From the Eye of the Potato: How complicated does a business have to be anyway? Well, here's how I got started when I was just a snot-nosed kid.
Paul Henderson is an old friend of mine.
I used to win a lot of marbles at school during the day.
After school, I'd go over to Paul's house where he, by his good shooting, arbitrary game rules, and if necessary “cheating, " would win all of my marbles.
This would make me very angry.
He would then give me 5 marbles back so that I could fill my pockets at school the next day and then let him “win" them from me again.
Sometimes his brother, Dick, would give me a can of marbles if he felt that I'd been ripped off too much.
I saw both of these gents at our 50th wedding anniversary party a couple of years ago. It was great to see them again.
Paul was born with “business" stamped in his brain. He was sharp, shrewd, and energetic. He used to tell me about every three minutes, “It's the middleman that makes the dough, Moe. You want to be the middleman. "
The kids in the neighborhood called me Moe then and sometimes still do. It was because of the haircuts Dad gave me. Like a bowl over the head.
After my college teaching and engineering career, I wrote a bunch of novels and started business on the Internet. I'm a middleman right now. I'm the executive representative for a company who handles most of my online orders. I just take the orders and submit them to the warehouse back east.
You probably heard Mel Brooks say in one of his movies, “It's good to be the king!" Well, it is good to be the middleman too.
Now if you are not fast asleep from that not so fiery introduction, let me tell you how Paul taught me about business.
One day, we decided that we wanted to build a big fire and brew up a big pot of stew. All we needed was the ingredients. So Paul said, “No problem! Grab the wagon and we'll get the money to buy not only the stew ingredients, but hot dogs, soda pop, and marshmallows too. "
We walked the few blocks past the state fair grounds and headed west along the highway. Then we picked up the beer and soda pop bottles along the road that carried a deposit.
When we had walked so far that the “next stop" was “Reno, " our legs falling off, we had a wagon full of bottles. We headed back to the corner grocer and collected the deposit.
But we needed more money.
This is when I learned about business. Instead of heading back along the highway, we headed for one of two junk yards located next to each other. Paul asked each owner how much they wanted for bottles. The winner of this bidding war was an old lady that looked either like a witch or “Dirty Nell. " Well, I guess she looked like both. Some of the kids in the neighborhood said she was a witch and cast spells on the unsuspecting.
We filled the wagon with bottles to overloading and paid the lady.
I can still see her smiling and dropping the coins into a long black coin purse with a nickel-plated snap lock at the top. The kids in the neighborhood knew that she hid that purse in her rundown shack, but they would never dare enter therein.
Off we went to the grocery store, trying to keep the bottles in the wagon as we bumped over the railroad tracks and the not so smooth sidewalk. TAt the store, we sold the newly purchased bottles for a penny or two more than we paid for them.
We repeated this process until our legs were stubs. Thankfully, Ken Horsely, who owned the store, said, “No More Bottles!"
He was running out of space to put them.
Paul looked disappointed, but I was glad to hear those words. It meant no more trudging back and forth across the railroad tracks to the junk yard.
I might note here, that before day's end, we were buying at both junk yards. We were big time operators.
Our business done for the day, we immediately blew almost all of our money on the stew makin's, the hot dogs, the soda pop, and the marshmallows.
Except for this: Paul held back some money for future operations.
We would not ever again have to go along the highway to get bottles for our seed money. We would (and did often) head for the junk yards instead.
Well, to say the least, we were very hungry and tired. After making the fire and preparing the stew, we thought the stew would never get done. Fortunately, we had the hot dogs to tied us over. Although Paul and I had done all of the work, we shared with all the kids in the neighborhood.
It was one big party!
Home Business Tip: Guard your startup capital like it is your life. It is!
A Tippy from Flippy: You know, you can learn from others. Don't be a know-it-all.
Keeping Up with the Jones': To keep up with the Jones', you might have to ‘peek into their window’ to see what they are doing. Don't like peeking? Well, somebody ought to know what they are doing. Didn't Max Snodgrass used to work there?
Fiddle Dee & Fiddle Dum: Pickin’ up bottles can lead to no small potatoes.
Can't Ya’ Get Goin'?: Sometimes you must learn to save before you can learn to earn. Drop that change into a jar. Put it in the bank at the end of every month. Watch it grow. When large enough, put it into CDs or some other better interest-paying media. Just don't start buying stock options.
All Things Come: If you will spend one hour each day studying about business, and thinking about what you have read, it will come!
Life Success Quotation: be benevolent in your dealings. People will know you for it. It will bring new contacts, new friends, and better business opportunities.
Business Success Quotation: Working in the community without compensation is a great way to obtain business compensation.
John Taylor Jones, Ph. D. , author of books and novels (http://www.tjbooks.com ), was a vice president of research and development of a Fortune 500 Company. He was a college professor at one time, teaching engineering at Iowa State University. Jones has nine to twelve web sites at last count. His main interest is in developing Beginning Wealth Builders (BWBs) and Experienced Wealth Builders (BWBs) through his position of Executive Representative of International Wealth Success founded by the famous Ty Hicks. At his e-commerce site, http://www.bookfindhelp.com , you find many books, kits, and newsletters to get the information and needed loan sources for many home- and office-based businesses. You can contact Dr. Jones at: firstname.lastname@example.org .