When this quintessential entrepreneur spoke at an event in Savannah, something profound landed on the audience, "I'd rather have a fast no than a slow yes." In the age of speed, that sounds like advice to heed when considering time and opportunity.
Michael R. Bennett is the founder and owner of Bennett Hospitality. He started in the hospitality business in 1977 with an entrepreneurial venture he called "Free Wheelin.” His shoestring operation rented bicycles and mopeds when he was a junior in college. Not one to sit idle, he bought one property with a self described, "passion for creative financing." He then bought a second property the next year. He grew until he lost it all and then built a present day empire. He developed a hospitality company of 16 hotels and 8 restaurants in four states; South Carolina, Georgia, Florida and Montana. Mike has an additional 8 hotels in development and over 6 restaurants in the pipeline.
According to his website, "With vision, passion and energy Bennett Hospitality is attacking when others are sitting idle. During the recession years of 2006-2011 Bennett Hospitality grew at a tremendous pace. Buying existing partners, hotels and future development opportunities is what sets Bennett Hospitality apart from its competitors. When others are selling, BH is buying, and when others are buying BH is sitting tight."
Mike's saying, "I'd rather have a fast no than a slow yes," can teach each of us about our own treatment of time and opportunity.
There is a disturbing divide in how people are respecting their own time/opportunity relationship. On one side are the "Now Responders." On the other are the "Later Responders." The single most impressive Now Responder I've come across is Mark Cuban. Word on the street? If you emailed Mark with an idea he would respond. He has no clue who most of his inquisitors are. Last year, I emailed email@example.com about televising high school arts magnet performances as part of reality programming. Zap! The response came back with a well thought out "No" explaining he would pass, due to the production costs and lack of demand for such a program."
The "Later Responders" are seemingly growing further apart from the Now group. Time/opportunity trends we are witnessing include:
- Invitations for a group meeting have to be repeatedly sent causing us the dreaded 'follow-through-time-suck.'
- The receivers of the email cause a cascade effect of confusion with others involved.
- The receivers cause themselves clutter in their own email responsibilities.
- We pick up the not-too-subtle insult, "My time is more important than yours."
- Those with multiple responsibilities are stacking tasks with the assumption everything will go as planned. Hence, we're seeing an increase in last minute cancelations and then the cluster of the 'follow-through-time-suck' starts all over again.
Yes, it is anecdotal that Mike Bennett and Mark Cuban are both wealthy Now Responder advocates. But why don't we each take a look at our own life and be honest with how we treat time and opportunity. Take a hard look at the potential damage we may be causing as we choose to respond at a later time.
With a Now Responder approach you may find yourself having the luxury of spending more time on quality opportunities. Your empire awaits.