of this matters. Do you know why? Because most entrepreneurs have justified buying these types of vehicles by saying things like, “I have to make a good impression on my customers.” I am quite certain that is absolute bullshit. Realtors? Financial Planners? I’m looking at you especially! If you need to impress your customers, you know what would really impress a savvy business person? A Nissan Altima, or a Toyota Camry – something conservative yet nice. It says you don’t waste your money on stupid investments. If your clients are so well-to-do that you need to impress them with your car, a BMW or Mercedes still won’t do it. They will probably think to themselves, “Oh how quaint, they are trying to look all grown up by spending money on this car.. I have 3.” If you really do need to blow away your customers like so many Realtors and Financial Planners think they do, then rent a limo from my friend Jeremy at BLU Moon Elite Transport and show them their future homes or take them to Starbucks in style. Then drive home in a Prius.
I’m not saying don’t spend your money on exotic cars and big homes. Go for it. Once you are established and far into profitability. Until that time, be smart, be conservative, and pinch your pennies. ALL companies, even successful ones go through cash flow issues from time to time. And the month, season, or year your company comes up short, you’ll be very grateful you are driving around in something conservative and affordable. And if you can arrange your life in a way like I have mine… try buying one of these. This is my new top-of-the-line vehicle. A Trek Mountain Bike, Gary Fisher Sugar 2 Model. It sold new for $2400. I bought mine on Craigslist.com for $500 and I didn’t have to finance it…. the insurance for it came with my home… and it gets amazing gas mileage – better than any car on the market. and the bonus? It’s healthy exercise every day.