How to Start and Run Your Own Company - OR -

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How to Start and Run
Your Own Company
...It’s All the Same Thing
By Andrew C. Jacobs
By Andrew C. Jacobs
Acknowledgements . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . vi
Foreword. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . viii
Introduction. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Chapter 1
Dreams . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Chapter 2
No One is Perfect, Least of All Me. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Chapter 3
Reality . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10
Chapter 4
Time To Start . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28
Chapter 5
Taking The Plunge . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38
Chapter 6
Learning The Odds -or- What Women Want . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42
Chapter 7
What Men Want. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 47
Chapter 8
It’s All About You. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 52
Chapter 9
Mind, Body, & Soul . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 56
Chapter 10
Creating Long-Lasting Relationships . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 63
Chapter 11
Back To The Stoop . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 76
Chapter 12
Finding Markets . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 82
Chapter 13
What Do You Do First? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 86
Chapter 14
Customers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 91
Chapter 15
Pricing. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 97
Chapter 16
Keeping Your New Customer. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 100
Chapter 17
Trouble . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 104
Chapter 18
Long-Lasting Relationships . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 107
Chapter 19
Integrity . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 109
The Six Rules Of Life
Rule One
Chapter 20
Niceness Everywhere . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 113
Chapter 21
He Drives Me Crazy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 115
Chapter 22
Happy Father’s Day . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 117
Chapter 23
Toilet Seat Down! . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 119
Chapter 24
In Order . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 121
Chapter 25
A Voice From The Train . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 123
Chapter 26
Look For The Signs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 125
Chapter 27
How Not To Sell Iraq . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 127
Chapter 28
Joy Is Everywhere . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 129
Chapter 29
Not Tonight. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 131
Rule Two
Chapter 30
Don’t Short Change Them . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 134
Chapter 31
The Flies Are For Next Saturday . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 136
Chapter 32
Do What I Asked You-Now! . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 138
Chapter 33
Life After New Jersey?. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 140
Rule Three
Chapter 34
What Now? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 143
Chapter 35
Selling And Prospering In The 21st Century . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 145
Chapter 36
Cleveland For a Change . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 147
Rule Four
Chapter 37
The New Floors Are Worth It . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 151
Chapter 38
The Best I Could Do . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 153
Chapter 39
Where Is The Plan? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 155
Chapter 40
Shell Search . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 157
Rule Five
Chapter 41
To Uncle Nate . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 160
Chapter 42
The Bar Is Still Too Low . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 162
Chapter 43
Twice Legal Age. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 164
Rule Six
Chapter 44
Rewrite History . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 167
Chapter 45
Ready For Everything . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 169
Chapter 46
1,200 Komers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 171
Chapter 47
Weight For Later . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 173
Travel Logs
Chapter 48
Trip To Chicago . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 175
Chapter 49
Trip To Hong Kong And Bangkok - Or - Whatever Happened To Shanghai? . . . . . . . 179
Chapter 50
Trip To Dayton, Boston, And Beyond. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 194
Chapter 51
The Trip To Salt Lake City . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 201
Chapter 52
Log for The Netherlands . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 208
Chapter 53
Journey To Germany And France . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 217
Conclusion. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 225
Colophon . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 227
Also By Andrew Jacobs. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 229
I would like to thank my family for giving me the support to not only go
after my dreams on a day-to-day basis but to also pursue them all around the
world. With the dangers everywhere, it cannot be easy for my wife to see me
going off to the airport to places where I have never been. My success would be
limited without the love and backing of both her and my three great children:
Ben, Alex, and Kayla. Our lives intermixed with all of our relatives and friends
have provided a mosaic of support, friendship, and love that I can only try to
deserve as life goes on.
Thank you also to everyone at work: my employees. It is rare when you
are able to go to a job everyday that you love. Forgive me when I do not
wholeheartedly support your plans to win the lottery; life would not be the
same if you all were not around on a daily basis.
The Six Rules of Life
If you get nothing else out of my book, I want you to remember one thing.
Life is not random chaos; there is a structure, and a set of rules by which most
things will run. Of course, nothing is total, and there are those little kinks and
curves that make life so frustrating and fantastic. In general, however, there is
a pattern if you can see and understand it and I have defined that path by my
“Six Rules of Life.”
It has been my experience that these rules hold true for every situation. Try
them out and see if they work for you; if they do, then you have a base that few
others will understand. These rules will give you a platform to which you can
launch yourself into the stratosphere of whatever area you choose. Everything
in life is open, and now you have a direction from which to attack. Subtlety has
never been my strong point; I tend to draw straight lines from different points
and rocket towards my objectives as quickly and efficiently as possible. That is
how I run my business and conduct my life. I’ll go over these “rules” indirectly
throughout the first part of the book; the second part, I’ll show you how my life
examples hold up the “rules” and why the “rules” work.
If they help you in their entirety - great; if not, modify them or throw them
out, and find your own. My job is to help as many people as quickly as possible
and this is one of the ways I have chosen to do it. If you don’t like what I have
written then keep it to yourself. There is enough negativity in the world, and
I don’t need anymore (and neither do you). Take what works; throw out the
rest; and pass on the good stuff to someone else because we all owe a debt to
someone and can never stop giving back.
Rule #1
Every interaction in life involves an exchange of energy, goods, or services and is
important. That means that everyone that you meet can have a negative or positive
impact on you, and the same goes for you to them. Because you understand this – and
almost no one else does – the tenor of those exchanges is often up to you to define
whether it is good or bad.
Rule #2
You can never get what you want from people until you define what they need
and until you satisfy a part of their desires first. Their requirements come before your
own, and only then do you have a chance to get what you want based on your abilities,
perseverance, intelligence, and understanding.
Rule #3
The most important thing to people besides their family is their job, and the
second most important thing is a better job.
Rule #4
The best way to deal with people is with the least amount of emotion as possible.
It is necessary to see clearly and work for the best interest of all sides. If a relationship is
one-sided, it cannot last. To create long-term relationships in any area, there must be a
win/win for all parties involved.
Rule #5
If you are not prepared to put your life on the line for something, then you will be
beaten on a percentaged basis by someone who will.
Rule #6
Failure is not weakness; giving up is weakness. Saying you made a mistake is not
a problem; failing to admit a mistake is a green light to being taken advantage of and
destroyed by others who can.
Where Do You Start?
I was asked to teach a course about how to start and run a small business.
Our company vice president, Vincent Santoro, is an instructor in the Graphic
Communications Department at New Jersey’s Kean University, and his
department head wanted to give students the kind of information they would
not get anywhere else. I would have four two-hour sessions to teach the students
how to create, finance, operate, hopefully make a profit, and avoid some of the
bigger problems of having your own company
It reminded me of the test I once took junior high school where I was told to
write everything I knew about the Civil War. How could you talk about a whole
war in 50 minutes? In that case, I started at the beginning and kept writing until
my time was up; I attempted to cover it all, and I guess did a good job because
I did well in the course. But how do you teach a group of 18-22 year olds with
little or no experience how to do something that took me the last 30 years to
try to understand? The answer is to teach them what they won’t learn anywhere
else, and leave the nuts and bolts to their other teachers.
I own a screen printing company, but:
I am not great at bookkeeping.
I can’t program computers.
I can’t fix or run any of our presses.
When I get involved with shipping I usually screw it up.
I, well, ... don’t even get me started with keeping inventory.
But, and it is a big but, I can find and exploit new niche markets, handle
people, read balance sheets, have a feel for making profits, and can generally
pick people who are much better than me in their chosen areas. With these
strengths I can run a profitable business; the other things I can hire others to
do for me.
What I need to be able to get across to the students is not the “nuts and
bolts” of how to balance their books or handle the inventory rather to show
them the path they can take to realize their dreams. I have to show the “rules” of
business and how they can use them to their own advantage. Make no mistake
- there are rules and once you know them, the whole picture of business and life
becomes much clearer and simpler to navigate.
Starting your own small business is a dream to most people, unrealized by
most and failed at by the great majority who actually try. It is a truly unusual
person who has a dream, finds the resources to launch it, creates the structure to
sustain it, has the interior fortitude to stay with it, and has the vision and enough
determination to change as the situation warrants. Everything in business is
fluid; nothing stays the same. One bomb dropped somewhere on the other side
of the world and suddenly material supplies are affected. People stop buying
one thing, turn to another, and a ripple effect is created everywhere since we
are now a global society. What seems impossible to predict with no reason for
change and possibility for preparation is in reality nothing more than a result
of the enactment of “the rules.” Knowing the system and not being prepared
is your own fault. In fact, everything is your fault, get used to the idea, because
that is the way it is for all of us who are successful.
I also need to teach my students the necessity of not only tolerating the
changing world but also thriving in it. New events mean a churning market,
and any situation in flux is creating new places to make money. It means being
willing to use your life savings and going after other people’s money, if needed,
in order to fund your dreams. It means not taking vacations, working weekends,
putting in long days, and having everyone around you doubt not only your
business premise but your sanity as well. It also means having people doubt
your intelligence, dedication and you as a person in order to punch through the
level that moves you from losing money to making profits.
It doesn’t matter what you make or what service you provide, it is an
attitude that you are willing to stand alone, if necessary; that you believe in
what you are doing, but also have the willingness to modify yourself as you go
along. It is these actions that make it possible to succeed. If I have 20 students,
and they all open their own businesses, the odds are that there will be less than
five of them still solvent after 10 years. But that doesn’t mean they should not
try. Often people go into business because they have no idea what it takes to
succeed; they just keep going because they are too stubborn to admit they are
wrong, and sometimes they succeed. It would be much better if they knew what
was coming and were ready in advance so at least the ups and downs would not
be a total surprise. It is better to be forewarned and forearmed; it means some
people will probably not even start, which is not a bad thing. Not everyone is
meant to be an owner; many would make more money, and be happier working
for someone else.
My job is to give students my version of reality. Many people will try and
stop them because of their jealousy or own limitations. An unfulfilled dream is
not a plus for anyone; trying and failing is much better than wishing you had
started. I will be there to help jumpstart them on their way but with their eyes
open, so when they do get kicked, at least it will be from the front. For those
who try, most will fail but will be much better for the effort. There is no more
worthwhile experience for success than not succeeding at first, but hopefully I
can tilt the odds a little bit more in their favor.
Chapter 
Don’t laugh about dreams, especially your own; what do you think drives
most people to jump off the cliff of life and launch into the unknown? No one
is going to risk anything for a $5.00 an hour job that is mind numbing and a
dead end. It is the chance to be free of other people telling you what to do,
making your own decisions, and the willingness to sink or swim based on your
own merits and efforts. Sometimes these dreams are simply defined as wanting
what someone else has: to be accepted as an equal, to have access to a country
club; to own an expensive house or car. Maybe it is sending your kids to private
school or just to be able to say to your friends, it is “mine.”
But what happens if you don’t have a specific dream and only an incredible
ache to succeed? How do you find out what you want and where you should
divert those unceasing feelings that keep emanating from what used to be your
calm stomach? How do you define your dream and what you should do?
To be able to clarify where you want to go, you first have to figure out where
you have been and how you got there. You did not think this would be easy,
did you? Being successful in business is based on your relationships with your
perspective customers, suppliers, family, and most of all, yourself. If you don’t
know why you “do things,” then your chances of success are greatly reduced.
You need to know if your thought processes are based on rational thinking, high
emotions, fear, rejection, desire or a probably combination of all of the above.
To really find out about yourself it will take time, no doubt about it; this is
not an overnight or weekend deal. Here are some steps to take to get an idea
of what is going on inside you. Remember this is only a start; the more you
know about yourself, the better you will be able to read other people. Make
no mistake; the most successful people are those who understand the working
environment and the players involved. Trying to skip this step will almost always
condemn you to reduced results, not only in your business, but everywhere else
in life.
Are you ready?
Are you sure?
Okay, look at the following questionnaire and answer it truthfully. There are
no right and wrong answers; your responses are only there to help give you a
picture of who you are. Remember, you can be successful no matter what your
strengths and flaws are as long as you use them to your advantage.
On a scale of 1-10 with 1 being “I am not like that at all” to 10 being “I am like
that all the time.”
Rate the following:
1. Nice
2. Healthy
3. Happy
4. Sad
5. Innovative
6. Dogmatic
7. Determined
8. Aggressive
9. Sick
10. Detail oriented
11. Interested in people
12. Interested in money
13. Like people who are different
14. Family oriented
15. Willing to work
16. Obsessive
17. Compulsive
18. Germ phobic
19. Like to work
20. Willing to use all my money to succeed
21. Willing to use other people’s money to succeed
22. Would retire if I could
23. Like to work
24. Hate to work
25. Love easy money
26. Love unearned money
27. Want to do things the right way
28. Want to go my own way
29. Hate the status quo
30. Foolish
31. A quick learner
32. Dogmatic
33. Like to read
34. Like to learn
35. Hate school
36. Disciplined
37. I will help bugs and worms that are in trouble
38. Depressed
39. Love to have money in the bank
40. Hate debt
41. Want to succeed
42. Have to succeed
43. Have to prove myself
44. Am better than other people think
45. Have to financially do better than my parents
46. Want to be rich
47. Want to be comfortable
48. Have to be in charge
49. A good listener
50. My own boss
51. Willing to work for someone else
52. Willing to work for someone else for now
53. For enough money, I will always work for someone else
54. Most people need to be lead
55. My ideas are just as good, if not better than everyone else’s
56. Everyone always thinks I am wrong
57. Positive person
58. Don’t like to be around negative people
59. Can change the world
60. I can make the world a better place
61. Money is good
62. Power is good
63. My college degree does not guarantee success
64. My ideas can make money
65. Will not stop until I succeed
66. Have a definition of success
67. Will be satisfied when I reach my definition of success
68. Have definite goals
69. Have a timetable to achieve my goals
70. If I miss my timetable, I will reschedule, and consider it a failure
71. No one is perfect
72. Try to be better than everyone else
73. Hate mediocrity
74. Think most people don’t try hard enough
75. Love my parents
76. Think college is a good place for me right now
77. Would rather be working than in college
78. Know where I want to be in ten years
79. Know where I want to be in 25 years
80. Want to be married one day
81. Want to have a family one day
82. Vote in most elections
83. Think most business people cheat on their taxes
84. Think most people are unethical
85. No one in the U.S. can compete with anyone in Asia
86. The U.S. is the best country in the world to live in
87. Would rather live in another country if given a choice
88. Think I am smarter than most of my teachers
89. Smarter than my parents
90. Have a sibling who is better liked than me
91. Have a sibling who is smarter than me
92. My friends think I can succeed at anything I try
93. My family thinks I can succeed at anything I try
94. If it would make me more successful, I would learn a new language
95. If it would help my chances for success, I would re-locate
96. If it would help my chances for success, I would work for someone I do
not like
97. If it would help my chances for success, I would work for someone I do
not respect
98. To get a mentor who will pass on vital guidance, I would do whatever
was necessary in order to gain the information.
99. Success will happen
100. Will be happy-no question
I realize that answering all those questions is a pain, but now that you look
back, a certain pattern has emerged as to your level of commitment to yourself,
and how much you are willing to put out to make yourself a success. I know a
few of the questions were asked twice; did you answer them the same way?
Here is a formula that you can use to rate how successful you are and will be.
Your rate of success is:
A percentage of the amount of effort utilizing all of your abilities decreased
by the amount of your faults.
In other words, if you attempt to gain 100 new customers, you will be
rewarded with “X” amount of customers based on your:
Quality of your product or service
Ability to deliver
Ability to handle the needs of your customer
Competitiveness of your product and company
How you handle trouble
You get back what you put out; unfortunately at this point, you don’t even
know how to get started, which is why you are reading this. Don’t worry, you
will get started, and we will go through it together.
Remember, that you are now starting to go inside yourself, and learn what
you are really made of. It is a search that is difficult, gut-wrenching and disruptive
to every part of your being. A lot of what you find out about yourself, you may
not like. The good news is that you can change any part of yourself at any time;
you have the power and must learn to use it.
Keep rechecking over the list, decide what you want to change and start
with one thing a day; some of them will be easy; others will take a long time.
It is the process that is important. The ability to change will enable you to look
outside yourself and see the world as it really is. It is impossible to influence
others to buy your products or services if you have no idea what they need.
Don’t worry if you don’t know what I mean; you are in this for the long haul; this
is an extended process; you have the time to learn. There are always reasons
not to do “hard work.” You have exams, trouble at home, all kinds of things, but
these are just excuses. You will never get past this moment unless you dig in and
start learning about why you are as you are. Believe me, the better you know
yourself, the more successful you will become.
It is now your turn. I would like you to do the following:
Pick an easy short-term goal.
Pick a hard long-term goal.
It is not a monumental decision, and you can change your choices anytime;
I just want you to get used to thinking and making decisions rapidly.
What? You are having trouble figuring out some goals? Let me help. An
easy short-term goal for me is not allowing myself to have dessert until I finish
writing to the end of this page. Since I have a lot to do, it probably won’t be a
problem, and I should be eating fruit salad within the next hour. As for a longterm goal, have you ever heard of Dale Carnegie? He was a man in the early
part of the last century who helped many thousands of people to not only be
more successful but to also get along better with each other. My long-term goal
is to create a new “system” which will help those who want to be in their own
business to have a much simpler time in getting their goals acheived. Notice
I did not say easier because few things involved with going after your own
dreams are easy. But I can make things simpler by helping to show you the way.
