Once upon a time in the town of Pleasantville there lived a young man named Elmer. Elmer was a hard working guy who labored for years working for the local manufacturer in Pleasantville. It was hard work, long hours, little vacation time, and Elmer wasn't making enough money to satisfy his needs to "get ahead”. His wife complained that he wasn't earning enough money. She was unhappy, too. Over the evening meal, Elmer would often complain to his wife, “I did everything I was told to do. I listened to my teachers who told me to get good grades, graduate, get a job, work hard, save money, and you will 'get ahead' in the long run."

"But, you know what, Sarah", he would lament night after night, "it isn't working out like I was told it would. The only people getting ahead are the ones who own a business."

His wife and Elmer discussed this topic for some time, and then one evening after a hard day in the factory in which he was disciplined by his boss for not producing enough, Elmer told his wife that he had had enough. He was going to "go for it" before it was too late for him. He was going to go into business.
His wife was skeptical, but she certainly understood why Elmer wanted to make this move.

So, Elmer shopped around for a product to sell to the public. After talking to manufacturers for several months, he identified a product he could sell to the public. Let’s just call it Elmer’s Widgets. Elmer rented a small store front for a cheap price along Main Street. He stocked his store with Widgets, hung his sign in front of the store, and waited for customers. He waited for several days before someone came into the store to look around. Over the weeks, only a few customers ventured into Elmer’s store. The sales were low, and he became doubtful. Even more weeks went by, and Elmer’s frustration grew. He vented his frustrations to his wife over the evening meal. He just couldn’t understand why his business wasn’t taking off as he had hoped. He was thinking of dropping the whole thing and settling with notion that he might have to spend the rest of his life working for someone else.

Now, just about the same time, a fellow by the name of Hagar, who worked at the very same manufacturing plant as Elmer, came up with the same idea as Elmer had birthed just a few months previous. Hagar, too, was frustrated with working long hours for someone else and getting little pay for his hard work. So, he, too, after long discussions with his wife and fellow businessmen, decided to go into business for himself.

But, Hagar had a different approach than his co-worker, Elmer. Like Elmer, Hagar thoroughly researched products to sell to the public -products that the public, and especially the folks in Pleasantville, could use on a regular basis. He discovered some products that he felt had a mass appeal. Let’s call them Hagar’s Widgets. So, Hagar, too, rented a cheap store front across the street from Elmer. And, like Elmer, Hagar hung his sign out for everyone to see. But, then Hagar did something different than Elmer. You see, Hagar had saved up a little money to create a monthly budget to promote his business. You heard that right – to promote his business. He contacted the local advertising agency and contracted with them to run ads in local newspapers about his business. He even contacted a news reporter to do a feature article on ‘Hagar’s Widgets’. He contacted all the free sources in his area to advertise his store in that medium. He bought some radio ad time, and even purchased some air time on the local TV cable network in Pleasantville. He had flyers made and posted them all around Pleasantville. He contacted the local BBB, and arranged to do a short presentation to the group about his business. He joined the local business organization. He posted ads on the Internet for local audiences about his store. He contacted the local lodges to speak to them about his store. He even sponsored a local bowling team and had bowling shirts made with his Store Inscribed on the shirt. He talked to everyone about his business every chance he had.

How much did this cost Hagar? Well, let’s put it this way. Hagar had researched building businesses, and he understood one of the most vital forces in building any business – momentum. You see, Hagar knew, that like a huge locomotive, it takes tremendous effort to get the huge train moving from a standstill. But, once it begins to roll, it becomes harder and harder to stop because it builds momentum and inertia. Hagar understood that to build a business, you need to invest energy in the form of personal time and money to get the business rolling and to build momentum. He understood, too, that you need to be disciplined to work within a prescribed budget, just as the fireman on the locomotive needs to maintain the right amount of fuel for the locomotive. Like fuel, money invested in the business builds the momentum of the business until it reaches a point that it runs pretty much on its own.

So, as the sun slowly sets over the town of Pleasantville, and as both storekeepers close up for the day, how do you think each did when they go to the cash register to get the daily readout? What do you think?






 
 
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