My Marriott hotel of the last few days is located amongst many fine nationally known restaurants. Saturday night I was invited and agreed to have dinner with my client, Mr. and Ms. Smith, at their wonderful home. I have a soft rule; I don’t visit a client’s home (more on that another time).

As I am leaving my hotel parking lot to arrive at the appointed time, several minutes pasted before I could make a left hand turn onto a side street which lead to the main thoroughfare away from the congestion and on the way to my client’s home.

Why the delay, traffic was thick in that area around the hotel and at a stand still, because of too many cars wanting to enter restaurant parking lots that were already full and also had a line of waiting cars to enter.
Now the financial markets are crazy, major industries may fail, unemployment is on the rise and yet these restaurants were over booked. Observation; people are not hunkered down, we’re still buying coffee, going to dinner, discussing sports, debating politics, and oil prices by the way are decreasing, which is a natural market reaction. Point, we are still living, still doing business.

FYI, the dinner was wonderful, the conversation and mood celebratory, as we had just completed several days of rigorous business plan calculations, management training and final plan documentation.
Speaking of coffee; on the way to this client’s office on the first work-day, I stopped at a local bagel / coffee place to get my favorite ‘dark roast’ to go. There were two customers in front of me. And, I might mention that no more arrived during my visit. The first customer had received her order but ‘generation y’ was struggling with the cash register, needing to clear it and start over or something. A co-worker twin noticed and came to the rescue only to exacerbate the problem as they both pushed a myriad of buttons to no avail.

The co-worker ‘like’ gave up and thought it best to wait on customer number 2, which is when customer number 2 then decided to ask his preschoolers what kind of bagel they wanted. As the preschoolers minds where overwhelmed with dad’s questions about the two dozen or so options, i.e. “Do you want a sun-dried tomato, how about a honey roasted walnut?” All this time the owner is behind the bagel racks watching his business coming to a halt and doing nothing about it.

I confess; I do not have the patience of Job. This may have been evident in my body language because the owner came to the front and since the other two customers were being ‘helped’ asked for my order. I said coffee to go, he handed me a Dixie cup and said “that’ll be two dollars”. As I paid he said, “We have a jar in the front for when we’re busy like this, you can just drop in your two dollars, get your own cup and go”. Busy? Surely he meant inefficient. Nonetheless, I gave his business the benefit of the doubt until the subsequent events and his display of pound foolish.

The next day, I walked through the door with my two dollars in hand, dropped them into the pound foolish jar (not giving the owner an opportunity to greet me, up-sell me, offer me the special of the day, thank me for my business or to invite me to return), and went to pump my ‘dark roast’, which was missing. I had to get in line to ask for dark roast, thinking they had made some fresh which hadn’t been set out front yet. My request to the owner was met with, “We don’t have any today, try the Argentine Nut, it’s just like the dark roast”. Now in a coffee specialty operation, I might not be let down if they decided that my fav Argentine Nut was not worth the offer, but ‘dark roast’?

You’re not going to believe this but I stopped the third day and had exactly the same experience, except his suggestion that day was that a Sumatran Berry or some other name was the same as ‘dark roast’. I am not a rocket scientist, but growing up drinking the, cowboy strong sort of coffee, I know the difference.

Naturally, my point in sharing this, besides the ‘entertainment’ value is to point out the business obvious. I tried to give the local guy my money instead of a national chain. The national chain got my money on the fourth day.

Next, during a phone conversation recently with a ‘potential client’, I was told that he was going to wait on deciding to work with me to improve his not so profitable business. He added that he would proceed with the project when his business ‘picked up’. I thanked him for his consideration and said I looked forward to hearing from him.

That’s what I said, but what I was thinking is…I will never hear from him. His business will never improve with that kind of pound foolish thinking. He ought to be thinking about the next hundred thousand dollars of growth and how professional assistance would help his business get there.

If you want to be successful, you had better be thinking about the next hundred grand, not the next dollar or thousand or ten thousand. Stop worrying about where to buy less expensive copy paper or cheaper gas. It doesn’t matter in the big picture, and it sets a weak, static mindset.

Are successful people better than you? Luckier? No, they are simply disciplined, have a measure of humility and not pound foolish, but big picture thinkers. They look through the front windshield, not the rear view mirror, a telescope not a microscope. They don’t spend $2,000 of their time trying to save $50 on a new cell phone.

Success at this time, cries out for strong people who recognize value, whether or not it’s been previously budgeted, the timing isn’t perfect, the business will be disrupted, or any other excuse of justification for doing nothing.

Success will not wait for business to pick up or for a customer to give you a fourth chance.

The episodes of Sergeant Poppa, Woodrow, Cheyenne and Black Jack; When I arrived home from the airport the other day, pulling into the garage, I got out of the vehicle and heard a cat meow, repeatedly. Guess who? Black Jack got caught in the garage. He acted like nothing traumatic had happened. He didn’t even run to the barn to eat. Well, I then spent the rest of the evening feeding the ‘boys’ and doing some over due chores. Black Jack following or sometimes leading my foot steps the entire time.

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