Conservatively, this could take me the next 30 years, but hopefully I have the
time, resources, and my commitment will not lessen with age.
Those are my two goals; how about you? For the short-term, make it easy
and doable. You want to start a pattern of successes now. This is important; you
need to start pushing yourself to commit, and then be bound by your word.
Make your word, your bond, a commitment that people can bank on as an
accountable act. The more people believe in what you say the more they will
want to be around and deal with you on all levels. The course for progressive
positive human interaction is trust, and while talk is cheap, your deeds will say it
all. Excuses mean nothing when your actions affect someone else.
When I was in high school thinking about my future, I created three career
goals. They were: a network TV news anchorman, President of the United States,
and the owner of a publishing company. It is probably evident that I am not a
famous broadcaster or the President. As for the publishing dream, I am in the
printing business and got close on that one. The point is that even though I did
not attain my career objectives, they did make me pick a course that set me on
a life road that eventually got me into a job and a life that I love. Pick a goal, and
move towards it with the idea you will change. Life rarely goes in a straight line,
which is why you need a course to get you moving. You also have to be watching
as to how to make your path better, so you can modify things as you go.
I realize this is a lot to take in so make your short-term goal easy on yourself.
Pick something small that you plan to do tonight, like eating dinner or studying,
and promise yourself you will do it. Then do the same thing tomorrow and the
next day. As the process becomes easier, you can start making your choices more
difficult so you can steer yourself in the directions you wish to travel. If you mess
up and don’t make your commitment one day, forget it and start again the next.
We are not striving for guilt, perfection, or obsession, just get used to picking a
course and stay on it. You are new at this and supposed to fail. The better you
get at training yourself and focusing on what you consider important, the more
you will be able to accomplish and the more goals you will envision and then
achieve. It is a never-ending source on continual improvement that is fueled
from within.
You can’t travel a road you cannot see. Picking a life goal is easy for few;
most people never have one. But picking your life’s work is a process, and you
need to start with small steps so you can start to see the bigger picture. Be good
to yourself and treat yourself as you would wish to be treated, then do the same
thing for someone else. The better you are to others, the more fun your life will
become. Enough talk for now, the page is over and I can eat dessert. Good luck
with your goal; I hope it is something fun that will bring you pleasure before
you fall asleep. You are on a long road, try to enjoy the journey, as it is often the
best part.
Chapter 
No One is Perfect, Least of All Me
When I was growing up I saw the play King Arthur and the Round Table. Sir
Lancelot was a knight who served the king and was considered so “good” that he
was better than anyone else. He chose to live to a higher standard, and the idea
of conducting myself that way appealed to me. I tried to be a good and moral
person at all times and rigidly conducted my life in a way I felt was superior to
those around me. As you can guess, I not only fell a little but a long way.
I ended up as a lonely, young man who met another young lady who
was also lonely, but unfortunately married. We spent one night together, and
although she then left her husband and later married someone else, I realized
what I had done and how far I had fallen. Not only was I not better than everyone
else, I was not even as good. The guilt I carried for years haunted me every day
until I finally went to see my rabbi and asked him tearfully how I could make this
right and get past it. He then told me about a part of the Jewish religion that
dealt with the Ladders of Life.
It goes like this:
Pretend every area in your life is a ladder reaching towards the sky. There is
one for morality, one for happiness, one for goodness, one for success etc. etc.
etc. Your actions day to day dictate where you stand on every ladder, with the
best direction obviously rising towards the top. Sometimes your actions would
raise you up, and sometimes they would drag you down, but to be human
means to be in constant motion on all fronts, and no one always goes in one
In other words, it was okay that I was not perfect. I was not expected to be,
and the fact that I understood I did something wrong and promised to never do
it again, which I haven’t, was the lesson I was meant to learn. We are all going
to make mistakes, and if we are lucky, we can learn the necessary lessons, move
on, and hope the effects of the problems we caused were not too bad that can’t
be healed with time.
If you think you can have an idea, start a business, make all the right
decisions, amass a lot of money without ever making mistakes, then you are
a fool. To try for anything new is a road that is built on learning from what you
did wrong. If you can’t take the feeling of having said the wrong thing, did
something hurtful even by mistake, did not keep your word, or any other of a
multitude of common human failings, then there is no way you can have your
own company.
Having your own business means a myriad of decisions that often have
to be made spontaneously that, in retrospect, seem wrong or even foolish.
As you gain more experience, hopefully your previous actions will supply you
with a database of what happens when and what to do in most situations. But
something new, if you are fortunate, is always coming up and broadening your
scope. Often you are deciding things without all the facts, but if you wait to
carefully think out every option and have all the facts then you will be too slow
to run your business at the world’s pace and will be beaten by someone like
me. Mistakes are part of the territory; blowing chances are part of becoming a
grizzled veteran. You will have to learn to laugh at yourself and being able to
admit you made a mistake, not just to yourself but to everyone else. That will
free you to be able to concentrate on the important things and slough off the
feelings of inadequacy. The road to success in any area, not just in your own
company, is paved with heartache and tough times - but they must be met,
struggled with, and overcome, if you want to continually advance to higher
levels of competency and success.
When someone asks you a question and you don’t understand it, ask them
to explain it even if you think it will make you look dumb. Most people, unless
they are very busy, are nice and will try to help you, especially if they know you
are just starting out. Everyone likes the underdog and will often go out of their
way to help because they can empathize with what you are going through
and have admiration for trying to start your own business. Most people have
thought about it but never actually tried, and they want to help someone who
Sometimes the people asking the questions know even less than you do,
and you can find out immediately because they will get angry by your asking
for more information they do not have, showing them as fake experts. As with
everything else, finding out who you are dealing with is paramount when doing
business. If a person delights in making you look small in their attempt to look
like a pro, then the odds are they will be bad in all areas. Most people usually act
one way all the time. If they are untrustworthy in one place, then they will be
probably be the same in others. If you make the mistake of trusting people like
this, then you will, for example, chase them to pay their bills, and they will never
back you up in times of trouble. It will not take long to find the people you can
trust and want to do business with; they are the ones the good business people
are fighting over. In order to get them you have to be able to offer these types
of golden customers something they are not getting from their current supplies
but more on that later.
Chapter 
I was driving home with my parents; we had been at our vacation house
in the Berkshire Mountains of Massachusetts, and I always try and invite them
once every summer for a nice change. It is a place of tranquility, harmony, peace,
contentment and the best mountain biking on the Eastern seaboard. We were
on our way back home when my dad turned to me; I was driving, and he said
he had been rereading one of the books I had written. This one had a lot about
our relationship as I first came into the business and eventually was trained to
take over.
That “training period” lasted almost 20 years, and while the hard stuff took
place over the first five years, the balance was spent in “refining” my abilities,
attitudes, and level of competence. My dad was a tough task master and
broached no insurrections by anyone, so our relationship occasionally had its
tumultuous points since I too was rather determined in my views. As he looked
at me he said that he remembered some of those times in a different way. I
asked if he wanted to have his opinions known since I was writing this book
and would be happy to incorporate them. He then said it was too late, and it
would probably not work out. I reminded him that although I knew he had his
own point of view, mine was the one that would survive over time because it
was documented. I also reminded him I had given him the manuscript with the
chance to change anything before we went to press, and he chose to leave it as
it was.
With that, he said sarcastically he couldn’t wait to see how our conversation
would read in this book. The point here is not that I have my views; my father
has his; and my mom (in the back seat) probably has a third version as well. The
thing to remember is that the one in writing, the documents of record is the one
that people will remember and refer to. This is the reason that the first thing
an invading army does is take over the communication outlets of the country.
He who controls the flow of information has the ability to affect and move the
population as they see fit.
It is the same in business; you could be the greatest attorney in the world
with the sage views of a supreme court justice, but if no one hears or reads your
opinions, you will never influence anyone. It is frustrating to think that someone
who runs an infomercial 20 times a day on TV can make hundred of millions of
dollars while the lesser-known man who worked for a good cause can’t continue
because there wasn’t enough support.
It is the same when you are running your own business. Even the idea of
electric light bulb had to be sold. There is no legal product where people will
knock down your door to buy from you. Everything has to be sold, and the only
way to do that is to find a way to target your perspective customers, attack that
group, and attain a reasonable percentage of success from your efforts. Notice
I used the word “attack” and “target;” this is not kindergarten; the only way you
are going to get sales is to take that business away from someone else. You are
at war, and if you don’t have the stomach for it, you are better to go work for
someone who does.
This is not a contest for likeability; it is a way to get market share and make
money. Can nice guys finish first? The answer is yes, if they have a good product
or service that is completed on time, sold at a competitive price, and marketed
in an intelligent way. There is one other area that is comparatively new, and
that is if your product and company is operating with the environment in mind.
Being green is not only a good marketing tool, it is also another way of saying
you are producing the most amount of product for the least amount of raw
materials and producing the smallest levels of pollution. I believe that as the
cost of raw materials continually rise, the cost of labor will become much less
of an issue. Those who can gain more final product out of the same amount of
resources will be able to produce more economically no matter where they are
in the world.
What we have here is the reality. If you are going to run your own business,
you better have the right mindset or end up being part of the majority that
eventually will fail. What do you need to start your own business?
Here is the list:
1. An idea of what you want to sell
2. A way to produce that product or that service
3. A plan to create and run your business
4. Short-term gain versus long-term profitability
5. The ability to finance the operation
6. If you can’t do it yourself, then you will have to hire someone to do it
for you
7. How to get and keep customers
8. A definition of success
9. Your part within the company
1. An idea of what you want to sell
I was on vacation with my wonderful wife in Nantucket a few years ago. We
were taking a few days for some rest and relaxation, and as usual, by day two
I was climbing the walls, bored out of my mind. We decided to split up for the
morning; we do that a lot because it gives me a chance to work and exercise and
her a chance to shop. As usual we planned to meet up later in the day. In this
case I was going to bicycle later, but I was sitting in our room bored, so I decided
to think of something new to sell for my business. We are printers and focus on
several niche areas, one of them is Braille labels for ATM machines to help aid
the visually-impaired. The labels we produce say things, such as “deposit” and
the raised Braille dots on them allow for the blind to interpret what function
each panel represents.
However, Braille is only good for about 10% of the people who are totally
blind; the balance are visually-impaired and have some sight. I was trying to
think of a way to help the market for the other 90% who are partially-sighted.
Incidentally, as the baby boomer generation ages, the amount of people who
only have a percentage of their sight will sky-rocket so this market has giant
potential. Then, it hit me; if you can see only a little, then you are unsure of
what you are reading. What if you could feel the numbers and letters to help
double check what you are seeing? What an idea; emboss the characters so
people could feel as they read. This would help everyone who is getting older,
not just the people with weaker eyesight, and could help in any area where
small amounts of words need to be read. A whole new market! Suddenly my
mind, no longer bored, was racing at a million miles a minute, and I started
making notes.
When I got back to the office a few days later, we immediately started
working on the embossed character idea, which I later found out had already
been thought of by others. We were effectively in the business within the next
few weeks. It is a great idea; it has not sold yet, but it is still a market waiting to
happen. When the need arises, we will be ready to pounce on it immediately. It
is like that with niche areas; you often get the idea first, but the market doesn’t
open until later. However, if you are prepared and have done your R&D, then can
attack the night away, and go after the really profitable parts before everyone
goes into it. By then, I have already staked out my areas and begun to move
onto new ones.
No idea is stupid; all things have a potential to make you a millionaire and
benefit a lot of people. You have a responsibility not only to make your own
life better economically, but improve the rest of the world along the way. If you
have the type of mind that can find answers to everyday problems that affect
everyone or just a small group of people then you must utilize it. Your mind is an
amazing thing; don’t let anyone tear you down or say your ideas are dumb. Those
people are just jealous, and their minds are filled with nothing but dustballs. If
you are afraid to look badly in front of your friends, then find someone else to
bounce off your ideas. Be careful because there are many who will take your
ideas as their own and be jealous of your talents. Pick your mentors carefully.
2. A way to produce your product or service
I have been fortunate, as I was born into a family printing business; I was
able to grow into a nice-sized company. Within our ranks we have some of the
most competent people in our industry, and they pride themselves on being
able to produce almost any idea I come up with. A few months ago, a prospective
customer came to us and wanted to put Braille onto some of his glow-in-thedark evacuation signs. I took a look at his product and thought we could satisfy
his requirement but also asked if we could do the whole job. Although we had
never worked with photoluminescent (glow-in-the dark) inks before, I did not
see why that should be a problem.
Six months later, while still working out the bugs in the process, we may
sell our first order. The point is that my company has the expertise and R&D
dollars to:
1. Buy the raw materials
2. Put in the press time
3. Conduct the testing needed
4. Expend the necessary brain power to figure out what needs to be
done to start a new product line
If your business needs a new type of engineered part, some complicated
electronic assembly, something that needs approval by a government entity
or even a paint that is considered toxic by environmentalists, then you should
figure out how you are going to “make or create” whatever it is you are selling
take care of all necessary legal and regulatory requirements before you start
taking orders. The amount of pitfalls and problems are infinite, especially for
those who plunge into unknown waters, commit to new customers, and then
realize they cannot deliver, or their product or service will end up costing them
more than they will make.
You can’t live on dreams, estimates, customers who don’t pay their bills, or
count on what should have happened. Reality is a constant that will either work
in your favor or destroy your dreams; ignore it, and the death of your business
is inevitable. If you don’t know how to manufacture your products or regulate
your services, then you are not ready to go into business. If you have a new idea,
then you might have to risk having it stolen in order to talk to people to figure
out the best way to produce it.
Patenting will give you some protection but unless you do it worldwide
you will never have close to complete coverage. Getting a patent usually takes
time and a bunch of money, and anyone can slightly modify your product, and
usually get around the laws in the first place. The best way is to be nimble enough
with your R&D that you can keep making improvements every six months to
stay ahead of your competition. If your product or service is not unique then
the odds are you can plug into some existing methods of manufacture. This
will enable you to be up and running quickly so that your hopefully superior
marketing, production, and business skills will enable you to carve out market
share in whatever area you choose.
Do not be foolish, and open your business before you have set-up your
lines of supply, or have enough money to finance your operations for at least six
months. Since you will be lucky to be paid in 60 days, you will need at least 90
days of capital in your business at all times in order to ensure your liquidity and
ability to keep running when things get tight.
Example: If your new company’s sales are $30,000 per month, and you
get paid in two months, then you need at least $90,000 working capital just to
scrape by. If you pay your suppliers in less than 60 days, then you will need more.
A cushion of money is an absolute necessity for rainy days, the chances to go
into new areas, and to keeping your sanity. Starting a business with no money
is possible but will greatly reduce you chances of success. If you are figuring you
can always go bankrupt if things go badly and can walk away from your debt,
then you should give up the idea in the first place. Go play the lottery; your
chances are better.
3. A plan to create and run your business
Ahh! . . . the business plan. How many software packages have been
developed so you can make your own business plan? Just fill in the blanks, and
by the time you are done, your new business will practically be ready to run
itself. If you can fill in the blanks, it means you have worked out most of the bugs
in your mind and are ready to setup a formalized plan. Once you have written it
down, then you have moved the unspoken or cerebral to the actual formal plan.
As soon as it is down on paper or computer, you have crossed the threshold and
are ready to move on.
You don’t have a software program? You really don’t need it. The simple
format of a news reporter will do quite nicely:
Who is involved? Will you be alone, have partners, employees, or advisors?
Who will your customers be, and how will you get them?
What are you selling? Make sure you can reduce it to a short paragraph, so
you are clear as to what it is you are about to embark on.
Where is your business? Will you rent space, be in someone’s garage, in
a room of your house? Where will you target your customers? Local, regional,
national, or a mixture of all? Decide early where your targets are so you can
direct your resources and energies in the best ways possible.
When will you start your business? You don’t have to start tomorrow, but
saying it will be in the future probably means it will never happen. Plan a launch
date and come close to hitting it. It will be your first test of commitment to
yourself and everyone involved. If you have doubts, so will everyone else.
Decide who is doing what, and what happens when they fail at the task you
have assigned for yourself or them. Have a backup for everything, and then a
backup for that.
Know when things are not working, and when it is time to get out. Find out
early if you can count on yourself; if you can’t, then the sooner you admit it the
better and you can stop your plans, or modify them to reflect the person you
Answer these questions truthfully and address the best and worst scenarios
that may happen. Some of what you project will happen, most probably won’t,
and the odds are you will run out of money. Prepare for the worst, hope for
the best and if you are lucky, you will land somewhere in between. Remember,
always be true to yourself.
I know a really nice man who has been in business for years. He has been
distributing and installing telecommunications equipment, and about a year
ago, he called for business advice. It seemed he had over a half million dollars in
receivables (people owed him), but he could not get his money and was having
trouble meeting the payroll. After talking with him, it became evident that his
receivables were riddled with uncollectible debt, and he did not know how
many of his invoices would actually become real cash. I told him to go back and
look at who would pay him, and he did not want to do it. He did not want to
see reality, and how bad things really were. As time has progressed so has his
situation; it has gotten worse, but he still refuses to look at reality. In my opinion,
he should be working for someone else because he would be much happier
and have a lot more money. Remember, working for someone is not a sin or a
bad thing; in many cases, you can earn a great deal of money, get your vacations
and holidays, and have a more contented existence.
