The Extra Mile


CHALLENGES in life, in career, in relationships and in every other walk of life can be looked at in 2 directly opposite ways:

Some meek personalities shudder at the very thought of a challenge while the strong-willed ones can be seen rearing to go, with all their might and meet the challenge head-on.

What is the driving force or lack thereof that creates these diabolically opposite personality traits and how we can overcome the same to our advantage?

‘Sages on their respective Stages’ keep propounding their own theories like a magic potion that will help anyone in any situation by attending their seminars, workshops and training programs that are only self-serving by default. It is not my intention here to discredit the genuine, intuitive coaches that always strive to deliver more than 100% value.

Although personal experiences in life have given me enough opportunities to overcome challenges, one after the other that I could write a thesis on ways, means, tricks and techniques to outlast and outclass the competition. However, suffice it to say in this forum that some basic changes in our approach could turn the tide in our favor 9 times out of 10, GUARANTEED!

First and foremost, we need to have an uncompromising principle; mine is: ‘Always Go the Extra Mile’. This singular aspect of my approach forces me to think beyond the point where my competitor’s goals end. It helps induce the touch of extra effort in my motto: “Guide by Your Side; Not a Sage on the Stage”.

Develop the habit of generating extra energy, extra resources and an underlying desire to excel at whatever your assignment is at any given time. Build a resource bank of Patience (they say patience is a virtue, right?), resilience to face adversities and bounce back, concerted efforts and a winning attitude.

Here is a true to life example, a chapter from the book of my own life, as it happened:

In one of the many businesses that I founded and grew to astronomical heights, a particular one involved Real Estate: the actual buying and selling of residential properties with my own hard-earned money:

From a very humble beginning, I got to the level where I could buy my first investment property with a sumptuous down payment. It happened in India, in the early 90s. Population boom and a perennial shortage of housing created tremendous demand.

Property speculation was the norm those days as one could pay anywhere from 10 to 15% of the negotiated price of a property and take 1 to 3 months to arrange financing and complete the transaction. The word “MORTGAGE” did not exist in the dictionary in India. To buy a house, one had to have 100% of the purchase price readily available. In the event of failure you lost your deposit with no recourse to any resolution.

Most investors took advantage of the situation by flipping the already negotiated property within the remaining period and pocketing the profits. This is exactly the same thing what Chinese investors have been rampantly doing in Vancouver, British Columbia over the last few years, setting the prices of residential properties on fire.

In many of the above instances of speculative purchases, the supposed return failed to materialize as time will start to run out by the time the so-called ‘investor’ found a buyer deep pocketed enough to complete the deal and give them a sumptuous profit. It made such investments vulnerable to heavy losses at times.

Please allow me to use the “$” figure here instead of INR (Indian National Rupee) for easy reference.

Let us say, some speculator without readily available cash, gave a deposit of $30,000.00 on a $200,000.00 house by negotiating the purchase price at $185,000.00 and settled on a 3 month term to complete the transaction. In the event he failed to find a buyer within 60 days that is willing to pay $200,000.00 or more, the deposit money will stand to be forfeited. Minimum 30 days would be needed by the buyer to put together all his resources, right?

This is where I would come in and buy their at-risk investment at a cut-rate price knowing well in advance that I have only 30 days to complete this transaction. It allowed me to gain double advantage as I would pay $15,000.00 to this guy against his possible loss of the entire $30,000.00, thus landing the property for $170,000.00.

I never outstretched my investment capability by taking on too many risky deals and secondly, I re-negotiated an already bare-bones deal that the previous ‘investor’ had purchased.

My focus on distress properties like the one above, my preparedness to complete the transaction at a short notice, my up to the minute market intelligence (in its rudimentary form of yore) as well as the resilience to come from behind the scene and take advantage of the opponents’ weakness, all went in my favor.

Next comes the icing on the cake:

When it was time to put the property on the market, I had my well-crafted tag-line: “They all sell you a house I will give you a Home. You Choose the Interior Colors and the Drapes, I’ll Provide FREE Maintenance for 3 Years!”

End result: I sold over 500 houses in less than 5 years, a number well above the combined sales of 10 other ‘so-called investors’ in the given suburb. I Never Undersold!

Price I Commanded: 15 to 20% above going rate and that too; with a Smile!!!

Extra Cost: ‘On Demand Service Contracts’ with maintenance workers for after-hours or weekend repair jobs that provided them much-needed extra cash and I lowered my cost. It kept everyone happy, resulting in a Win-Win transaction! My average cost addition was between 2 to 3% for the frills I offered.

One of the BIGGEST GAINS for me was easy referrals that would trust no one other than Yours Truly for the biggest purchase of their lives: Their Dream Home!

You can do the calculation as you please…

I went the Extra Mile in:

  1. Studying the market trends to know the difference between a good purchase and an excellent one

  2. Exercising control, not to over-stretch my investing capability

  3. Keeping close watch on my competition and its predatory practices to better watch my own interests

  4. Preparing myself for sudden requirement of funds by making prior arrangement for short-term financing at favorable rates, if and when needed

  5. Gathering necessary intelligence on other ‘Investors’, their inventory of immediately available houses in a given price range and their tight spots

  6. Maintaining close relations with already satisfied clients in order to garner referral business (the most effective, no cost advertising that bears immediate fruit)

  7. Providing Unparalleled Customer Service At All Times without giving unnecessary attention to personal profits!

You can apply the above principles to any industry and see the difference for yourself. Even if you adopted half of these 7 steps, your Balance Sheet will show a marked improvement, Guaranteed!

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