The general store in Sierra City is a destination for weary hikers who stumble the mile and a half down Highway 49 from the Pacific Crest Trail.

They arrive tired and dusty and ready for food—any food that doesn’t come in a pouch with rehydration instructions.

And then they meet Larry.

Larry runs the General store and “cafe” that offers burgers in two sizes: very large and gut-busting.

But Larry does NOT know how to run a kitchen.

The line of tired and hungry hikers snakes through the store and out the back as Larry collects their orders and money. Every once in a while he takes the orders back to the kitchen. Maybe he drops one along the way, who knows.

The sequence in which you placed your order is in no way related to when you get your food.

Which wouldn’t be a problem if the kitchen were fast.

But it isn’t.

They make each order before making the next. So, there may be 10 burger tickets hanging on their ticket hanger, but rather than throwing 10 patties on the grill, they cook the first one completely before starting the second one.

This made for painfully slow delivery of mouth-watering sustenance.

Fortunately for Larry, his customers were exhausted and very hungry, and he was the only food within 30 miles. So everybody waited, long-faced and with the patience of people who had already walked days to get here.

What is another afternoon for a burger?

Larry is lucky. He has a true insurmountable, physical mote protecting his business. You probably do not.

(Larry does also live in a city with a population of 129, so there are trade-offs).

You have to (fn)create a mote. Your business should solve a problem that your customers want solved in a way that is easy for them to use. Larry provides hamburgers to hungry hikers with no alternative: what do you do?

Then, the only way you can make more profit over time is to create repeatable processes that work efficiently. This means creating, following, and improving SOPs that make up your business machine.

To do this, you have to:

1. Identify your target market. 

2. Identify a problem they have. 

3. Create a solution. 

4. Document the solution. 

5. Repeat the solution. 

Check out “how to turn knowledge into a business.”

Without the effort to create the business machine, you do work, cook one burger after the other, never get ahead, and always under the gaze of slightly annoyed customers.

Alternatively, if you would rather make slow burgers, the general store in Sierra City is for sale. You could always go for the “no alternative” mote…

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