4. Short-term gain versus long-term profitability
If you haven’t gotten the idea by now, money is the key to everything.
Don’t think of money as an end to itself, i.e. I want to be a millionaire. Money is
a tool that will enable you to push, cajole, order, manipulate, and force others
to do as you wish. This not a power trip, rather it is the necessary road you need
to walk in a capitalistic society. Our system, the best ever created, is based on
the “relationship” system. I do something for you, and you do something for
me. In the case of money, I will pay you “x” amount of dollars to get you to do
something. If that “something” (i.e. a service, supply a product) satisfies me and
you are receiving what you want, then you will be willing to continue with the
relationship to earn more money. In my case I, would then be able to get you
to do what I want in the effort to keep my business operating in a profitable
growing mode.
Never forget to pay someone well to do a good job. As a business owner.
always be prepared to go without for less so you can use your capital for other
things, mainly to get people to do as you wish. No one works for free, and
nor should they; any relationship worth continuing is one based on mutual
betterment, the famous win/win situation. A bad working relationship may, in
the short-term, seem profitable, but in the long run will destroy you. It must
compensate those working or supplying products to you in an equitable way.
That level of equality is based on a prior negotiation (and can be gleaned from
others in your industry) or a personal agreement between you and your suppliers.
If they are not happy, you will not get the best from them. No organization can
run at full efficiency if the employees have not “bought into” the system. Other
people have to win first. Always put the needs of others ahead of yourself. It is
the only way to work long term. Also remember conventional wisdom is often
wrong or based on outdated ideas.
For example, ever since I went into business the world seemed to say that
you could not maximize your success if you:
1. Treated your workers well
2. Were good to the environment
3. Operated in a highly ethical way
My dad always believed in running your life by the Ten Commandments,
and as I continued in my business career, I saw the benefits of that path. When
we put in our new manufacturing facility over three years ago, I was determined
to be the safest, healthiest, cleanest, most environmentally-friendly printing
company in the world. I figured that if we were running at the highest efficiency
in the safest environment, then we would produce the least amount of pollution,
and our people would be running at their highest levels of productivity. I even
went so far as to contact both the Environmental Protection Agency and
Occupational Health and Safety Administration and joined their programs
for those with the best environmental, health, and safety systems, so I could
continually push myself and my staff to be the best. Judging by the awards we
have received we are well on our way towards my goals. Additionally, over the
past three years our efforts have also paid off - our profit levels have continually
increased in a very tough market. It is not that you can be clean and safe and still
make a profit. Rather, in order to make the highest profits, you have to maximize
your efficiency, health, safety, and environmental systems, the reverse of what
everyone else thought.
If your people are happy, paid fairly, safe, and not exposed to pollution,
then their productivity will reach increasingly higher levels, and you will make
more money. You don’t want to die from bad stuff happening on the job, and
neither do they. Treat everyone as you would want to be treated, and the odds
are better you will do well.
5. The ability to finance your operation
You will hear this again and again from me. If you do not have enough
money going into business and keep it running for at least three months, having
no sales and still paying your bills, then don’t do it unless:
1. You have another job that is financing your new company on a
continuing basis.
2. You have a spouse who has a well-paying job.
3. You can run your new company on a part-time basis.
4. You have a source of money like a relative or friend who will
A. Not pull out on you at the worst of times
B. Not expect a ridiculous percentage of the business in exchange
for the financial backing.
C. Not force you into decisions you do not want to make.
One of the toughest things people find to talk about is money. It seems
like an embarrassment both to ask people for a loan and ask them to pay a loan
back. I am not going to suggest who you should get money from – that is your
concern – but I want to caution you that from whomever you get it, you are then
eternally tied until you pay it back in some agreed manner. Be careful money
worries can strangle you.
Unless you are a genius or lucky, the amount of sales your new business
will generate in the first few months will be extremely small, if there are any at
all. You must be ready to handle not only these low levels, which will probably
not correspond to your initial optimistic expectations, but the fact that little
or no money will be coming in to offset all of your costs. This is a very tough
time; many companies fail here, cash flow is the what makes everything work.
You will notice early on that all competent owners are always checking to see
that their cash position is positive, and if there is any money that needs to be
collected. You must have enough money to run your business properly, and if
that means utilizing outside sources of capital or giving up partial ownership of
your company, then you need to address it before it becomes a problem. You
are much more powerful before you are in trouble financially then when you go
out looking for capital.
Remember, in every relationship there has to be a profit or betterment
feature. If you start to lose more than you can hope to gain, then the relationship
will not function. You have to set up the financing of your new business so you
will still have a controlling percentage, and be able to get the lion’s share of the
profits, otherwise the incredible risk of what you are doing is not worth it.
In my case, I did not start our family business from scratch; my grandfather
did in 1921. When I came into the business in 1977, my dad began by paying me
a salary, but he eventually decided that I was not working hard enough both in
general and in my sales attempts, so he put me on straight commission. That
meant I would get:
1. 20% commission on all sales
2. $100 a week against commissions I did not yet have
3. Gas for my car and
4. Friday nights for dinner. (He is still my dad)
You have not lived until you are suddenly on straight commission. No money
comes in unless you are selling, and it is one of the world’s greatest motivators.
Your back is against the wall. I realized from that point that I was alone, on
my own, and it was up to me to sink or swim. Happily, I was able to look at
commissions from the other side - which was that I was no longer being “paid”
by my dad, rather I was now independently generating the money from the
sales I would be producing. I was free of all of the shackles of being dependent
and was almost on my own, exactly where I wanted to be. As soon as I redefined
my priorities and myself, my sales soared as did my income. I stopped obsessing
and worrying about bad debts and lack of sales and set my goals on finding
more good customers and pieces of business.
Luckily for me, I was able to focus on what was important because my dad
realized that the relationship we had revolved around my progress. My being
on salary was not working well for either of us. By changing it to commission
not only did I start making a lot more money, but so did the company which
was controlled by him. True, I did not start the company myself, and neither
did my dad. He changed it to suit his way of doing business, and I did the same
for myself; both were profitable and worked well. The options for conducting
a successful enterprise are endless: you have to find the right path for yourself,
and try and not go bankrupt in the attempt.
Money is a tool: I will keep telling you that. If you want to be a millionaire,
that is wonderful but keep in mind you have to get people to do as you
command, so your new business can go in the direction that you choose. The
money generating from your new company is not to buy a new car, but rather
as working capital. You will need it to expand, so your new business can grow to
become the dream you always wanted.
6. If you can’t do it yourself, then you will have to hire someone to do it
for you
I have a very unusual father. He’s extremely pragmatic and very intelligent.
He made it clear to me that even if I was not good at something, I was still
expected to be able to do it because in running a business you have to be able
to do everything. I have never been good at balancing a checkbook, and even
after years of trying, I am a lousy bookkeeper.
One of the things I resolved to do as soon as we got big enough was to hire
the type of people who would be able to do what I can’t do well. There is no
honor lost in having people around who are better than you are in other areas.
In fact, as the owner of your new company you are not expected to be able to
do everything at a top level. In the beginning you will probably have to start
out doing it yourself but can pass on some tasks as soon as your profits allow, or
your incompetence demands it. You will, however, have to be able to do at least
the following in order to have a chance at success. You need to:
1. Know how to use a computer
2. Know how to use a billing/invoicing/checking account system
3. Know how to ship a product
4. Know how read a contract and purchase order
5. Know how to read a blueprint
6. Have a working knowledge of the equipment to manufacture your
7. Pinpoint a market for your product/service
8. Sell that product or service
Learn how to handle complaints
Learn how to handle growth
Learn how to handle a downturn in business
Learn how to fire someone
Know enough engineering to create new products and services
Know who to ask regarding questions about the law and finance
Learn how to handle people, most importantly
I am no programmer and have no talent to write “code.” I can use a word
processing program and have enough ability to move through some of the
programs currently in use at my company. The point is you don’t have to be
an expert, but you have to be able to write up a sale, keep track of your costs,
ship a product, and create an invoice so you can be paid. If you can’t read a
purchase order or contract from a customer, you could be selling half of your
company without knowing it. If you can’t balance your checkbook, you could
be screwing up your finances, which is tied to your credit lines, which could
stop you from getting bank loans and credit from your suppliers. You have
to be able to read blueprints or engineering plans if you have any type of an
industrial-related company, and a good working knowledge of the equipment
involved in manufacturing your products, and how your products interrelate
to the manufacturing processes of your customers. Again, you can hire people
to do this, but you will be at their mercy if you do not at least have a working
knowledge of what you want them to do. There are few worse feelings than to
be completely dependent on someone who knows that if he or she leaves your
business you will be severely hurt or not functional at all.
There are few areas that I am willing to be naked involving one other person,
where I will allow someone to have the power to be in complete control of
some segment of my company that I cannot take over myself, or have a backup
person ready in case something happens to them. In reality, there is only one
place I will allow it and that is in the computer programming area for our inhouse production, tracking, and bookkeeping systems. It is so complicated and
detailed to our needs that I have only met one person who could do it. I trust
him implicitly, have known him for a long time, and since it is not a day-to-day
process but systematic changes done in stages, I have allowed it to occur. As
you can probably tell I am not thrilled with the exposure but since it is done in
stages, and he is on a generous retainer, I am comfortable as I can be with it.
Eventually, in the future as we get bigger he might actually become an in-house
employee, or at least I can setup a backup person for him on our premises. No
situation is ever perfect, and you have to do the best you can.
Finding and expanding markets for your products, plus creating new ones,
is a job that never ceases. As the boss, your company is in constant need of
nourishment in all areas, and if it doesn’t keep growing, there is a good chance
it will die. If business is good, you worry about not having enough money to
expand; if business is bad, you are worried about having to layoff or fire people
or whether you can keep operating. The hardest thing is that you have to look
for new sales when business is good, not when it is already going in the other
direction. You might think you can take it easier when things slow down, but
since you are paranoid that the business is slowing up, and your markets are
decreasing, you begin to spend your time working harder when things are slow
so you think you are doing something positive to make things go your way.
The truth is that when things are not blooming, you work harder because you
are scared; when things are good, you work harder because you know people
always want to be associated with successful firms, and that is the best time to
get new clients. There is no down time, and your commitment must be total
because you are working against totally committed people like me, who want
nothing more than to sweep you of the face of the earth before you have chance
to get a foothold into my markets.
Once you have proven your new company is viable, then you have to see
how well you can handle employees. Therefore you start to hire people, then
you have to learn to fire them when they don’t work out. If you do not have the
guts to do that, then you should not have hired them in the first place, which
will limit how big your company can grow. Your company is your life; it has your
best assets, worst faults, strengths, and limitations which directly affect how far
you can go. If you can improve yourself in any of these areas, then your company
directly see the benefits; your faults will hinder your advancement unless you
can hire people who have different strengths that can negate or partially
offset your weaknesses. The marketplace is both generous and unforgiving;
everything that happens is based on the odds covering all aspects of all the
players involved. You gain what you deserve, never feel it is good or bad luck;
you control your chances of success based on the advantages you bring to the
Therefore, if your company is doing well, and you have the financing
necessary; you can always hire people to do the jobs others could do better,
assuming they do a better job and are worth the effort of training and money
involved. That doesn’t mean you go on vacation or work five hours a day. It
means that you are still totally committed, working a 60+ hours a week, but
now you have more time to assemble a crack team that will help to realize
your dreams faster than would have happened were you alone. You are asking
people to buy into your dream. If your commitment is not total, it is an unfair
request to ask others to give their all.
Commitment test:
Simple but not easy.
What time do you get into work each morning?
What time does your first customer get into work?
You need to be in the office the same time every morning both to show
consistency to your customer and your employees but yourself as well.
Everyone hates getting up early, which is exactly why you should do it; it shows
commitment, and the fact you can make a decision to do something on a long20
range business. I am in the office before 5:00AM every business day unless I
am traveling. I started this to make sure I was in before my dad so I could fix
any troubles before he got in the office. I found it to my advantage if he had
no hard times at the beginning of the day; it made my life a lot easier. As time
went on, people made such a big deal about how early I got up. I decided to
institutionalize it and make it an asset: I put a gym into my office, after I got in,
checked my messages and emails from our customers all over the world, who
by the way loved having a supplier who was in during their work day, I would
work out until my people started to arrive. Then I went out to either play tennis
or went for a walk, still before most people got to work.
People are amazed I can do this on a consistent basis. People relate and
respect structure, and those who can create and work within one. They are
more confident with someone they trust on a long-term basis, and any area
that proves that structure and consistency is good. I do not like getting up early
and still need two alarms spaced about 10 seconds apart to get myself up. It is
a battle but makes it all the more important that I keep doing it. Consistency
builds trust – remember that the next time you don’t feel like getting into the
office on time. Structure does count; the stronger and more secure it is the more
people will trust you with additional sales.
When I first went into the family business I saw there were two types of boss’s
sons. The first were those who figured they deserved a good living because of
their lineage and would only work as much as absolutely needed. The other
group, of which I am one, worked twice as hard to make people believe our
commitment was total, and we would be successful even if our families did not
own the business.
If all of the assets of the world were distributed evenly between everyone
on earth, then I believe that within 20 years most of the people who were in
command and had the money before would have regained it back. The leaders
and owners of the world generally deserve to be there; most bosses are not
idiots. Those who are successful are only deemed lucky by those who do not
have their commitment, intelligence, drive, and unstoppable desire to succeed
but are generally there because they earned it.
The real power in any company lies not with those who hire but with those
who have the power to fire and sign the checks. Letting people go is a horrible
job, which is why the person in charge is the one who should do it. Being boss
has a lot of unpleasant parts about it. You have to work harder, longer; be
smarter and tougher than anyone else; plus, everyone else gets paid before you
do. But at the end of the day, the business is your baby and one of the most
satisfying things imaginable.
If you really want your own company, then you have to be ready in mind,
body, and soul to get started and keep it going. You will be fighting people
like me who will stop at nothing, within our individual moral systems, to see
that we build our businesses and take over yours in the process. Capitalism is
not a friendly system; it is dog eat dog and if you want pity, then go work for
someone else.
7. How to get and keep customers
We will go into more depth on this later, but suffice it to say that you can be
lousy at operating a computer, have old manufacturing equipment, inefficient
systems, and your pricing might not be competitive, but you can still have a
functioning business, if you can find and keep customers. However, if you are not
good at being able to seek out a customer base, and you can’t hire employees
who can, then your chances for success are nil. Customers are people, not just
machines who will give you orders so you can make money. As my dad always
said they are like gold and must be treated as such.
In order to find potential customers you first have to be clear as to what you
are selling. Once that’s defined, then you can step back and try to figure out why
your products would be of use to them. Because your customers are people first
and buyers second, you have to offer something that will help them personally.
I am not talking about bribes or payoffs, rather to appeal to what is needed by
them to begin and grow a working relationship. You do not want a single order;
you want repeat business and that will only happen when there is a positive
“give and take” relationship.
The most important thing to a customer is their job, and the second most
important thing is a better job. Help them to ensure the first and have a chance
at the second, and you will have that customer for life. How can you do that?
On a simple basis, convince the customer that your product or services will not
only help the company, but make him look good in the process. How can you
help the company save money, increase efficiency, save time, become more
competitive in the marketplace, increase their market share or become better
environmentally? You have to think of things from their perspective; your
opinions and desires are irrelevant because your payoff is getting the person
to help feed your new company with more and bigger orders. This is an alien
way of thinking for most people and the crux of doing business in a productive,
profitable, and fun way.
8. Define success
What do you want? How much do you want to make? Who do you consider
as successful? What will make you satisfied on the short and long term? These
are questions you need to address and answer before you start on this road
because if you have no idea of what you want you will not be satisfied and never
know when you get there.
When I first went into the family printing business, there were a few big
regional printers around this area. In fact, we moved onto the same block as one
of them, and people always referred to our block as theirs. Funny thing was that
by the time my dad retired, they were either out of business or had been taken
over by other companies. We were the “last man standing.” This was a continual
source of pride for my dad since we started from such small beginnings. He had
won in the game of survival and even lived to enjoy it.
Here are some ways to help define success; there are no right and wrong
answers just a way to help you define what you want.
