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The Fast Nickel vs the Slow Dime

Oct 26, 2007
I first heard about the this concept" early on in my investing days. Real estate people use it all the time as they would think about selling. Should I take less money now (fast nickel) or hold out for a higher price later (slow dime)?

I have applied this concept to all parts of my business life. I am always deciding between designing fast nickel models that generate immediate cash flow, or building long-term, slow dime relationships and scenarios that have a better chance of paying a much higher return over the long haul.

I decided to take a poll among some of my friends and colleagues to ask what they thought about this concept and which they preferred and why.

Boy! Talk about a loaded topic! The answers surprised even me, so I thought I'd share a few, and then chime in with my own.

"The way I see it, if your pipeline is stacked full enough, you have enough slow dimes coming in to maximize profit potential. The only reason to go for the fast nickel is out of desperation for work." ~Pete

"For me, the fast nickel beats the slow dime any day. So buck common wisdom. Take a fast nickel over a slow dime." ~ Judy

"Slow dime every time. Nickels usually wind up costing you a dime of effort anyway." ~Ed

"I more often will hold out for the slow dime. It's important to know I consciously decide with each deal what it will be. So there is not a straight answer except that I am usually looking for steady long-term residual income, so a slow dime." ~ Ken

"A fast nickel is better than a slow dime. McDonald's doesn't make much profit per burger, but they sell a lot of burgers and they make a lot of profit." ~ Jim

All interesting, right?

As for me, I have always used both concepts in my business. When times are slow, I go for the quick nickel to pump up cash flow, and when times are good I am always working on the next long term project.

I have always believed that cash flow is king and if you need cash flow, fast nickels are easier to come by than the slow dimes. I have built businesses intentionally on the fast nickel idea because it allowed us the time and good fortune to work on some longer-term opportunities. When customers have a positive experience working with you when the risk is lower, you can earn enough of their trust so they move with us into the slow dime level.

That being said, when you are able to create something of value to bring to the market place and it has long-term potential, I am a big fan of the slow dime- a return that continues to pay over and over turning lots of dimes into lots of dollars. You might ask why not go for the long term deals to begin with and forget the nickels. After all, once it's up and running, the slow dime business seems to be much less work than chasing the quick nickel. But we sometimes forget how long it took to build that long term business in the first place.
In my opinion it is nice to have a balance of both. This allows for a much calmer ride through the business cycles.
About the Author
Steve Kennedy is a successful entrepreneur and certified business coach who works with business owners and managers to achieve better results with less effort. For free small business resources and information go to: http://www.winningthegameofbusiness.com
New book:http://questforultimatesuccess.com
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