Taking Care Of Business

Have you ever had it stuck to you by one of those hit and run types whose motto is “Business is Business?” Their trick is to never depend on return customers and to never try to do business tomorrow where they setup shop yesterday. It is a strategy best suited to those whose bottom line is merely the bottom line.

If instead, your bottom line depends on long term relationships with your friends and family, customers and co workers, be sure that they consistently get what they value and value what they get from you. The value factor is the key to a healthy bottom line.

Along with business based on value for value, your success also requires valuing planning and foresight. This is painfully obvious when business deals go sour, partnerships fall apart, old friends have serious misunderstandings, people accumulate too much debt, conflicts escalate, and when the bottom falls out. Failure simply does not play nearly as well as success.

Avoiding failure is not always all that easy; but it will improve your odds if you keep in mind that most any mess is easier to get into than out of. If your personal experience does not have you saying, “Ain’t that the truth!” you have lived a charmed life or maybe you just do not get it. For we mere mortals, though, “What the hell happened?” and more importantly, “WHICH way is out?” are not uncommon questions. “I should have known better,” and “I didn’t see it coming,” are not much help when you are stuck in the muck, with no way to escape. That is why you will do well to plan on how you will get out of the muck before diving in.

“But…,” says Doubting Thomas, “Anyone can have a run of bad luck and some people have all the luck,” he adds.

Sure, some lucky ducks were born with silver spoons in their mouths. In life’s great poker game, some people get better cards than others. It is enough to make you just sit down and cry. The old law of averages certainly does not apply to you. You wish. . .; and if cows could fly and if luck were really a lady, the world would be a fairer place. Even if it were not, at least you would get better cards. Keep on wishing. Maybe your luck will turn. Then again, maybe not. That is why simply going with the cards you are dealt is usually your best choice.

Still, it is a roll of the dice and you cannot do much about that fact of life, or can you? Grandpa had an opinion or two about luck and the laws of probability that may be well worth your considering before you roll those dice.

It was bright and early one morning when Grandpa found an exceptionally fine sea shell on the beach. I flippantly commented, “That was just dumb luck, your finding that shell.” He smiled and replied, “Yes, it was dumb luck for a guy who was already on the beach and looking before 6:30.”

Sure, luck and maybe even dumb luck at times play a big part in a lot of things. Things happen and you cannot control everything. Even so, you can make a point to be on the beach before 6:30 and can make the extra effort it takes to improve the odds for your success. The old timers like Grandpa have many techniques for improving their success odds and call them “smart luck.”

While we are on this luck thing, another point or two are worth considering. It does not end with always being on the beach before 6:30. You also have to be other places at the crack of the bat, on time, every time. As you know, the early bird catches the worm, you have to strike while the iron is hot, you should not keep opportunity waiting, and all that. It is timing, timing, timing, no doubt.

Well, okay. “Every time” may be a bit much to expect; but if you ask a shrink about this being on time thing, you will learn that if you are early, you are anxious. If you are on time, you are compulsive. If you are late, you are resisting. What you may not be told is that if you ask the people who have been waiting on you, they will simply tell you that your being late is wearing very thin.

Should anyone bother to ask you, it may be tempting to say, “You are making a mountain out of a molehill. If you want my opinion, your thinking that I should organize everything around you is ridiculous.” If that is your attitude about it and if you cannot or will not do what you say you will do, when you say you will do it, you might as well forget about anyone’s setting a time to meet you for a business deal or much of anything else, for that matter.

Okay, enough is enough. You get it! You are ready to succeed.

That is great! I knew you had what it takes. Before you venture forth into the jungle, though, you need to know a couple of things you may not have been told about Little Red Ridinghood.

Picture Little R R out there where any woods walker with half a brain would go prepared, ready to deal with wolves, big, bad, or not. Predictably, B B Wolf walks up to R R and says, “I’m having you for lunch!” R R says, “Oh! Don’t take advantage of poor little me.”

A lesser wolf would smile and say, “It’s a jungle out here and anyone who can’t handle it is out of luck.” With incredible self control, though, B B Wolf says, “Okay, but you better be prepared next time. I can’t guarantee you another free pass.” It is a dog eat dog world, sure enough; but as should be true for you, B B W is serious about success.

As with B B W, your commitment to your success will be seriously tested from time to time. For example:

• Joe says, “I am not comfortable with it yet.”

• Sam says, “Joe says he does not like it.”

• Bill says, “I hear it is over Joe’s dead body.”

• Ann says, “I can’t believe Joe is being so unreasonable.”

• Mike says, “Joe goes around acting like a little dictator.”

• Carol says, “There is no point in talking to Joe about anything. You can just figure he’s already made up his mind and you aren’t going to change it.”

So goes the rumor mill, with Joe serving as the grist. The rumor millwrights are out there, busily mongering; and if you opt to join them, you can forget about having your ticket punched for the next trip on the success train.