I want to earn this much during my first full year in business:
a) 25K
b) 50K
c) 100K
d) 200K
e) Other
By my fifth year in business, I want to be making:
a) 50K
b) 100K
c) 250K
d) 500K
e) 1 million dollars
f) Other
By my tenth year in business, I want to be making:
a) 100K
b) 250K
c) 500K
d) 1 Million dollars
e) 5 million dollars
f) Other
I want to be debt-free from my initial launch by:
a) Year One
b) Year Two
c) Year Three
d) Year Four
e) Year Five
By year one, I want my net worth to be:
a) 25K
b) 50K
c) 100K
d) Other
By year five, I want my net worth to be:
a) 50K
b) 100K
c) 500K
d) 1 million dollars
e) Other
By year ten, I want my net worth to be:
a) 250K
b) 500K
c) 1 million
d) 5 million
e) Other
Within the next five years, I want to be:
a) Single
b) Married
c) Married with children (How many?)
d) Divorced
Within the next five years I want to have a:
a) House
b) House with no mortgage
c) Car leased
d) Car paid for
e) Boat
f) Boat paid for
Within the next five years I want to:
a) Have 2-50 people working for me
b) Have 51-100 people working for me
c) Have 100-500 people working for me
d) Be working less
e) My company to be debt free
By year five I want my company’s net worth to be:
a) 100K
b) 500K
c) 1 million dollars
d) 5 million dollars
e) 10 million dollars
f) 35 million dollars
g) Other
By year five I want: (circle one)
1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 weeks of vacation per year
Look back at your answers, and you may be surprised. Perhaps you did not
know the depths to what it will take to make you happy. Use these guidelines
as time passes for a reality check as to what you have achieved and how happy
you thought it would make you. Success is always a moving target, and often
when you reach a desired goal, it has already been replaced by a bigger one
further down the road. Do not make the mistake of never being happy because
your goals keep changing. A large part of the good life is the chase, the road
towards the goals you pick. Don’t forget to enjoy the journey because the actual
reaching of the dreams themselves can be much less satisfying.
Over the past 20 years I have dreamt of having a job in my company where
I would be in charge of overall operations, our quality, environmental, health,
safety systems, and getting new sales. I would go anywhere in the world at
anytime, as long as it was okay with my wife, to go after new business. I would
also be in charge of fixing trouble from wherever it came and it would be my
job to turn lemons into lemonade. For me, it meant building an organization
filled with great, motivated people who were not afraid of making decisions
and living by the results. About a year ago, I realized I had created my dream job,
and my life is continuing to be filled with an incredible amount of hard work,
fun, and profit.
I am sure my idea of a dream job will evolve as time goes on, and I will
hopefully modify my actual work to keep up with what I desire. The beauty
of owning your business is that you can decide what you are doing and how
your business is directed. You have the power to make your life as you choose,
happy or sad, profitable, bankrupt or somewhere in between. Please remember
to have a good time on the journey.
9. Your part within the company
If you are like most new business owners, you will be doing a lot of
everything yourself. Not only is it good because it is being done the way you
want it, but you don’t have to pay someone else to do something that you can
do yourself. Still, there are only 24 hours in a day and the time will quickly pass.
If your new business is on sound footing, where you cannot do everything
yourself, and maintain the quality of your operations, things will start to go
wrong because you can’t keep up in all areas, like producing and shipping
everything your customers order, or sending out invoices on time so you can
get money to run the business. You will have to let go and hire people, and this
is a hard thing to do.
As in my case, being in the business with my dad had the best and the
worst of everything. One of the bad parts is that when they get older, you have
to start thinking about what happens when they leave. In our printing business,
towards the end of my dad’s career, I was the inside man and did most of the
production; while at the same time, I was also the outside man and did most of
the sales. When it became obvious I needed to hire an inside person to help me
because I was best used in the selling area, I agonized over the decision. I had
never hired someone for an executive position, especially to be my number two
and I did not want to give up the jobs that I knew I did well. But it was better,
more efficient and profitable to let someone else do it.
My rule for this was, and still is, simple: it pays to hire someone who can free
you up to move the company forward. If you hire someone else to do something
better than you, then it means you have more time to get more sales and make
more money. Yes, you are paying them but your time is the most valuable for
the company. How do you figure out how much your time is worth? Here is an
example of how I would calculate it.
Total working hours in a year based on a 40-hour (ha!) week 40 x 52=2,080.
2,080 hours divided by your gross sales (if you do all the selling) let’s say your
gross sales are $1,000,000/year. Divide 2,080 into $1,000,000 and your sales
time is worth $192/hour. Even if it takes an employee twice as long to do a task,
here is the way it calculates out:
To save you 20 hours per week: The new employee for a 40-hour week has
you figuring you will pay them $400/week as opposed to your 20 hours x $192
(your worth to the company) per week = $3,840 sales time saved. Hire people
who are better than you to do the jobs to save you time. Time is precious; save
it whenever possible!
I know you may like to do those jobs which are easy, but selling is the
toughest, and that is why you get paid the most for it. Don’t take the simple
way out. Get the help so you can go back after more sales, or use it to workout,
to sleep or to be with your family - all much better uses of your time then doing
$10/hour tasks.
Once you start hiring more people, your role within the company will again
change. As you move away from day-to-day operations and start concerning
yourself with the following:
1. Hiring more people
2. Hiring the right people
3. Making sure your people are doing their job efficiently
Making sure your people are getting along
Firing those who do not fit in
Promoting those who deserve it
Finding more areas to sell
Finding new products to sell
Solving problems
Making sure things are running smoothly
Increasing efficiency
Helping others
Your job as boss is to make sure the company continues and grows. Your
roll will be altered daily. You have to be ready for those changes, or your chances
for more market share will quickly start to erode. Everyone wants to be part of a
winning, growing team; it is your primary job to ensure this – and next to selling
– is the hardest one you will have.
Chapter 
Time To Start
Enough talk – it is time to start your new company, even if you have no
intention to open for business. It is still a great exercise in learning about yourself
and what you really want.
If you already know what business you want to pursue, you might want to
go through the following exercise to see if it is really what you want. For those
who have no idea, here is your chance to start thinking about it in an orderly
1. Close your eyes
2. Try and clear your mind
3. Think of something peaceful like the waves lapping up on the shore or
the sight of a snowtopped mountain backed up against a cobalt blue sky.
4. Now that you are at peace with yourself – Finish this sentence
If I could do anything in the world it would be . . .
The answer may pop into your mind, or it may be the type of idea that can
germinate and lead you to something great. If not, then just keep going back to
that same peaceful place, one day, something will be there.
A business can be created anywhere for any market - the hardest part is
centering in on something you like. Whatever your answer is to the question
above, your job is to figure out what to do, and then how to do it. If you still
come up blank, and nothing excites you, then read newspapers, magazines, go
on-line, and see what interests you. Once you have an area, then look for others
already in that line of work and see how they are attacking the marketplace.
Try to think how you would do things differently. This is when we go to the
Invention Circle.
I created the Invention Circle for situations that seemingly had no answers.
Often the hardest part of any problem is looking at it from a different perspective.
If you can do that, then sometimes the answer pops out at you. In the case of
finding a new type of business for a specific sector or industry, this is what you
can do.
Draw a circle and pick at point on the outside rim; this is your starting
spot. This dot is where everyone else is. Maybe they feel that: the best way of
marketing hamburgers is through big chains; the best way to sell real estate is
through national broker networks; or the best way to sell home improvement
tools is through big national chains. Often that starting point is where the “big
boys” are: the massive retailers, wholesalers, and companies that have a giant
part of the marketplace. They have captured that due to their intelligence, smart
marketing, financial power, and pure mass.
Draw a line across the circle bisecting it. That represents going in the exact
opposite of the main flow. For instance, if everyone is going towards big sales,
large stores, thousands of employees, large scale marketing, appealing to a big a
cross section of the population, then the opposite would be to go after a small,
niche market that is targeted to a specific group of people. For instance, in the
home improvement area, the exact opposite of the large chain stores would be
a small company that is specifically aimed at people who make above $200,000
per year. The company can supply “home trainers” to help the homeowner build
whatever they like. Knowing it would be cheaper to hire someone else to do it,
knowing the customer wants the joy of building it himself but needs the help of
an experienced builder. Your company could supply all of the customized tools,
materials, plans, and get other helpers so that the customer is in command and
doing as much work themselves as they like, but is not getting into any trouble
or having a chance of hurting himself. Obviously the charge for this type of help
is gigantically more than the $9.00/hour type of help you get in a large chain
store, but the possibility of a lot of customers is small. Remember, a niche area is
for a targeted group, a specific type of people with particular needs.
Go back to the Invention Circle and bisect the circle again. This time go
between the large scale retailers and the tiny niche market of a specialized few.
In real estate this could mean instead of a one-man office or a large national
chain bringing together a group of five or ten entrepreneurs geared towards
a specific type of market, like selling buildings that have been cleaned up
environmentally call Brownfields sites. These buildings have special restrictions
due to their past contamination but if handled correctly can be extremely
profitable. By joining with a few other handpicked people over a whole state
you can effectively set up a network to go after all of the available properties
and become a specialist in this type of sales.
Go back to the Invention Circle, keep bisecting the circle and viewing your
options from different perspectives. There are no limitations your mind can go
anywhere. You can try anything but remember your limitations are based on
your desire, perseverance, money, and your ability to sell your ideas to other
You now have an idea of what you want to do. The next step is to write out
a plan. Even if you are fuzzy as to the particulars of your new company, the best
thing to do write it down; it will help clarify things in your mind.
It doesn’t have to be fancy as we said before write out:
Answer each of these questions in a single paragraph:
1. What are you trying to accomplish? What needs are you trying to fill?
2. Who will your customers be?
3. Where will your sales come from?
4. Who in your life will this endeavor impact on the good side?
5. Who in your life will this endeavor impact on the negative side?
Now we get to see if you are serious about this. In everyone’s life they
usually have a person whom they look up to and would die if they felt they
looked like a fool. In my case this person is my dad. I remember vividly when
I was being trained to sell; if I could do a presentation in front of him then the
customer was easy. Some people can just make you feel incompetent, brilliant,
happy, sad, successful, like a failure and off balance – all at the same time. You
want to look good in front of them, a success, someone they will be proud of.
If you feel confident enough about your idea to bring it to that person, then
you are ready to start. If not, then show it to someone else first. Modify your
plans, if needed, and then show it to your mentor. Try and make sure that the
opinion of the person you are asking is weighted in your best interest and not
in their ego. Make sure they have the intelligence, background, experience, and
expertise to be in a position to not only judge your idea, but to also help you
on your way. Since you are just starting out, the odds are slim but try anyway;
sometimes you get lucky. Depending on the kind of person you are, the more
who say your idea is bad, then the more it will make your determined to prove
them wrong. When I have a new idea, I will often try it out among a bunch of
people, and the more who say I am crazy, the better I feel the chances are for
success. I feel like I have a good sense of what will potentially happen, and my
ideas are geared towards where my markets will go. Most people are where the
markets are now, so if they think I am wrong then the odds are that I will either
be very right or totally wrong. This is extreme; but since I am always working on
the odds and probability anyway, I would rather be at the edges, so my chances
for a more lucrative future niche market are better.
Since I mentioned mentors let’s go through that right now. A mentor is
someone who has gone before you. In other words, they have already started
a business, built a business, created a new niche market, were able to sell
something or have done anything that you want to do now.
If you are interested in starting a business, find someone who has already
done it successfully. You never want theory in a mentor; you need someone
with hard experience, so never ask a teacher unless they have successfully
done whatever it is you are contemplating. Also remember that when you are
starting out, most of the people you speak to in business will have some basic
information that can be of help, but as you progress you have to keep changing
who you see. If you are at level D in business and trying to move to level C,
a.k.a double your sales or go into a new market, never ask another person at
your own level because you have to go to someone who has already gone past
your position. Always remember you do not want theory you want hard fought
experience and I will keep mentioning that so you don’t forget it.
As you progress in your quest to open, run, and expand your new business,
people will offer advice. Many will do so with complete confidence. The only
thing you can be sure of is if they have not done it themselves, then they have
no idea what they are talking about. Their intentions may or may not be good;
they may want to see you fail to make themselves look or feel better. Always go
to the prime source which are the people with the actual experience.
Why should a mentor help you? In most cases, it is because they:
1. Feel good helping someone out
2. Will gain in some way from your being successful
3. Feel obligated because someone helped them on their way up
Everyone likes the underdog, and as long as your mentor is secure, he or
she will usually be a great resource until the day you equal him or her in success.
By the way, do not expect your advisors to be patient, nice, understanding, or
easy to get along with. They have the assets you want, and if you are lucky they
will share, then take them any way you can. Eventually they will dry up as a
resource, when that happens thank them, move on, and remember you now
have a debt to help someone else.
Your advisors must keep changing as you grow as a person. Once you
decide to settle and stay where you are, your success will also level off. That is
okay if that it is your wish, but remember it is very hard to start growing again,
once you have stagnated to a certain level. People will offer you all types of
advice and a lot of it will seem good, but if they have not gone through the
process themselves, then say thank you; stop wasting your time, get out and
find someone whose advice is worth something. There will be times in your
life when you will have a lot of advisors and others when you have none.
Sometimes your friends can act both as companions and advisors in certain
areas. It is always good to keep talking; if nothing else, verbalize how you are
feeling and your plans for the future. Often the mere act of talking will bring out
new thoughts and formalize ideas that were fuzzy before.
You now have a plan. You have spoken to “people” about it. You think it
has “legs” and want to go for it. You are ready for the next step which is money.
Yes, we are back to money again. Go back to your original idea, and now we
need to get down to some of the nuts and bolts of business. Whatever you are
selling, whether a service or product, there are costs involved. Your next task
is to accurately find out what these costs add up to so you can figure out how
much money you will need. For this discussion we will assume that you will have
no sales for the first three months, which is a good bet anyway. Therefore, all
of your money will be going out with none coming in, so how much do you
Note: At this point you might want to get one of those business plan
software programs because they will be more in depth than me for checking
every cost. Mine, however, should give you a good idea. Remember not to fake
this part because you have to know what things costs, or your dream is doomed
before you start. If you don’t know the actual charge for something, then over
estimate, you can always reduce it later and feel better about saving money.
Selling a product cost areas, based on a the first three months
The product itself:
Are you producing it?
Rental space (do you need to commit to 12 months or more?)
Machinery (lease or own?)
Personnel costs (even if it is just you-how much for food, rent etc.?)
Computers (lease or own?)
Licensing fees, if any (12-month minimum?)
Raw materials
Basic overhead-telephone, stationary etc. (deposits needed?)
The cost of money - bank loans
Research and Development
Professional fees of lawyers accountants etc.
If you are buying finished goods and reselling, then take machinery out of
the equation.
If you are selling a service, then again delete the machinery part of the
equation and put in everything else.
If you have never done this before, how do you figure out these costs? Part
of your “payment” for having a successful company is doing your homework.
Besides, that is what your mentors are for. Your advisors should be able to give
you a handle on the costs, for the others, check out other companies and see
what they are doing. Ask for help from the people you plan to hire before you
move ahead. Never base your costs on one source. Make sure to cross-reference
them so you are sure that for any given service you are within acceptable and
affordable limits. For instance, a lawyer or accountant will most always give you
their fees before they start.
If you do not have any idea what your product will cost, then break it down
to base components (don’t forget the packaging!). Price these parts separately,
figure how much time it takes to make a final product; add them all together,
and you will have a general feel as to what is going to happen. There are so many
variables to this that the safest thing to do is figure out what your costs are on a
monthly basis, double them to take care of the things you forgot, multiply by 12
for the first year, and that should put you in the general area. Now calculate how
much in sales you project for those same 12 months. Can you remain in business
if you sell 25% of what you project, how about 50%? Remember these are only
guidelines, and your business may operate differently, more or less efficiently,
so you have to rely on yourself to get the correct total amounts. When you
find things I left out, add them in and recalculate your total. Again, you can
always reduce your total later. It will only make your profits look better, so in the
beginning be hard on yourself, and try to see the costs the way they really are
and not how you wished they would be.
Remember my job is not to make sure you check everything, I don’t know
your business. Rather, my job is to make you aware of the areas where money
out-flow will be and to remind you that you have to be responsible for them
because they will be there whether you want to acknowledge them or not.
Always remember the fastest way to bankruptcy is not counting all the bills that
will be due.
This is one of those times where school is a good place for information.
Instead of the thumbnail sketch above, courses in accounting, bookkeeping,
how to read and keep balance sheets are excellent ways to help safeguard your
efforts to ensure the financial health of your company. It also means you watch
all of the people who work for you, regarding money management, which is an
invaluable ability as you grow.
Costs are costs, and here is a great place to learn before you strike out on
your own. Remember to use everyone as to his best capacity; your teachers
are good here; they have a lot of access to hard data, and you are paying them
anyway if you are in school. Make sure they help you in the ways that will help
you move quickly into your new markets. Read as much as you can about others
who have started similar companies, their successes and more importantly
where they had their problems. Don’t force yourself to reinvent the wheel if
someone can pave the road for you first.
Speaking of money, it is a good time to check whether you have any. If you
have never had a business before and are reasonably young then the odds are
that banks will consider you a great credit risk, meaning if you can get a loan
at all, then the rates will normally not be great. You will also probably have to
come up with some type of collateral or have it cosigned by someone else. If
you do not go to the bank for money, then you should solidify other sources of
finance. You cannot rely on someone saying things will be fine; you need a solid
agreement (in writing is better) with exactly what you can get, when you can
have it and what terms are needed to pay them back.
Lack of money is why many people go to relatives when they are first
starting out. Regardless of where you get your money, the monthly repayments
of interest plus principle have to an integral part of your planning because if
you fall behind on your loans, then the odds are that the plug on your new
company will soon be pulled. Money is a vital asset, and as my dad always said,
“the lifeblood” of your company. Treat it with respect and it will help you to
accomplish everything; anything less will spell doom.
