Council Post: Understanding Entrepreneurship Through A Car Framework

Yuzuru Ishikawa is the director of Globalcube and a non-executive director of Kesae Total Balance.

When I am just starting a new business, I think it’s helpful to consider a car framework with four parts: choosing a ride, accelerating, stepping on the brakes and getting out. This framework gives me clarity on how far I can go, how much I can push and more, so that I can make a sound judgment. Using this framework also helps me face the situation and make an objective decision without being swayed by emotion.

I’ve found this comparison is most helpful in situations with uncertainty. I wouldn’t care about these four elements if I was confident the business was doing really well or if the business was already successfully operating with half automation.

1. Choosing Your Ride

Choosing your ride means deciding which business to get involved with. Many people make decisions that are influenced by the past experiences of their life, such as starting a business in their favorite industry. Time is limited, so you also need to carefully choose how long you want to be involved with the business. Once the business can run without you, I suggest to take yourself out of the operation and try a new business.

Personally, I choose the fastest vehicle to get to my ideal destination. For me, arriving at the destination is my top priority, and I don’t care what type of vehicle or what design gets me there. I am happy to do any type of business or play any type of role as long as being involved in that business takes me to where I want to be as quickly as possible. For example, I got involved with a honey business because I knew it would take me where I wanted to be. Eventually, I was able to half automate the business and become an advisor for three other businesses. But this only came after I gained those skills, resources and money from the original endeavor. Decide your priorities, and choose your ride.


2. Accelerating

Once you decide which car to drive, it’s important to increase the speed at the right time with the accelerator. Be careful not to ramp up your business until you test your formula on a smaller scale and make sure the result can be replicated again. On the other hand, avoid getting stuck in the same place just because you are hesitant to make a decision. 

There are various timing elements and steps to consider, but when I feel ready to step on the accelerator, I step on it fully. I have no hesitation because I know from previous experiences that if I don’t fully commit, I could get caught up in a situation without a breakthrough for the next couple of years.

3. Stepping On The Brakes

Make sure to hit the brakes at the right time. To my surprise, there are a lot of people who are not able to do this. I’ve found that some entrepreneurs don’t even consider slowing down when they start their business. I’ve seen many business owners who continue to step on the accelerator until an accident occurs. It’s important to evaluate your business path and what the effects of slowing things down or stopping might be.

If I think that I am approaching an accident, I use the brakes properly. And if I stop once, then step on the accelerator again, and I still feel an accident might occur, I will actually get out to avoid the situation. For example, in 2010 I started doing affiliate marketing as my side hustle. The business started off pretty well, but I put a stop to it after two years because I realized it was not taking me where I wanted. There is nothing wrong with affiliate marketing — it just wasn’t getting me to my desired destination in the way I wanted, so I hit the brakes.

4. Getting Out

Once you’ve started a new business, watch carefully to make sure everything runs well. You may have to make the decision to get out if you think you can’t operate smoothly with the skills you have. If you make a mistake in leaving, you may experience a lot of lost money and time in getting to your destination.

In some cases, I’ve decided to leave even when I managed to use the accelerator and brake properly. Some entrepreneurs continue to step on the accelerator until an accident occurs. I would rather get out of these situations and go look for another opportunity. I find that I rarely want to start a new business just because I am so attracted to an idea. Rather, I start a new business because the people I meet need help, and I believe I have found the solution for them. 

There are many ways to achieve success and many ideas you can implement as long as it leads you to the destination you want. For me, this framework of choosing the car, accelerating, stepping on the brakes, getting out — and eventually getting back on the road — increases my accuracy to get to my desired destination.

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