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Old April 25, 2003, 08:06 AM
Posts: n/a
Default Perhaps?

> Hi Mike,

> That was a great post....

> I thought the part about Multiple Streams of
> Income was interesting. However, when I read
> them, it made me think about Richard
> Branson. He seems to be the opposite
> example, perhaps of someone who takes
> "multiple streams of income" to
> the extreme.... His "Virgin" brand
> name is in many different industries. Even
> from his early days, he was diversifying....

> His first venture was "Student"
> magazine. Then, he had the idea of selling
> music albums (in the pre-CD days for you
> youngsters) by mail. He advertised this in
> his own "Student" magazine, and
> soon it eclipsed the magazine. Eventually,
> the magazine folded, but the mail-order
> record business survived.

> Now, I wonder... If he hadn't experimented
> with selling the records through the mail,
> and instead had "focused" on the
> magazine, would he have survived? The
> magazine could have folded, and he would
> have been out of business.

> One way to look at Doris Christopher's story
> might be that she was a bit
> "lucky".

> You said that she never did any market
> research, and so on. She started one
> business, and stuck with it, and she's still
> doing the same business 23 years later
> (though on a much larger scale). It sounds
> to me like she was very lucky - she hit on a
> "winner" with her first shot. But
> how common is that?

> Now, what if her first business was not one
> that was viable. Nobody, let's say, was
> interested in her products. In that case,
> would she still be where she is today? Or
> would she have given up and gone back to
> teaching?

> I think the main benefit of experimenting
> with multiple streams of income is it gives
> you little "windows" into many
> different businessses. Then you can compare,
> and see that one business is better than
> another.

> For example, in Richard Branson's case, he
> was in the magazine publishing business. But
> he "experimented" with the mail
> order records business. He found his
> magazine wasn't viable, but his mail-order
> records business was. So he folded the
> magazine biz, and kept the mail order
> records business going.

> To me, this is the "correct" way
> to use multiple streams of income. Keep what
> works, and ditch what doesn't.

> I actually think this is "safer".
> That's because not everyone is going to be
> as "lucky" and get a
> "winner" with their first
> business. Many people "strike out"
> several times before they hit on a winner -
> Richard Branson is one example, but it seems
> to be a common story.

> I really did like your article and thought
> it was EXTREMELY valuable.... But I read it,
> and Richard Branson sprang to mind, and
> raised these questions....

> A part of me wonders whether it's a
> personality thing....

> Perhaps SOME people do better when they
> stick with just one thing. And perhaps
> others do better when they have their
> multiple little windows into many
> businesses, so they can see what works best.

> - Dien Rice

Focus is an important ingredient. As I've read and heard before - if you try to be everything for everyone, you'll end up being nothing to everyone.

I would venture to say that both of the people discussed here focused on something... Doris found what worked for her and decided to focus on that. Branson's strength and focus was in the marketing of a business and not necessarily the products themselves which may explain why his ventures cut across a number of different industries (from telecom's to airlines).

I think the examples described indicate that the question of whether or not to multi-stream isn't valid unless you consider whether it leverages a core strength or advantage you have. If it does leverage some advantage or strength and doesn't detract from what you have or other more worthwhile opportunities then its probably a good risk. Multi-streaming that doesn't build upon some advantage would be relatively less attractive.

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