Remember if you can’t get the cash you may not be ready. It is no crime
to work for someone else, hopefully in a similar type of business to what you
want, so you can learn the ropes before going on your own. If you have the
talent, sometimes you can even end up taking over the company you go work
for. Owners are always looking for good, young people to come in and become
a positive force to help them build and make money, especially if they have no
children of their own in the business.
What is your company idea worth?
You think you have the greatest idea since the electric light bulb? You think
it will revolutionize the wool sock market, video games or have a formula for a
new light weight plastic? You think you can produce computers faster and more
cost-effective than anyone in the world? You think you have the best hamburger
recipe ever invented? You think your company can’t miss, and you don’t want
to share it with anyone? You do not have any money, but you are not willing to
give up any part of your new business because you want it all for yourself?
It is time for a reality check as to what your idea is worth in the market
place. Even if you have an idea that is as good as the electric light bulb you may
want to get it patented, then manufactured and marketed because nothing sells
itself. Sadly, your idea is not worth much, if anything. Sorry to break it to you,
but your true worth is in your ability to work harder, better, faster, and smarter
than anyone else. If you think your idea is so great, patent it, and then try to
sell it on its own. If your patent is worth anything, it will probably be “knocked
off” by someone else within a few months, so most of your efforts will be for
nothing anyway. In most cases it is not necessary to protect your ideas, unless it
is a secret recipe or formula. It is more important that you do the basics better
than anyone else. The best way to keep people from stealing your ideas is to
keep upgrading your products at a faster rate than your competitors can steal it
from you. But first you have to get started.
If someone is willing to put money into your new company because of
your great idea, then you are ahead of the game. Remember the value of your
company is ZERO, just like your time, unless someone is willing to pay for your
product or you. You may have to give up a big chunk of it to get an investor.
As for partners, I would suggest to stay away from them as much as
possible because you are with your partners more waking hours of the day than
your spouse. It is a union that when working well is efficient and profitable but
when times are hard it can turn out to be horrible. You will see these people
at least ten hours a day, five days a week, so you should be careful as to who
you choose. If you are getting involved with relatives, either as actual partners
or backers, you need to be extra careful because your whole life can go up in
smoke if the business does well or not.
I know it sounds good to share the stress, responsibility, and everything
else, but there is seldom a partnership where one or more person doesn’t feel
that they work more, make less, take more stress, are smarter, or a million other
things. Over time this often builds to a crashing destruction of your business.
Have the guts to do it by yourself, and you will be much happier for it later. If
nothing else, you get to call the shots, and that alone is worth a fortune. If it is
not, then you should not be in business anyway.
Therefore you now have:
A plan
Hopefully, no partners
The next step is to test market your planned pool of customers. The formal
way is a “market study,” which is to hire a professional firm to find out how much
potential interest there would be for your company’s product or service and
your possibilities of a percentage of the marketplace. Since you probably do
not have a lot of money, you can go the cheaper route, and try to figure this out
on your own.
Step 1:
Define your marketplace.
Who would buy what you sell?
Establish boundaries.
Here are some possible marketplaces:
Everyone in your town
Everyone in your state
Everyone in the US
All women under the age of 30
All men over the age of 50
All men who have been married once with no children
All women who love men who are bald
All people on your block who don’t like pick-up trucks
Put in your own boundaries. List them here and try to be as specific as
If you don’t know who will buy your product or service then you will have
to get a good “feel” of whom your target audience is by:
1. Taking an informal survey yourself - talk to everyone you know
2. Going to the library and checking for polling data for products or
services that are similar to your own
3. Looking at the market share of companies which are similar to your own
Remember polling data, especially informal ones are notorious for being
skewed. You need to take the results with a grain of salt but do not negate the
results simply because they do not give you the answers you desire. If your
company seems to have a slim chance of success, then you can either:
1. Go ahead anyway
2. Modify your business plan
3. Take more polling data
4. Forget the idea
Again, go to the library and use its resources to concentrate on the type
of clientele you are looking for. Find out as much as you can about them. What
group are you targeting for your potential clients?
Small companies
Mid-size local companies
National companies
Minority owned companies
Head of companies
Mid-level executives
Used car salesman
There are no right and wrong answers. The only bad thing is if you chose
to target a particular group, only to learn you were wrong, and your product or
service is not needed. I know you are itching to get going, but you need to make
sure you have a decent chance of success before plunging in with every asset at
your disposal. Spinning your wells will frustrate you to a degree that you have
never experienced before. Have a little patience, and it should serve you well.
After you have determined who your potential customers are, you know
how many potential targets are in your demographic area and you have
checked how other companies have attacked these markets. You have analyzed
why they seem successful (i.e. best in price, delivery, service, and environmental
betterment) and you know the customer base you are going after. How do you
get your first customers?
Depending on your product or service you can sometimes go after
customers before you have even gone into production. The way to do that is
create a presentation as to what your new company will offer, call on various
potential prospects, and ask to see them. Show them what you are planning to
see if they might have a need for your product or service. One of the best ways
to sell a product or service to someone is not to pressure him or her with the idea
that they have to buy. By going in and asking for their help or guidance, you are
not pressuring them to buy from you. Although, it is a given that if you follow
their advice, they have a slight commitment to buy. The act of helping you is
binding them towards your product or service so they now have a relationship,
whereas they did not have one before. Many people may want to help. Allow
them to do it and a relationship will start. Take their advice, and they will try to
help you.
Once you have seen a group of people and have spoken to a few, then you
have not only started to get a feeling if your idea is a good one, but whether
there is a market, if you like talking to potential customers. Do not ignore the
feelings in your stomach. If you have a great deal of trouble making the phone
calls to people who might be your customers, then you have to consider that:
1. It doesn’t matter, and you can make yourself do it
2. You can make yourself do it and be good at it
3. You will like doing it
4. You will hate doing it, and it will make you sick to continue
If you can’t sell, then you have to figure out a different way to get customers,
like advertising, hiring sales people, word of mouth, opening a store etc. There
is a whole section about selling and marketing coming up so don’t worry you
will have a lot of chances to see if you can do it.
Chapter 
Taking The Plunge
Now let’s make the assumption that you will be able to find customers who
1. Buy your products in ever increasing numbers
2. Pay their bills
We are now ready for the next big step to make the final decision as to
whether to go into business for yourself. It involves:
Current relationships
Your gut feeling
Your commitment
The world
Your being
This is probably one of the toughest decisions you will ever make. Yes, there
is a tomorrow if it all doesn’t work out, but if you do this correctly it will change
your life from this point forward. Therefore, it is your best interest that you
should be as prepared as possible before you take the plunge. Yes, you could
succeed if you skip the rest and just open your business. But I presume you do
not have a death wish or a desire to face impossible odds. Therefore, you want
to give yourself every advantage. I offer you the following advice: which are
the “rules” of life and your place in them. By the time you finish, you will know
a lot more about yourself than you perhaps wanted, but knowledge is power.
Remember, you got this far; everything is in place to go after your dream, let’s
see just how much you want it and how ready you really are.
To understand what I am about to tell you about yourself, you will first need
to know more about me and how I got where to where I am today. You can
decide later whether you think I am in a good place or not. Suffice it to say,
I have a wonderful, caring family; a great business; money and power to do
mostly as I please; and the desire to help others as well as advance myself. Your
definition of success is up to you. This is how I got here.
My story starts with my grandfather, Morris Jacobs, born in 1895. He grew
up on a farm in the Carpathian Mountains in Poland also know as Transylvania.
He left the farm in the early 1900s as a boy, emigrated to America. Times must
have been tough for the people over there because our family has virtually no
information about our other relatives, who they were, and where they were
located. Secrecy seemed to be the order of the day, and my grandfather was a
master of it. He gave no information for anything. We learned later of relatives
who lived in our same town in New Jersey, whom he knew about but never
mentioned to us.
He was a man of great strength, determination and intelligence; when
he made up his mind, that was it. He was also ambitious. Although he had no
college education, he was a bookkeeper. By the time he was in his mid-20s he was
holding three jobs and taking care of his mother after his father died. His brother,
my great uncle, was a printing and office supply broker, which is someone who
buys finished goods and resells them but does no actual manufacturing. In 1921,
one of my grandfather’s jobs was being in charge of American Cyanamid Corp’s
cafeteria in Bound Brook, New Jersey. The people there liked my grandfather
and when they decided to close the cafeteria the employees told him he
should go into the same business as his brother, and that they would be his first
customer. He then opened Ideal Printing and Office Supply Company. He still
kept his other two jobs, in case his new company did not work out. He also gave
himself the goal of making about $35/week and would see how things went for
a few months. He was competent and shortly was making much more than his
weekly goal. He eventually gave up his other two jobs. Things went well for his
new company, but in 1929 the Great Depression came. The office supply people
he bought furniture from decided to go “direct” and cut middlemen like my
grandfather out of the business loop. He responded by changing the name of
the company to Ideal Printing and Engraving Co., engraving being engraved
stationary. He sailed through the Depression and World War II, always making
money and doing well. He got married, had two children, my father and my
uncle; and in the late 1940s they went into the “family” business.
Things went well with everyone making money. In the early 1960s my father
and uncle put in a printing plant so they were no longer buying finished goods
from other people. Business was good until 1971 when they stopped getting
along, both as partners and brothers, and that was when they split up: my Uncle
keeping the plant in New York and my father moving back to New Jersey, where
we lived and became a printing broker again. The split marked the beginning
of a family feud that lasted more than 25 years. Happily, before my uncle died,
we kids on both sides were able to get them back together so at least they had
reconciled before he passed on.
During this time I was in high school and trying to figure out what to do
with my life. I always liked working hard, making my own money, paying my
own way, and using what I earned to have others do as I wished. I always knew
that money was a tool to be both influential and powerful, and I knew I wanted
a lot of it. Still, I always wanted to help people and knew that meant they had to
trust me first. After looking around at who people generally trusted, I came up
with two conclusions. First, the head of the evening TV news topped the polls in
the trust category. Second, the most powerful man in the world is the President
of the United States. Therefore, I decided that those were two jobs I wanted; in
addition, I also wanted to be a publisher because I thought that would be fun.
I decided to go to college to become a broadcaster and attended the
University of Delaware because it had a Speech Communications program
and because my sister so I was already familiar with it and liked the campus.
I originally had planned to get an undergraduate degree in three years and
doctorate in another three. It was ambitious for a college freshman and lack of
drive was never a problem. I did eventually graduate in three years but quickly
learned a doctorate was going to be useless in my chosen field. At the end of
my senior year, I had a fistful of rejection slips and went home to New Jersey
to look for a job in New York City. I remember looking up at the skyscrapers
and realizing that no one there cared if I lived or died. This was not a position I
wished to be in.
I went home again. While in the kitchen of my parents’ house I decided I
did not want to be where no one wanted me. At that moment, one week after
I had graduated from college, I decided on a career change. Everyone always
said I would make a great salesman, so I decided it was time to see if they were
right. After all, how many times do you need to be kicked in the teeth before
you admit your first plan had failed? I had failed; what a horrible sounding word,
but I was not beaten. I walked into the next room and told my dad I was going
to become a salesman, so he said I could work for him. Working for my dad had
always been my backup, but the thought of giving my dad not only the power
of being a dad but also a boss was mind-numbing. The amount of influence
over me would be complete, and I knew I would have to be in total submission
until I could prove myself. I had failed once. There was no way I was ever going
to fail again, especially in front of my father.
To know my dad is both to love and not to like him, He is intelligent and
has a set of opinions encased in concrete so that no one was going to shake, let
alone crack. He had his way of doing things; no man alive was going to question
his tactics, processes, or motives. If I were going to work for him, I would be
trained from the toes up and I would to learn his way with no question. He was
successful, and I wanted to share in that success. From the moment I committed
to work for him, I was determined to soak up every ounce of knowledge and
experience from him as fast as I could. I wanted to become successful as soon
as possible.
His training system was a total imersion in his ways. There was never a
question of a breach of his discipline. If he said jump, I did; if he said walk, I ran.
I did everything as quickly as possible to achieve the status of equality with
him. His measure of success was sales. If I sold enough to make a living, then
my opinion mattered. Until I reached that point, I was to keep my mouth shut
unless spoken to. I never offered a solution unless it was asked of me because all
I had was unproven theory. Until I had my own sales I had no business believing
my thoughts and ideas had any value. It was a rough beginning, but it made
me tough beyond my years. It was just the kind of training I thirsted for - to be
judged entirely on results. No theory, no opinions, just the bottom line counted.
If you have sales, you did it right. If you have a lot of business, you did it better.
You fight against those who have the sales and take it from them. Simply put:
this is warfare in its purest form. Since there is a limited amount of business, you
have to take it from someone else; the rules are simple, just not easy.
In order to pull the business from someone else, you must be better. “Better”
is defined as being more knowledgeable about your product line, providing a
better product, delivering faster (at a better price), offering a better backup,
and superior handling of yourself in times of trouble. You are as good as the
total sum of all your positive and negative abilities. An easy way to tell how well
you are doing is to look at your sales figure.
After about five weeks of full-time work in the business (I had worked parttime since I was five), my dad pointed to the door and said, “Go sell.”
I asked innocently, “Sell what?”
“Sell printing,” he said.
“But I don’t know anything,” I said.
“No problem,” said my dad. “Take these samples, go door-to-door, and ask
for whomever buys the printing. Show them these samples, and ask if they have
anything to quote on. If so, bring it back to me, and I will help you from there.”
Not knowing any better, I said okay. I wasn’t about to fail again, so I grabbed
the samples and headed out the door. I got to the stoop and stopped as I heard
the door click behind me. I could have sworn I heard it also being locked. I
suddenly realized what I was about to do. I was going to go door-to-door, like
a brush salesman. People were going to slam doors in my face, yell at me to go
away, call security, send there dogs after me, etc. How could I make myself do
this, especially when I did not know anything? This was going to be horrible.
How could I force myself to do this? I had to figure out in my head how I could
do this and thought back to other times of my life when I had been in the same
situation where people had kicked me out, not wanted to talk to me and told
me to go away. Then it hit me; this was just like dating.
Chapter 
Learning The Odds -or- What Women Want
When I was about 12 years old I told my father I wanted to start dating. He
said he was going to give me the “talk.” Not about sex but about woman. “One
out of three,” he said. “One out of three?” I asked. For every three woman you
ask out, one will say yes. It doesn’t matter their background, ethnic origin, their
jobs or anything else – it was strictly the odds,” he said. “Really?” I asked.
“Try it,” he said.
From that point on, until I met my wonderful wife when I was 27 years old,
I had asked out almost 600 women. About 400 turned me down but about 200
said yes. What I learned was that the odds never stopped; they always held true.
The “one out of the three” rule was based on:
1. Competency
2. Intelligence
3. Experience
For instance, as time went on, I went after more (i.e. beautiful, intelligent
interesting woman); my techniques also improved so the odds held. I learned
that in dating there were certain things of importance to woman which were
much different than what was important to me. If I appealed to what was more
important to them, then I could increase my chances of gaining affirmative
To break it down into particulars, these are things that are most important
to a woman (over 19 years old) you are trying to date.
She is looking for a man who:
1. Is solid financially
2. Will be able to support her emotionally
3. Is interested in her as a person as opposed to just for sex
4. Might be a permanent partner
5. Someone to be friends with
6. Someone to have children with
7. Is physically attractive
8. Someone to have sex with
1. Financially Solid
Even with the woman’s liberation movement, it is generally considered
that the man of a relationship will be the dominant money generator. After all
biology is biology, and the woman still has to give birth to the children. Their
recovery time and need/desire to be with their young children generally means
their priorities are more towards the family, instead of their work, at least in
the beginning of their new family. Granted there are numerous exceptions,
but when dealing with the generalities of life, love, business, and especially the
odds, you have to go with the general flow in order to realistically predict what
can happen. Therefore, many women are looking to ensure that when they do
take time out to have a family, they do not want finances to be a pressing issue.
That time will hopefully be happily devoted to getting pregnant, and at least
spending some time with their newborn children. Also, many women would
prefer to be stay-at-home moms with their young families if their finances permit
it. That is also the reason it is very important to discuss this kind of thing before
getting married so that both sides are prepared and happy for the roles they
will embark on. Therefore, the people they date must have at least a glimmer of
being able to handle a long-term commitment and the possibility of fullfilling
their need for economic security. There is nothing wrong with this; it implies a
long range planning that most men are not capable of persuing. But as with all
good planning, needs should be addressed early in any relationship. Therefore,
a woman is looking for a long-term stable partner who can ensure that once
commitments are entered into life, family, and home, the partner in question
can hold up his end of the bargain.
This, of course, negates the case for hormones that can affect both sexes
at any time and in multiple ways. Keep in mind we are talking generalities, not
specific situations. Just like Las Vegas, we are going to play the odds as to what
will generally happen. We will talk more about the odds later. As a side note, I
have found that women as a whole are much more introspective beings than
men. They are able to look past skin-deep appearances and will judge a person
much more on their overall persona and potential than most guys. This is why
you will sometimes see absolutely gorgeous women with average looking
men. These women are looking past the surface to the inner layers. In this way,
I believe woman are much superior to men.
