I am not sure how this fits into the financial target for this column, but I think it is important to celebrate success when appropriate. In the last week, I had the good fortune to meet with two clients that have worked with me for over a decade. Their story should prove to those that doubt the validity of the American dream that it is alive and flourishing. Both stories have similar characteristics, with distinctions. I am not going to be real specific as to what these gentlemen do, but I think you will find that good things come to those that work hard. In the first instance, my friend was working in Monroe, anticipating being a good and faithful employee that could move up in the management circles. A trade representative noticed his expertise and work ethic, and made him aware of an opportunity in a small college town in north Central Louisiana. For this family man with a good, well paying and secure job, the decision to risk everything to take over a business in an unknown town was a game changer. It is what makes this country great. He took the chance, mortgaged his family’s future and jumped in with both feet. He developed a reputation for quality products, personal relationships and service after the sale. When customers came in, he was often the first person to greet them. He was interested in their life stories and made efforts to develop the trust that results in future repeat business. He probably could not tell you how many hours he spent building his business in the early years, but, with his family’s support and understanding, he built his business into an enviable profit center. His decision to move out of his comfort zone proved to be the correct decision and allowed him to sell his business, providing for a secure retirement nest egg.
The next story is similar in that the entrepreneur gave up a secure job to start his own company with the belief that he could do the same work better than his previous employer. A one-man operation in a small town hired a small crew of workers and went looking for work. His demand for consistent results delivered on a timely basis caught the eye of contractors, and he soon became one of the best in his field. The relationships he has developed has resulted in crews working not just in Louisiana, but in surrounding states and even the north central part of the country. Two companies call him whenever and wherever they put up a new building. He demands excellence from his workers, but they know that he works with them, will defend them and will reward them for good work. As a result, he does not have to go looking for workers; they come to him, knowing that steady work is a good probability.
What can we learn from these two men? First, confidence in one’s ability to succeed is important. Investing the hours to build a business requires the support of family and friends. Don’t promise what you cannot deliver, but don’t underestimate your capabilities. Sometimes you have to step out into the unknown. Make sure your product is the best you can provide or produce, and back it up with responsible “service after the sale”. All of us will make mistakes. Owning up to them is important; denying them is fatal. Learn something new every day. Finally, some advice from Swindoll in his book, “Three Steps Forward”, concerning handling fears: “As they occur, admit them; as you admit them, commit them to God; as you commit your fears to God, release them. Then stand firm in God’s almighty, invincible strength”. If God is for us, who can be against us? (Romans 8:31).
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