The focus on business, private business driven by an entrepreneurial spirit comes a little slow for a lad raised with the mindset of finding and holding onto a good job for ever and then retiring to golf or gardening.
How to start, build and grow a business was never, ever discussed at the dinner table at our house and it wasn’t until many years later that I ventured down that path of self discovery.
What I had forgotten in my fevered search and research into learning the best practices and procedures of a successful business venture before diving in was that I had already ran a successful business beginning at the tender age of 11. Needless to say this enterprise was engaged to primarily benefit my addiction for slot cars, plastic airplane models, movies and Dodger game tickets and totally rad bicycles.
I was an exceptional paper-boy at the Ventura Star Free Press for nearly two years, following all of the appropriate business strategies taught and or recommended. I followed the rules willingly and accurately with my daily duties as a sixth grader involving the following – Marketing to new customers, receipt of raw materials, packaging, timely and friendly delivery, billing and the collection of payments. All happily done on a bicycle good weather or bad and I honestly don’t remember it being all that difficult really. It was really fun!
“It isn’t that they can’t see the solution. It is that they can’t see the problem.” ~ C. K. Chesterton
What I can see more clearly now looking back at my very first seven-day per week routine for profit, I was a conduit to delivering the news and always part of the solution with such a unique service. There was no science to it really as it happened every day at approximately the same time, except for Sunday mornings delivery which commenced about 4:30 AM. Those papers were huge and it took about three separate trips loading my bags, making certain the tossed bundles were dry and easy to find.
There was an art to the proper folding or rubber banding daily editions depending on the number of pages and those pesky flyer inserts. Monday and Tuesday being my favorite with fewer few pages, simple wrapping and by far the most fun and accurate to throw. What I didn’t think of at the time was that innovation had become part of my business passion and ownership, that keeping costs low and improving production times via intuitive ideas simply made so much sense and pervaded the day-to-day grind.
I’m thinking that the opportunities today for a seasoned professional are literally endless, though I may need to step up from the bicycle delivery of goods. However, it’s quite apparent that the best case scenarios of running a successful business may indeed be very similar, if not exactly the same.
Respect, dignity, passion, responsibility, authenticity and last but not lease FUN!
“We will never understand the world, even a small part of it, if we don’t stretch your mind every so often.” ~ unknown