2. Emotional support
Men and women handle joy, stress, anger and almost all other emotions in
much different ways. For example, a woman wants to know that her significant
other is there no matter what she looks like. However, this needed reassurance
is just a factor of society, and a way for her to focus her negative thoughts
on her significant other. It never ceases to amaze me that woman love to
verbally complain and vent but just want to be heard; they don’t want advice
or empathy, just sympathy. They want a wall of support no matter what they
do, unquestioned. If they receive this, then they will be loyal and supportive
3. More than just sex
No one wants to feel like a one-dimensional object of any type to anyone.
If a woman feels that she is only needed for sex, then she is going to feel used.
Women want to be considered as a complete person, who sometimes wants
to do certain things, and other times wants something else. They are complex,
multifaceted, and often experience multiple desires, frustrations and feelings
at the same time. They are looking for a man who hopefully translate at least
some of the emotions and give back what they need. If that means postponing
sex or doing something out of the ordinary, then that will lead to a much deeper
relationship later on.
4. Potential permanent partner
When I went to college in Delaware, I was told that many of the women
there were trying to get their MRS. I did not know what degree that was until
someone enlightened me that they were there to find a husband. Although
it was 30 years ago and certain things have changed, it is still in the back of
most women’s minds when they are out dating that the person they are seeing
that night is a potential marriage partner. Therefore, as the date is progressing,
she is running through a checklist of the important points to her as to whether
this person is someone who she might get along with on a long-term basis. It
is more evident with some women than with others, but in my experience, it
seemed to occur in almost all cases. Women have their view of the perfect man,
and they judge all of us against that standard.
5. Someone to be friends with
Ahhh!!! The kiss of death. A woman does not want to go out with you, but
she wants to be friends. I never really wanted to be friends with the women I
dated, but I did have some women friends. Woman can be good companions,
because not only do they have a different point of view, but you can find out
how they think is very productive. It is like having your own personal spy into
the other camp. Women and men think so differently that asking a question to
someone you are not trying to have sex with and have no fear of looking stupid
can be informative. I learned more about women from women than anyone
else. They gave me an insight that made it much easier to be around them, work
with them and go out with them. When you take away the possibility of sex, you
have a better and easier chance of enabling a relationship to grow that is based
on understanding and mutual respect. You can treat them as human beings,
and not as objects, and this is to your advantage. Besides, you can ask them for
advice about the woman you are seeking or currently dating.
In relationships, friendship is more important for the woman than the man.
This foundation is essential before they go too far into a courtship. In general,
women want to know how their men really feel and how they will react when
the relationship is based on a one-to-one situation, as opposed to the men
doing anything necessary so they can get sex.
When I was in college there was a girl named Consuelo who was absolutely
gorgeous in a titillating, exotic, European way. She was 18 going on 30, very
smart. I met her in Italian class, but she had a boyfriend. I fell for her instantly,
and she let me know right away there was no chance I would ever be more than
a friend, but she very much wanted the friendship. I had some experience with
having woman as friends before, and I readily agreed to the offer. We spent the
next three years being very close. It was really great because she saved all of the
venom and trouble for her boyfriend and saved most of the sweet, loving side
for me. Since I did not expect nor got sex from her, a prerequisite to most of the
rest of the males she encountered, I was able to enter into her world and that of
her friends. It was like receiving a telescope into a different galaxy, and I would
not have given it up for all for all of the sex in the world. She and her beautiful
friends taught me what is was like to be around many fantastic looking women
and showed me how not have my mind go blank, my tongue tied, and my knees
shaking whenever one entered the room.
Beauty is a salable commodity. A smart woman knows to use it to her
advantage. But she also knows that men are basing their relationships on how
they look. Therefore, everything is a skin-deep characteristic that will eventually
fade. I was able to transcend that physical level with Consuelo and her friends.
They treated me like an equal. Since our relationship was predefined and that
line never crossed, her physical power was useless on me. I grew to love her even
more for the loyal, caring person she was. It was a valuable lesson in power and
what it takes to get through to people, in spite of some apparent advantages
that, in the end, can act more as a deterrent than an asset.
6. Someone to have children with
When I was a child, I hated little kids. I thought they were a giant pain and
did not want to be around them. Then, as I got older, I started to like them and
even became a camp counselor when I was a teenager. I had definite theories on
how to handle children, and it involved discipline and allowing them as much
freedom as they could handle. Unfortunately, for some of the people I worked
for, my ideas of discipline and freedom did not coincide with theirs (I was right,
and the kids loved me) but sometimes I had to move on. For the record, I believe
that everyone should be treated with respect as long as they earn, it regardless
of their age.
As I got older, I found that letting my dates know that I liked kids was
usually a good thing. It meant that if a future between us ever developed, then
they knew that there was a good chance for a family. In fact, I thought that I had
once gotten a woman pregnant. When she told me, I said I really did not want
to marry her but wanted the child and would happily assume custody of the
child once she delivered. I think she may have been trying to corner me into a
long-term commitment. She was in both horror and disbelief that not only did I
want the child but did not want her. As it turned out, she was not pregnant and
our dating ended shortly thereafter.
Children are often a deal breaker in relationships and the yearning for
children often comes sooner for woman than men, which is a reason why it
comes up early in most relationships. Women want to know if they are wasting
their time or if there is a possibility for a long-term future – talking about a
family is a good way to do it.
7. Physically attractive
As I wrote before, this is one area where women are so superior to men.
They want someone to look good, but it is not high on their list of importance.
Women like to have a man who is in good shape and nice to look at (yes, they
seem to favor their backsides as an ideal place to gaze). They are, however,
more able and willing to look past a man’s physical appearance, if it is made
up for with intelligence, a great sense of humor, and the ability to gain power,
influence, and accumulate wealth.
8. Someone to have sex with
Yes, women do want to have sex, contrary to what most men believe.
Although, unlike men they seem to go in cycles as to when they want it. Sex
to a woman is more of an emotional bonding, whereas to a man it is more of
a physical outlet. This is one reason why women seem to always be the ones
being chased as opposed to the chaser. Unless they think they have found a
potentially suitable male they are trying to cement into a relationship. Sex to
them is something to bring two people closer together. For men, intimacy
is a physical outlet that once done is time to move onto something else, not
necessarily to another woman, but to nap or snack is always nice.
This is why many women want to wait until the relationship has reached a
deeper level before going further because it means there is already something
else to move onto until it is time for intimacy again. Remember, sex is a physical
outlet for men that once satisfied, it enables them to refocus on more important
things like work, family, and love. Women need the physical demonstration that
sex is a symbol of their love for each other and promise for the future. If there is
no respect, laughter, shared areas, or a drive to want to be together, then the lust
for physical union will fade. Let us also not forget that women are the ones who
get pregnant and have the higher possibility for disease, and therefore have
a lot more to lose than any man. Women have more to lose in a non-binding
relationship which is another reason for her to be more careful and want to wait
in any relationship she enters.
Chapter 
What Men Want
Men are looking for many of the same things, but in a different order
of importance. Since men are expected to work, they are less concerned
with finding a mate who can support them financially. Men are looking for
someone to be nice to them, keep them fed, give them sex, and treat them
nicely. For that, men are willing to give up almost everything else. Their order
of importance is someone:
They find physically attractive
To have sex with
Who is nice to them
Is proud of them
Who might be a future permanent partner
Who will support them emotionally
To have children with
Is solid financially
Someone they find physically attractive
Men want someone who is good looking to please themselves, show
their friends, and help prop up their egos as to how handsome they are
because they are with a good looking woman. I used to date a lot of really
great looking girls (I will tell you how later), and my friends would constantly
look at me and ask how I did it. No, I was not sleeping with most of them; I
was just dating them. However, my stock with my friends went through the
roof when they saw me with all of these beautiful women. They rated me and
themselves by the people who associated with us. Coolness by association, or
in this case, sex appeal.
This is where my relationship with Consuelo in college, and others before
her, came into such importance. The fact that I was able to be friends with a
woman meant that I already knew enough to keep me out of trouble with
most and had the ability to go after the gorgeous ones that most men found
One of the things I learned first was that the most beautiful women often
stayed home at night because many guys were too afraid to ask them out. They
figured they had no chance and thought they would always be busy. I found
that the best way to ask out a gorgeous woman was one hour before you
wanted to go out on a date. Since most sit home at night, if you called them
in the right way, they would often say yes and since you only had an hour to
get ready, you did not have days to sit around and mess yourself up mentally
regarding how you could be worthy enough to be out with this woman.
As a whole, anyone who was pretty was often used to being dealt with
differently. Since I always tried to treat everyone with the greatest respect,
until they proved undeserving of it, I rarely had much trouble. Additionally, I
did not expect them to sleep with me on the first date (somewhat, I am afraid,
differently than the rest of the male population) I often found myself involved
with unusual situations with lots of really fun people.
Eventually the surface beauty of women begins to wear thin, as does
dating, and by the time I was ready to settle down, I was sick of the whole
process.Eventually, I asked out potentially suitable woman to places where I
already wanted to go and figured if they were not good people, then at least
I would enjoy where I was going. I was learning to relax more with everyone
which enabled me to be more myself, which also helped to relax the other
person as well.
Someone to have sex with
As I stated before, men have a physical need to have sex. They need
the act in order to quell a fire that is constantly burning throughout their
being. The only time that fire is out is after is has been satisfied in some way.
Otherwise it is always there and crying out to be nourished. Women have no
idea how much that burning can grow and how it can consume one’s being. It
invades your thoughts and turns your mind to mush. That explains why some
men play a lot of sports, drink, pay for sex, will have sex with anything moving,
and/or do it themselves. Sex is power for a woman because they know men
crave it. Actually, they think men just crave it, but in reality men have a need
for it. Like eating and being warm at night they can never be truly satisfied
unless they are getting it in some form. Women know that men will do almost
anything including subjugating themselves in terms of going into long-term
relationships, marriage, and having families in order to get it on a regular basis.
We men are victims of our own biological needs, and women know they can
use it, use it sparingly or withhold it in order to get what they want. The reality
is that unless we swear ourselves against it, we are powerless.
It is only when a male is strong enough to either go without, has multiple
possibilities or has that rare relationship where the drives for sex are in
equilibrium. That is why we men are our own worst enemies. We want sex
almost more than anything, and once we are getting satisfaction, it seems to
almost lose its urgency and appeal. On a long-term basis, it is a constant war
within all of us, like a dependency on drugs or anything else that harnesses a
great deal of energy that could be used better somewhere else.
Someone who might be a permanent partner
Yes, most men do eventually want to settle down, get married, and have
families. Men want to be taken care of by being kept warm at night, feel
well, and treated nicely with respect. In fact, if you give a man those things
including sex at least some of the time, then odds are he will do anything
asked of him especially if his kids are involved. Men really are not complex
emotional creatures, just people who wanted to be treated well and in
exchange will give everything they have. If they are fortunate, they will find
someone who loves them for who they are and are willing to move forward as
a team, working and supporting one another so they and their kids can grow
to their fullest potential.
Someone who will support them emotionally
Men are not the most trusting people in the world. Their worst fear is
looking bad to themselves, worse to their friends, still worse to their significant
other and most importantly, worse in front of their children. Emotional support
for a man rarely comes from a woman; usually it is from other guy friends who
understand their insecurities or from their own children. Most guys will never
want to look badly in front of a woman and would rarely display any emotion
especially crying. It is a rare female who can support a man emotionally and
still let him be a guy. Incredibly enough, I have such a woman, and she is a
great part of my success because I know she will support me no matter what
happens. She is always in my corner and will protect my back forever. Still, trust
is not something built quickly; it takes a long time with layers of reinforcing
experience build on each other to create a rock-like coating around we most
fragile of creatures.
Someone to have children with
A man’s legacy is partially defined through his children. When one has
matured enough, when the idea of having a permanent relationship with
a wife does not send him running on an extended road trip, then having
thoughts of children are not far behind. The reason this is so far down the list
is because it is one of the last traits he will want to see in a woman. Seeing
it as a positive attribute means he is ready to settle down. This realization is
a major change for all men to understand that they can be happy with one
person and bring children purposely into the world. Men usually reach this
level later in life than women but once a man is ready, the next step of finding
a suitable woman often does not take much time.
Once again remember these are generalities for both men and women
and do not apply them to everyone all the time. You want patterns of behavior
that help allow you use the odds to determine what will generally happen
in certain situations. Keeping track of percentages and allowing for multiple
opportunities will help increase your odds of success (i.e. going out with more
than one person at a time will enable you to have a better chance at finding
what you are looking for at the appropriate time).
I have purposely left off one extremely important item for both men and
woman and did so not only to discuss this item at the end, but also because
many do not realize its importance. This important item is to find someone
suitable. By “suitable,” I mean someone who you can enter into a long-term
relationship with that will offer a better alternative than staying single. My
meaning of “suitable” can be defined as the characteristics that will enhance
the chances of a long-term, positive relationship for all involved.
For instance, if you have two people with the same religion, similar
backgrounds, socio-economic levels, schooling and also those who tend to
have similar interests, values and are comfortable around the same type of
people, the odds are that there is a greater chance of creating a long-term
relationship than if both parties don’t share these characteristics. This is
obviously not to say that people with different backgrounds, religions etc.
can’t get along; it simply means it is not as easy and therefore their chances
for long-term relationship survival is at a lesser level than those who do.
About a month after I met my wife I was pretty sure I was going to marry
her. I would have lunch with my dad and we would go over the pros and cons
of our getting married. I included everything I could think of on the list from
age to background, to religion, and I kept putting everything on the pro
side. Within a few months, it became obvious that my future wife was the
only suitable person I had ever met. That says a lot considering how many
women I took out. We were talking about marriage after six weeks and were
married within a year of meeting. When we went to see her rabbi before
getting married to discuss things, he marveled at the fact of how there were
no negatives involved with anything about our wedding, our families and
most of all ourselves. That was almost 20 years ago, and she is still suitable;
a word that she is not thrilled with but it’sthe highest rating I could ever give
As we were getting married, what was most on my mind was that this
was going to be the most important “deal” of my life. Whatever happened;
this relationship would affect everything I did from this point on, and I was
hoping it would work out well. All my interactions with everyone else were a
relationship of some kind. Some were infrequent and relatively unimportant,
such as going to the cleaners to have your clothes pressed. You give money
to the owner, and he gives you back your clothes pressed. The relationship
is defined and works well as long as he does a good job and you pay him.
The more important the relationship, the more that is at stake, but the basic
elements are still the same. Both sides give something and expect something
in return. The good ones, have a good chance for more business to occur and
for the relationship to grow. These relationships cover all human interaction
and the sooner you define them as such and work at them within the right
framework, the more you can give and get.
What does this have to do with starting your new company? The answer
is plenty. Business is also based on relationships, and you have to be able
to define them in order to be able to maximize your chances for economic
survival. If you can’t analyze and control what is happening in your personal
life, in which you have a great stake, then you have little chance in any other
area. Dating and relationships are your personal laboratory. They are a great
place to research as to why you have reacted in such a way at such a point in
the past and what you can do in the future to move things along in a more
positive direction.
Chapter 
It’s All About You
Now that you have an idea as to what men and woman might be thinking
when they are looking for dates. It’s time to look at what happens when they
actually start the process.
We are going to look at this from a statistical basis. my apologies to those
who expect love to spawn from a lightening strike, Mr. or Mrs. Right will walk
through the door one day, and they will just get lucky finding the perfect mate.
Judging from the fact that there is a 50% divorce rate I would say that technique
is not exactly the best way to plan your future.
The first thing you need to do is to define who you are, and then you can
define what you want. This is exactly the same thing you need to do in order
to start and successfully run your new business. Once you have completed
this process, set up situations where you can attract the type of person in
the highest percentage, just like how you will attract customers for your new
venture. Remember, you are looking for someone here of worth, and you need
to attack this problem, like every other, the way you will do in your new business
with thought, planning, and the high need to succeed.
If you already have a significant other, proceed with this test anyway
because it will give you a key as to how to be better serve the one you love.
Always remember that once you have a relationship your primary responsibility
is to be the best person you can be in mind, body and soul at all times. Respect
your mate. Be at your best at all times because they deserve it and should be
giving the same to you. The situation must be at an equal 100% from both sides
at all times. Therefore, if you think things get easy after you enter into a longterm relationship then you can forget about it. Things change but never get
easy and you can never stop working to make things better.
You took the test before to find out about yourself in general. Now take this
test to help you see the type of person you would like to date. Later you will be
asked to take a similar test regarding the qualities you would like your future
dates and mate to possess.
Rate yourself on a basis of 1-5 with one being the least and five being the
I am:
Looking towards the future
Destined for greatness
Predestined for nothing
In great shape
Good looking
Short sided
Scared of commitment
Driven to success
Now describe the type of person you want. This is the same list as above
but now you can tailor your own mate.
Looking towards the future
Destined for greatness
Predestined for nothing
In great shape
Good looking
Short sided
Scared of commitment
Driven to success
Look back at your list and see the person you have “built” as your model
significant other. Would that “perfect” person want or be happy with you in
return? In other words, are you good enough for what he or she wants? Do
you deserve the person you desire? If not, can you modify your requirements,
or hope they are blind in many of their senses? Do the best thing, which is to
modify yourself to make you the best person possible and be worthy of the one
you seek.
No one says you have to be stupid, lazy, and unsuccessful; those are your
choices and no one else’s. No one is holding you back from only making $25,000
a year when you dream of being a millionaire. The rules are yours to modify as
you see fit to make yourself the person you want you to be. I know it may sound
simple but it often is just not easy. You know what needs to be done; that is no
big mystery, but the tough part is doing it.
Chapter 
Mind, Body, & Soul
Before we get back to finding the person of your dreams, let’s talk about
what it takes to change not just for dating, but for your new business as well. To
do this we have to cover your mind, body, and soul.
The Easiest One: Your Body
When I was growing up I was overweight and I hated it. I did not like that
my stomach fell over my bathing suit. I could not run as fast as my friends and
was generally looked down on because I was “hefty.” Say what you want about
what one “should be,” but I have never heard of an overweight person who did
not wish they were slimmer. It doesn’t mean it is fair and is a fault in our society,
but things are as they are and people judge us by our appearance.
Our bodies are energy-producing machines that allow us to drive ourselves
to achieve the goals we set. The amount of energy produced is directly
proportional to our abilities and desires to create, attack, produce, follow-up
on, and conquer. Therefore, it is in our best interest to make sure our bodies
are in the best shape possible to produce what we need to excel. In most cases
that means putting in the foods and liquids that will benefit the production of
energy, clear thoughts, and productivity, which should result in the immediate
decrease in the amount of garbage you are putting into your system.
Do you honestly think that it makes a difference if you eat a lot of junk
and greasy food that is high calories but taste great and does nothing but
put cellulite on your thighs? Besides the fact that many people consider that
being overweight as being a lack of willpower, the extra weight is putting extra
stress on your heart, vital organs, and taking energy away from what is more
important, which is to go after your dreams.
Do you think that you can be sloppy in your eating, and it won’t affect you in
business? You are fighting against people who are watching virtually everything
they put into their bodies to maximize the energy they will generate and utilize.
It is in the final run for an order, a new piece of business, the final interview
for a new job, or a new idea that the strong will outlast the weak. That extra
hotdog and beer you guzzled down last night while staying up until 3:00AM
watching TV will spell your doom. Just when you need that last burst of energy
to solidify a deal, you’ll go into a state of drowsiness while your competition is
taking all the big prizes. Make no mistake; we are all in a state of war, and the
better prepared you are, the better your chances to survive at all and prosper
more than others.
Obviously, if you are eating poorly and overweight, it is not a good thing.
Liquor is nothing more than a sense deadener that adds empty calories to your
body and makes it easy for anyone that is sober to out-think you. The more you
drink, the less you feel and the longer it takes for you to make a quick decision,
the easier target you are for destruction.
Cigarettes, like other drugs, are a quick fix for a lack of energy or an answer
for stress. The natural way to reduce and relieve stress of all types is physical
exercise. After time that begins to produce its own drug-like feelings of well
being. Exercise is a great benefit to the body and will enable your energyproducing interior machine to go into hyper drive. Over the long term, the use
of drugs will eventually destroy you; while exercise, when done correctly, will
enable to grow stronger, better, and help you to be happier in all areas of your
life. If you have to be obsessive about something (if you want to have your own
business you probably are), then move those needs for repetitive behavior to
positive areas. Instead of smoking, drinking, or doing drugs, go to natural foods,
exercise and positive thinking. These take much more effort, but the results are
huge, and the improvements permeate your entire world.
Remember no one is perfect, and everyone has areas they would like to
improve. The main thing is to lessen those bad areas as much as possible, so
they will reduce their impact on your overall life. If you do something that is not
good for your body you will pay a price. There is no way around it. If you think it
is not a problem, you may be right in the short term; but in the long run, it will
come back to haunt you when it is too late.
I love to go against people with vices; it means in the long term, they will
probably falter just enough, that on a percentaged basis, I will win more than
they. That is all I need; a little extra edge that they take away from themselves
which will allow me to take what they have. You’re at war with both yourself
and everyone else. Your body craves garbage; you have to fight it so you can
be ready for the long haul. The good news is that most humans have addictive
personalities, and that problem can be used to your advantage. Once you
start eating better and exercising (be careful, check your doctor first), then the
energy that will be produced will make you feel better; and you will get hooked
on these better feelings. You will want to eat right because of how it makes you
feel and will want to work out for the incredible highs produced.
Working out does not have to be boring. If you like to lift weights, great; I
personally don’t. But I bicycle, play tennis, walk, workout in my gym, do martial
arts. They all involve exercise, but it is stuff I like doing so it doesn’t feel like a
chore. There is no rule that says you can’t have fun while building a better you.
So if watching television while on the treadmill makes it go faster, then go for it.
Be good to yourself, your workouts need to be set-up so your mind can shutoff
and you can relax. There is nothing more satisfying the feeling of your body
working hard, sweating, and you doing something you love. Often, once you
get used to it, your mind can move into a new dimension where it can work
on tough problems that seem unsolvable otherwise. It is a wonderful, relaxing,
exuberant state to be in; I can’t recommend it enough. Working out can take
the place of many bad things you used to do, but now you even get to burn
calories, look and feel better; and it helps your body to produce more energy.
Your body wants to be healthy; give it a chance to make you better, and
it will become an energy-producing machine that will enable you to think
faster, better, longer, and reach levels you never dreamed possible. Check a
professional before you start and a doctor. Make sure you do not overdo it, or
you will never continue. Try a bunch of things to see what appeals to you. It is
also a great way to meet new people, make business contacts, and find likeminded souls who are also out to improve their loves through positive means.
Remember you can’t move your mind if your body does not help; you are all
one person. Everything has to be moving in the same positive direction in order
to maximize your potential in all areas.
Speaking of food, I do not want you to think that you have to go on a zero
carb, no-fat diet, and all you can eat are celery sticks and turnips. Far from that,
what I suggest is a gradual weaning off of the worst stuff, in favor of some better
food and see how things go from there. About 20 years ago, I used to eat a great
deal of salt until one night I positively overdosed on the stuff and got sick. From
that point on, I decided to add salt only on rare occasions. It took a little while
for my tastebuds to adjust, but now the salt naturally contained in my food and
added while cooking is more than enough. The same thing went for fat, I used
to like the taste of butter, drank whole milk, and ate cheese and yogurt. Over
time (and with the help of becoming lactose-intolerant), I have been able to cut
out a great deal of fat from my diet and go to substitutes like soy cheese, skim
milk, and no red meat. Now when I do eat something that has a lot of fat in it,
it makes my stomach turn, and I have a great deal of trouble enjoying it. If you
give your body the chance to adjust to the “good stuff” it will gladly do so and
enable you to enjoy various new types of food. It will add much more subtle
tastes and flavors to your senses that are not covered up by the garbage you
used to consume. You can do this but start slowly, and give your body and your
mind a chance to adjust to a new life.
The Next Stop: Your Mind
While it is hard to get your body working, doing something with your mind
is even tougher. We are all products of our heredity and environment, a curious
mixture of what happened before and during our lifetimes. Often we are
modified by situations we don’t remember and never really know how we will
react to something until it is triggered by an event in our lives. For instance, a
child who endured years of bullying suddenly kills someone at a later part in his
life when someone tries to harass him again. Another example is if a girl laughs
at a boy for having the audacity to ask her for a date, and it drives him to high
levels of success because he swears he will never be laughed at again. Highly
charged emotional events like these can leave lasting marks and impressions
that sometimes take years to reappear when something else triggers them. For
a girl it could be that she was told she could not do something because she
was not a man or was always being told her biggest goal in life should be to get
married and have children.
It doesn’t have to be a negative moment, we are all products of various
situations that have left their mark on us, whether from our own lifetimes or
those imprinted from our parents and other people who have influenced our
lives. Negative and positive reinforcement and the ways we internalized these
feelings are what make us who we are today.
It is impossible to know ourselves well enough to pinpoint every situation
that formed us, but if you are going to be able to relate with others on the
highest levels, you must get to know yourself better than you do now.
The best way to do that and analyze all of the relationships you have in your
life is from the basis from which they are occurring. For instance, how do you
get along with your mom and dad? Probably quite differently, I would guess. I
would also expect that you interact differently and on different levels of intimacy
with various brothers, sisters, friends, colleagues, bosses, and acquaintances. To
understand your actions and reactions, there is a list below of traits that are for
“rating” each of your primary relationships. Once you are done, look back and
see if there is a pattern. Do you handle yourself differently with older people or
those younger than yourself? What about those who seem wealthier, poorer, or
from different ethnic backgrounds?
Your opinions and prejudices have positive and negative aspects to them
and will start to come out so be prepared to learn some uncomfortable stuff
about yourself. This is not for entertainment; rather, it is a gut-wrenching
journey that will make you redefine who you are and how you relate to the
people around you. If it is fun and you are having a good time, then you are
not going deep enough; if you dread doing it, then you must force yourself to
really “see” how things are. You also may not like yourself afterwards; but as you
progress and modify some of your behavior, you will start to see more positive
signs of relationships that are on more equal footing with more benefits to all
concerned. You are looking for win/win situations here where everyone profits,
which is why they will want to come back and be with you more on a continuing,
positive basis.
Warning: This is much harder than getting into physical shape but you
must go through the process before you can move on at your highest levels.
This is where the weaknesses, the frailties, and the fear of the known and the
unknown come out.
Fill out the following for everyone important in your life and especially
anyone you hate. Describe how you feel towards this person with 1 being the
least and 5 being the most:
I am competitive towards them.
I am subservient to them.
I am emasculated by them.
I am superior towards them.
I am smarter then them.
I am weaker than them.
I am dumber than them.
I am more powerful than them.
I am richer than them.
I will be richer than them.
I will be more successful them.
I will be happier than them.
I am poorer than them.
I am sympathetic towards them.
I am empathetic towards them.
I hate them.
I love them.
I have desire toward them.
I am dominating towards them.
I am domineering toward them.
I like them.
I am annoyed by them.
I don’t want them around.
I am embarrassed by them.
I embarrass them.
I am not good enough for them.
I am not smart enough for them.
I can never please them.
They will never be proud of me.
They will never say they are proud of me.
They are always proud of me.
They always say they are proud of me.
They tell other people they are proud of me.
I can never be good enough for them.
They like someone else much better.
I can never live up to what they want.
They never do as they say.
Their praise would make me work harder.
Their praise would make me feel better.
They feel better about themselves by putting me down.
They feel better about themselves by me being successful.
Don’t want to answer truthfully, do you? No one wants to admit they have
hatred towards people close to them or that they make themselves feel better
by putting others down. However, the first step to making your relationships
better is by defining them as they truly are. There will be cases where it is better
to step away from certain relationships (when you can), and times when their
best interest is not in yours. You have to follow a positive path, and the only way
to do that is to define who you are, where you have been, where you are going.
Do it by your own standards and laws of what is right. You need to decide your
own path and say why it is good for you, and then have people around you who
will feed that journey in a positive way. Remember, your relationships have to
be based on win/win, which means selfish behavior will do nothing but get you
into short-term deals that will benefit no one over the long term. No, you can’t
jettison your parents and/or family if they are not supporting you but you can
spend more time with those who do and make your inner circle the people who
are on the positive side for everything.
If you take the test above and fudge the answers, then you know it yourself,
and that is all that counts. Even if you can’t write it down, you know in your
heart what is truly happening and where you are at this moment. Take the test
to find out as much as possible where you are right now because no one is
totally self-aware. Again if you don’t like the way you are acting toward specific
people, situations, or life in general, then start modifying your behavior so you
are happy with not only the person you are becoming through taking care of
your physical body but also for your mind.
Your mental state is a highly complex place, and often little chunks will
become transparent as you begin your voyage. Don’t be afraid to take breaks
and work on other things; you have a whole lifetime in this exploration and
your journey to become what you want. Read about other people as much as
you can and the life roads they chose after some climatic moments in their lives.
Take the best of what you see, abandon the rest, and make it your own. There
is no law that says you have to make a mistake or embark on a journey where
you know the negative outcome. You can internalize the results by the efforts
of someone else and save yourself the direct pain.
The Hardest Part: Your Soul
Finally that leads us into your soul. This is the hardest area of all because
it goes the deepest. This is what religion is based on; its definition, practices,
and is largely responsible for many of the best and worst of all of the deeds of
mankind. Your interior “being” is what decides what kind of person you are.
Good or bad, sometimes good or sometimes bad, it is your moral structural
code of conduct and ethics that will drive you through life. It will decide what
avenues you take and what roads you avoid, who you spend time with and who
you will not approach. The only way to explore your soul and to define who you
are is to think, watch, listen, and study. Start reading about various religions, and
again read more biographies of people you admire and hate. Start a patchwork
of ideals, morality, and practices that you consider to be worth cherishing and
build your life on them. It doesn’t have to be an organized religion or all of one
type of philosophy. Pick and choose what feels right for you, keep reaching out,
and experiencing as much as possible to see what is the ideal fit. The search
never stops, gets dull, or uninteresting unless you choose it to end. The constant
changing of you and everyone around will mean a never-ending set of changes
in the road which will lead you towards a contentment that could never be
found otherwise.
Therefore, you are now on the starting block as to:
1. Knowing who you are
2. Who you want to be
3. The type of people you want around you
4. The future roads you would like to try
Chapter 
Creating Long-Lasting Relationships
Now you are ready to find potential people to date.
How do you deal with the opposite sex for a positive first encounter and
maximize your percentages for a longer lasting relationship? Again, keep in
mind that dating is a metaphor for all interactions especially those in your new
business. For all relationships to work at their maximum level you have to:
1. Know yourself. Be able to “read” the environment and, by that I
mean, your strengths and weaknesses.
2. Know the type of person you want to meet.
3. Find the places with the best percentaged chances of meeting the
person you might want to date.
4. Preplan how you are going to try and get along with this person
based on the conditions that you will know about, i.e. if you are at
a church function, you can be reasonably sure that the person will
hold certain religious ethnic and moral views.
5. Figure the best places to go based on the perceived wants and
desires of the person you are going after which will give you the
best chances of success.
6. Realize that any relationship worth having is based on the long
term, so be prepared to be patient and understanding and take
things slowly when needed.
7. Try not to focus on one particular person for as long as possible
to negate the chances of “going overboard” and moving too
8. Consistently review your behavior, their actions, and what is in
both of your best interests? Be ready to go further or abort you
reactions based on the current amount of rewards received and
the possibilities for further betterment for all sides.
9. Are you making the decisions for yourself, or are you letting
someone or something (else such as fate) move you? As my dad
always said, doing nothing is a chosen course; it often means
someone else is deciding where your life is going.
This doesn’t sound too impulsive or romantic, does it? It isn’t; but dating
or creating relationships does not have to be left to fate, or worse to the
actions of other people. You are in charge of your life so you might as well be
steering your own ship in regards to the type of people you want to meet and
be involved with. This works for dating, business, and every other area of life.
Throughout this chapter are dating guidelines I urge you to consider in
your search.
Know yourself. Be able to “read” the environment and, by that I mean,
your strengths and weaknesses.
You have already taken the test as to the kind of person you think you are
and the kind of person you want to be. I would suggest you base your search on
the person you are now and not the one you wish to become. After all, people
will see you as you are and few will accept your promise of betterment in the
future. Don’t “sell” someone a fake representation of yourself. Accept who you
are, market yourself that way, and as you change they will see the improvement
and will revel in the fact they are getting someone better.
Know the person you want to meet.
Again, you have already done this, but also remember you are “selling
yourself as you are now not what you want to become.” If you shoot for the
best, then the odds are they will see you for what you are right now which may
not be good enough. Go for whatever level of person you think you attract but
realize your percentages of success will usually drop with the higher levels of
people you go after.
Find the groups of people and places with the best percentaged chances
of meeting the person you might want to date.
How do you find a group of people who will be suitable to date? Let’s first
check back to your priorities for dating.
If you are a guy, depending on your age, you probably want, in order of
importance, someone who:
A. Is physically attractive
B. Is willing to have sex without a commitment
C. Might be a permanent partner
D. Will support them emotionally
E. Might marry and have children with some day
F Is solid financially
If you are a woman you probably want, in order of importance, someone
A. Will be able to support her emotionally
B. Is interested in her as a person as opposed to just someone to
have sex with
C. Might be a permanent partner
D. Want to be friends with
Want to marry
Want to have children with
Be physically attracted to
Wants to have sex with
If you are a guy, the odds of success are much less if you advertise that your
main interest is in the way a women looks and in getting sex, as opposed to
being concerned or at least acknowledging what is most important to her. Your
chances for sex on a short-term basis are better if you find her interesting, have
no fear of marriage or children, and want to be friends.
The same thing goes for a woman. If you advertise that your main interest
is someone who wants kids and will support you financially your chances of
scaring many men away are very high.
In all interpersonal situations your percentages are much greater if you
are willing to give the other person what they want, or at least acknowledging
their desires before you get the chance to receive yours. For instance, if a guy is
willing to be friends with a woman, support her emotionally, and at least project
the image that he is a potential long-term suitor the odds are he will not only
get a first date but more than if he only centered on what he wanted.
For a woman, her chances of attracting a guy greatly improve, if she is
willing to do things like mountain climb, fish, hike, go to football games, and
do guy stuff that most woman would not readily do and with a good-natured
attitude. Often she would not even have to do these activities, just acknowledge
that they are important to the other person, and that it is okay with her if he
participates, especially without her. Neither side has to do everything the other
person wants but just enough to show a sincere interest in getting along and
willing to work together as potential partners. Remember, being pleasant goes
a long way and often means much more than other things in the long term.
It is not a question of giving a guy sex on the first date or offering to marry
a woman after you just meet. It is more of a question of the willingness to want
to agree on the basics and move forward together in a positive, productive
way. This is the same procedure for all positive relationships in life. If you can’t
create and flourish in these types of relationships when dating then the odds
are you will have trouble in all areas of your life, that means your new business
will be in troubled waters before you start. Business is a relationship, including
your customers, employees, suppliers, and everyone else. The better you are
at positive long-term-working-together situations, the more successful you will
How do you find these people to date?
The best places are non-intensive environments. Just like in business, think
to yourself: where are the people you want likely to congregate?
If you are a guy or girl looking to meet people, some good places are:
1. Your local church or synagogue
2. Adult school courses
3. Sports activities
4. Various types of clubs
You have to go to these places, not just to meet people but because
you have a real interest in the activity being offered. Encounters can be
manufactured but relationships cannot; they must be formed on some basis
of mutual benefit. Whether it is because you both like to watch or play the
same sport, are interested in the same religion, or share interests in any one of
a thousand areas, you first need to define what you like and then go do it. The
odds are other like-minded people will also be there.
Need some ideas of what type of activities you might want to explore?
What do you spend your time doing now?
What hobbies do you have?
What hobbies would you like to try?
Do you like sports? To watch? To participate in?
What is your religion?
Do you volunteer?
What types of charities do you like?
Do you like to work with kids?
Do you like to cook?
Do you like to sew?
Do you like to play cards?
Do you like to be on boats?
Do you like to watch car races?
Do you like martial arts?
Get the idea? Everything you like to do or might like to try is a great place
to look for like-minded people. Even if you are not sure whether you will like
something, find a place where the activity is going on and watch it being done.
If you think you want to try it, get a trial lesson. Most organized activities will
allow you to try something before you sign up. Don’t be worried about looking
a little out of place; it can’t be helped. Getting out there and mingling is the only
way to branch out and find new things of interest. It will also make you a more
well-rounded and interesting person who will become even more attractive to
other people.
There is always room for one more, but you have to make the effort to go
and try it. Most new things will not retain your interest, but you won’t be bored if
you keep trying new things. You will always have the chance of meeting people
every place you go. Most places like to have single people join because they
bring in other singles and give their members a chance to fix up their friends,
relatives, etc. Everyone is always trying to have other people meet their friends
and fix people up; they can’t wait to help you, but you have to go there before
anything can start.
Try a bunch of things and see what you like. You will know quickly if the
activity is for you or not. If it isn’t, then pass it on; if it works stay with it for as
long as it satisfies your needs.
What do I do when I get there?
If you are like most people you are scared to death to go up and talk some
you have not met. Don’t worry, this is a normal problem. When I was younger, I
was incredibly shy and did not want to talk to anyone, especially girls. I modeled
myself after my first mentor – he was 15, and I was 10. Elliot was incredibly
smooth with women, as well as with everyone else, and I marveled at that.His
technique was based on treating everyone the same and listened to what they
said because he saw that they all had value. He did not worry about what was
going through his mind; he simply concentrated on the other person first and
focused on them. Therefore he did not have to think or worry about what he
should do or say because the other person was talking. It was a great lesson
for me to learn that girls were people too. Don’t worry about what you will say;
listen to the other person, and your replies will often come easily and will help
to put you at ease, even with people you are just meeting for the first time.
How do you become comfortable with talking to people, especially those
who are new? The answer is to practice listening, focus on the other person and
realize that you are going to say a lot of dumb, stupid things that will kill you as
soon as they leave your lips. It will take time to perfect your ability, to think on
your feet, to focus, to understand, and to react to whatever a person is saying
and not worry about your next comment. It is a matter of self-control, focus,
and the obsession to want to relax and treat everyone as an individual. It is very
tough, and most people have a rough time with it, including myself.
I have successfully blotted out most of the times I made a fool of myself
in front of people. My friends are used to it, especially when I start laughing at
myself. It happens so often that the fresh memories are constantly taking their
place. However, I do it “right” enough of the time so it keeps me coming back
for more. It is the excitement of interacting with a new person that will always
keep me trying again, even when I am risking not looking as “cool” as I would
like. Make yourself realize that you will make mistakes, and commit yourself to
moving past it, learning from your gaffs, and moving forward. Anyone who
gives you a hard time is probably even less secure than the rest of us and gets
his or her “jollies” from making fools of others. Don’t waste your time with them;
they are worthless, gutless idiots who deserve their lives of counterpunching
others with no room for positve interaction. Keep moving on until you find
people who are waiting to find others who want to grow, learn, and be happy
with each other. These people will support, defend, and want to be around you.
In other words, they will be good friends who hopefully will be with you for the
rest of your life.
There is no easy way to meet new people. It is a tough road, but if you are
doing something you like, then at least the activity will help you through the
adventure. Do not stop trying, and over time I guarantee that, if you are the
positive, growing, and an ever improving person, then you will find people just
like you. It is the only pathway that will lead to lasting chances at contentment
and happiness.
Let’s review.
If you want to be selfish and only get what you want, than the odds are
that the only relationships you’ll have will be short-term, dissatisfying, and
unproductive. You have to give first by being able to “read” what the other
person wants and supply it, so that on a percentaged basis (because nothing
is guaranteed), you will get some or all of what you want. Also remember that
the percentage of success is based on a theory that your positive and negative
attributes are directly a result of your past and current actions. You can change
the percentages at any time by improving the areas you deem fit for alteration.
You have control of your life, and blaming others will do nothing but hold you
I know this may sound harsh, but there is nothing more important than
preparing for a date as you would for anything else that is important, like a
business meeting. Would you go to a job interview without first researching the
company? If you were a coach, would you scout out the other teams before you
played them? If you were going on a vacation, would you research where you
are going before you started? In most cases, the answer would be yes because
if you preplan and are as ready as possible before going into any situation, then
you have the best chance to relax, to concentrate on what is happening, and to
react to it, as opposed to simply waiting to give your comments. Dating is no
different, and you should use the same game plan to get ready.
Let’s pick a situation to get started because all human interactions are
somewhat similar.
You are a guy and are going to the local park because there is a tennis clinic
there for people who are beginners. Right away you know if there are woman
there, then you can assume the following:
1. They have some interest in learning to play tennis.
2. Some of them will probably be single.
3. Those who are not single will probably know single people.
4. There will be those who are better tennis players than you and they will
probably be kids. Don’t worry, most youngsters are fast learners and much
better at sports than adults.
5. There will be players there who show off.
Remember, your primary objective here is not to find a date; rather, it is to
learn a little bit about tennis, meet some people, and hopefully find someone to
play with. Your primary goal cannot be to meet a woman because your presence
will not ring true, and women can sense these things. You must have an interest
in whatever activity being offered to be there in the first place.
Once you get there you know there will be at least one other person, the
instructor, and at the very least, you can find out if you think you might like the
game because you can play with him or her. It doesn’t matter if anyone else
is there or not. The main thing is you got out and did something. If there are
other people attending, you can mention you are single. In most cases, if they
have a good first impression of you, they will either invite you to play tennis or
mention they might have someone you could meet. Remember once you are in
circulation the world will often come to you but only after you have made the
first effort.
Caution: Do not act like you are a tennis pro! Rather, it is much better to say
how little ability you have. Subtlety, humility, good manners, and being pleasant
will get you much further and faster than arrogance, misplaced confidence, and
a condescending attitude. This holds true for all areas of life.
If this is one of those times, based on the odds, where someone is there
whom you think you might want to get to know better you can ask her for her
phone number right after (never during) the session is over. That way if she
says no you are not doing it in front of the other people in the clinic. Remember
my odds of success were one out of three; therefore, be prepared to be turned
down. If that happens accept it pleasantly and say perhaps another time. Go
home and congratulate yourself for a great try. I always rewarded myself when I
got shot down with something like good food; it usually made me feel better.
But don’t forget about the tennis. It’s like every other hobby; it’s not only
a great activity but also a continuing source of meeting new people and being
referred by others. Don’t worry if there was no one there the first time and go
back if you like the activity itself. Who knows, in time more women might sign
up and the better you get at the sport, the higher the chances are that you will
probably get to play with these women. It is like a rock dropping in the water;
the more you go out into the world, the more people you will meet and the
more people they know who they can refer back to you. But none of this can
happen if you decide to stay at home and not go out into the world.
This concept of meeting people who know other people and having others
referred back is called networking. That works wonderfully well in dating, in
business and in all other areas of life. The secret again is you have to be out there
to maximize your exposure and your odds for success.
Let’s say at one of these clinics you have met a woman that you would like
to meet on a one-to-one basis. You have asked for her telephone number (after
it ended), and she gave it to you. It is now that evening. You are now sitting
next to your telephone with the number in your hand and want to call her to
go out. Your stomach is jumping, your blood pressure is rising, and you are
showing all the signs of high stress. What do you do? The first thing is realize
the physiological changes you body is going through and realize that your
adrenalin is pumping like crazy, and you are at the opposite end of being bored.
This is a good thing; you are alive!
What do you say on the telephone? What do you want to accomplish? You
want a date so you can see if you and this person get along. The date is your
primary goal.
How to you maximize your odds to get success?
One way is to suggest doing something you think she will like; therefore,
even if she is unsure about you, but the activity is to her liking, it may tip the
scales in your favor.
You could call and ask her what she likes to do but this can often get
bogged down with nothing decided, and you will end up not going out. How
do you know what she will like? You have already met her; think about what you
know. You met her at a tennis clinic and have seen her play.
You will know if she is most likely:
Easily flustered
Ready to learn
Good natured
Accident Prone
What else do you know???
Figure the best places to go based on the perceived wants and desires of
the person you are going which will give you the best chances of success.
You have many ideas about what she likes, so you have to try and “read” her
as to what you think she might want to do. Be careful in your choices as women
are generally wary of being alone in secluded places with someone they do not
know well. Therefore, picking an activity that involves a lot of other people or in
a public place might be a good idea.
About 25 years ago, long before I met my wonderful wife, I was on a first
date. I had asked a woman to go hiking with me, and as we were about to start
up the mountain, I put a large knife on my belt (like always) for protection. As
we climbed the trail she seemed a little worried, and at the top, I asked her what
was wrong. She said she felt uneasy about the knife. I took the knife and handed
it to her so she could carry it. From that moment on, she was fine, and we had
a great time.
Even if you pick the right place to go for a date you still have a lot of things to
think about. Always try to view events from the other perspective. Incidentally
from that day on, whenever I was in the woods with a woman, I always offered
her a knife before we started out so the problem would not come up again.
Back to tennis: if she likes the sport, you might want to go play for a while
and then go out for a drink (ice tea, of course) or go see a college or professional
match. If she likes sports in general, she might want to go see a minor league
baseball game. You have met her and are the only one who can read her unless
you met her through someone else who you can call to get some ideas. I always
found giving a few options was better than one activity. It was better to ask
which you would like as opposed to one offer with a yes or a no. Don’t be afraid
to offer unusual things and always be ready with a standard fallback choice, like
a movie if things aren’t going well. Even if she gave you her phone number, the
chances for the date happening are still not solid; take nothing for granted.
When you have chosen your options, you are ready to call. Remember, first
dates are stressful and you do not want to use up a lot of conversation talking
on the phone before you meet. You goal is to ask for a date, get an affirmative
answer, and then gracefully get off the phone. You want to get to the asking
done reasonably quickly, and hopefully she will agree to one of them. If she says
yes, then finalize your plans, get her address or decide where to meet, make
sure everyone knows how to dress, and then get off the phone before she has
a chance to change her mind. Have a pen and paper ready to write down what
you decide because you will be amazed how quickly the details will sail out of
your mind once you get off the telephone.
If she says no to your three options, you can try a safe forth; and if that
doesn’t work then she is either not sure enough to be alone with you. In which
case talking on the phone for a while might help or she is probably not interested
in which case you should get off the phone and go find some ice cream. You can
try once more if you want, but it is probably an exercise in futility because the
odds are she has no interest in you. If she says she really wants to go out with
you but turns you down at two different opportunities, then burn her phone
number; she is just dragging you along for fun.
Realize that any relationship worth having is based on the long term.
Be prepared to be patient and understanding. People are always trying to
act in a certain way when they are dating. Know this for a fact. The “real” person
usually doesn’t come out for a while not until someone gets more comfortable
with you. If you have been dating for a while, the odds are you are “tournament
tough” and can be relatively open with people you have just met. Or you can
be dating a while and be so frazzled that you are afraid to show any part of your
true self. Going out is a ritual of finding someone with a common ground and
seeing if something can develop. You can’t start this process until you can relax
enough to show the other person what you are truly like. Go with the idea that
your true self has value and is worth knowing. If it doesn’t, then change to the
person you want to be. Since most people have trouble being themselves, it is
a strong advantage for those who can. That advantage enables the individual
to be able to initiate the dating sequence and gives him/her the power to start
the process, if the other person is sold on your potential. Relationships take time
and nurturing. There are many levels to this so be patient. Depending on what
you want, things will either develop or not. Trying to rush it will do no one any
good. Remember, patience is a rare trait and those who have it will often win
big in the end.
Try not to focus on one particular person for as long as possible to reduce
the chances of “going overboard” and moving too quickly.
You are on a first date. She opens the door and is absolutely gorgeous. You
knees go weak, your mouth is dry, and you find yourself babbling. She smiles
and thinks you are cute. The date goes great in your mind and you are in love.
Only problem is that she thinks you are okay but nothing special. The fact you
now call her 20 times a day means she is getting ready to have the police come
after you.
The odds of love at first sight for two people is almost nil; therefore, you
have to protect yourself and especially your ego and sanity - by covering your
bets and by having more than one person to go out with at one time. This will
not only help you to keep your feet on the ground but will force you to keep
re-evaluating your position so you don’t fall in love with the idea of falling in
love. Eventually, one of your relationships will produce a “suitable” mate, and
that is the one who will last over time. Again, I know it doesn’t sound romantic
but spending the rest of your life with someone is also the biggest financial
commitment you will ever make. If there are children involved, your feelings on
most things will take a backseat to theirs. I know it is difficult; and that feeling of
being in love is indescribable, but the downside is horrific and doing everything
you can before it happens to be on a secure footing is worth a lot of effort.
You are now ready to go on the actual date. Preparation for a man is usually
about 30 minutes, for a woman a few hours. It is not that the men don’t care; it
is simply they are used to looking like they do, and there is not a lot of prep work
to go through. After being married for a long time, I still marvel at the amount of
care that women take in their appearance.
The person who does the asking out is usually responsible, at least at first,
for the appropriate first date conversation. By appropriate, I mean that on a first
date you do not want to talk about deadly serious issues like sex, politics, or
the soulmate you may or may not be looking for. That is a good reason to make
sure the first activity is in public, and entertainment is provided so you don’t
have too much alone time and have to talk too long. Many a first date has been
spoiled because people run out of easy conversation and start talking seriously.
You want to keep it light and talk just enough to see if you want to spend any
more time with the person. Unfortunately, the answer is usually no – and you
normally know it within the first ten minutes, which is why you need to plan
the activity as to something you like so at least you can have a good time doing
Try to make sure the activity itself provides enough stimuli for low level
conversation. Try not to drink or do anything else that will dull your senses
because you want to remain in control. If the other person does drink, smoke,
or take drugs that says a lot about them or they may just be very nervous. Try
to be as open as possible and make sure you listen to what they are saying.
Often if you let someone talk about themselves they will do so indefinitely and
it will take the pressure off you. In addition, they will have a great time doing
it and think you are a great listener; and then you can evaluate and see if you
are having fun. All you want to accomplish on the first date is to survive and
get through it. When it is over say goodnight and get out. If you want to call
her again say you will call, if you are not going to call, then just say thanks and
goodbye. Leading someone on is unfair to everyone involved.
Make no false promises. If you really like her, then force yourself to wait at
least two days to call her. Talking on the phone is still dangerous at this point
because you can say a lot of things you don’t want to when you are talking for
long periods of time. On the other hand, you get to know them quickly so it has
its up points.
Most first dates are disaster. Most blind dates are even worse, but I always
went out on them because you never knew what you would get. Occasionally, I
was happily surprised, and I did eventually meet my wife that way.
For the second date, plan it like the first. Remember, the time period you
call between the first and second date is the time period she will expect to hear
from you from that time on, and it is a definite indicator of your interest. If you
call a month later, you are obviously not highly interested. If you call the next
day you obviously are and might be too aggressive. Try to keep your timing in
mind when you do everything and gauge it by the other person’s reactions. It
is just like in business, you are trying to “sell” them because you want to spend
time with them.
Now that you know the other person better, you can plan your options for
the second date with more certainty. Nothing is a “given” in any relationship,
so always have an additional activity ready. Always be prepared to retreat and
rethink your position. Remember to continue dating and calling other people,
so you keep your balance. Don’t go crazy over one person. