Shoot All Your Rabbits

When Richard Branson, billionaire founder of Virgin Group, was 9 years old, he got the idea of planting and growing Christmas trees early in the year to sell for a profit in December. He figured that a pound of seeds cost £5 (British pounds) and would produce 400 trees that he could sell for £2 each, giving him a whopping £795 in profits.

After planting all the seeds, he discovered 2 major problems. The first was that the trees would take over 18 months to grow tall enough to sell as Christmas trees, leaving him unable to profit from his efforts for nearly 2 years. Second, the rabbits on his Christmas tree farm kept eating the seedlings. To solve the 2 major issues, he started shooting the rabbits and selling them to local butcher shops for a profit instead, saving his trees and giving him some profits to enjoy in the short term.

Unless you’re literally starting a Christmas tree farm yourself, “shooting the rabbits” is a metaphor for how successful entrepreneurs operate. They “shoot” (eliminate) all of their “rabbits” (problems), turning them into opportunities for profit the minute they show up.

When our big annual Boot Camp event – which costs us over $1.5 million to produce and generates over $3.5 million in sales – was forced to shut down due to Covid in 2020, we “shot the rabbits” and turned it into the single biggest virtual event in our industry, with over 5,400 attendees, and continued to profit from the virtual event platform we built, saving our bacon and giving us a way to continue to profit for that entire year.

Every negative situation, problem or setback you experience can be made WORSE with poor choices and crappy decisions, or turned into a positive, forcing you to go in a different direction. YOU get to DECIDE which response. There have been many times in my life when I’ve benefited from what seemed at first an impossible situation or major setback initially, only to discover later it forced me down a different path or to take a different approach that only made for more profits.

Of course, this is not how most operate. Any problem or setback is seen as an excuse to kick the proverbial “goal can” down the road to deal with later. Setbacks are simply accepted, with no URGENCY to respond, decide and MOVE on a different plan of action. Eventually, the situation is just accepted as is. As Malcolm X once said, “That which you do not HATE you will eventually tolerate.”

Right now, the MSP industry is in boom times, with more businesses outsourcing IT services and security due to the ever-expanding dependence businesses have on technology, cyber-attacks constantly increasing and the giant thumb of government coming down on all industries to initiate stronger, more complete cyber-protections. Yet, the 80-20 rule still applies. Nearly 80% of the MSPs out there are not growing, not profitable and not thriving. How can this be?

Because human nature is human nature. Most have never and will never make a real, serious commitment to grow and profit. They do NOT act decisively and with URGENCY when something threatens their plans. They’re in acceptance.

In talking to one of my members about the fact they were already well behind the goals THEY set for themselves this year, I asked why. What I heard was a loooong list of things that were needed and reasons why they hadn’t gotten it done. I don’t have a list. I don’t have a marketing manager. I don’t have a salesperson in place. I’ve been buried with projects.

To demonstrate that all of this was NOT a lack of resources but a lack of resourcefulness, I used the Halbert “talk” he used to determine what you’ll do when truly and appropriately motivated, revealing that most people’s failures are not due to not knowing what to do, but to a lack of sufficient motivations. The talk (which is HARSH but very effective at making a point) goes like this…

Let’s suppose I kidnapped one of your kids as a motivation to get you to perform. I give you a deadline of one week to get no less than 2 appointments with new prospects (your stated goal), or the kid loses a finger, and you get to try again, but the next week you have to get 4 appointments because you failed to get the 2 you were supposed to get the previous week. If you fail again, they lose another finger. This will continue for as long as necessary.

Now, here’s the question: If you had that level of motivation, would you wait to build a list, hire a marketing manager, hire a salesperson, get your campaigns organized, revamp your website, etc., etc., etc., OR would you clear your calendar for today, pick up the damned phone and start making some calls, sending some e-mails and getting after it. Today. THIS MINUTE. The answer is YES, of course I would just start making calls, and YES, I’d get those 2 appointments come hell or high water, working around the clock nonstop, with urgency, passion and total commitment.

I then pointed out to this MSP that the failure to hit your goal is not a lack of resources, time, money or know-how. It’s a total lack of motivation. There’s no urgency. You have to be willing to shoot ALL your rabbits. Now. Today. With decisive, fast action. Otherwise, those damned rabbits, like ALL excuses and setbacks, will eat all your aspirations and destroy your profits.

The commitment to generate positive results and hit your goals under negative circumstances is one of THE most powerful decisions you can make.

Just as successful entrepreneurs turn setbacks into opportunities, Boot Camp is where you’ll learn to transform challenges into triumphs for your IT business. Let’s conquer your hurdles together. Get your tickets here now:

There’s no doubt about it: Robin Robins has helped more MSPs and IT services companies to grow and prosper, liberating them from stagnation, frustration, drudgery and low incomes. For over 20 years, Robin has been showing MSPs and IT services firms how to implement marketing plans that attract higher-quality clients, lock in recurring revenue streams and secure high-profit contracts. Her methods have been used by over 10,000 IT services firms around the world, from start-ups to multimillion-dollar MSPs. For more information and a FREE copy of The MSP’s Ultimate Guide To IT Services Marketing And Lead Generation, go to


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