For Famous Wally Amos The Devil Was In The Details

Is it possible to be "too good" at what you do? Overwhelming success (or for that matter, no success) in business is something any business owner should be careful about. Why? Well, obviously if you are not finding any success at all you aren't going to be in business very long. On the other hand too much success has a tendency to lure business owners away from the basics that made them so successful in the first place. Read Jim Collins' How The Mighty Fall for great insight on this topic.

Consider what happened to Wally Amos
Having been bit by the entrepreneurial bug, Wally Amos, founder of Famous Amos chocolate chip cookies, borrowed $25,000 from several friends in order to get his cookie business idea off the ground. His unique recipe, presentation, and personal style were so immediately appealing to customers that over the next 4 years his cookie company was rapidly growing.

In 1974 Wally Amos kicked off the opening of his first store in downtown Hollywood with a huge party complete that included a red carpet, valet parking and even a steel drum band. His store was different in that he sold only cookies, specifically, only chocolate chip cookies! One year later he was also selling his cookies to gourmet grocery stores and upscale department stores. By 1978 he had several stores and two factories, and was making millions of cookies....and dollars.

However, as with so many entrepreneurs before him, Amos allowed huge success to lull him into a sense of comfort and complacency. Believing everything would always be great he turned the management of the company over to friends and moved to Hawaii to live his dream life. Unfortunately, with Amos' eyes off the day to day operations of the business, Famous Amos began to experience serious distribution problems, revenue losses, and high overhead. By the time Amos was made aware of these problems it was too late. In an effort to save the company he was forced to bring in more and more investors, and each time he did that he was giving up more of his own stake in the company. Ultimately, he was forced to sell what was left of his personal ownership in the company.

Wally Amos stopped doing the things that originally made his cookie business so successful. He stopped minding the details. He forgot that the devil is often hidden in those details. He also forgot that no one will ever care more about the business than the owner. When he removed himself from the inner workings of the business he missed seeing the problems that were coming. Problems hidden in the details of the business. Problems that cost him the entire business.

Think about your own finances. How involved in your own day to day finances are you, and what are the details telling you?

More Facts & Sources
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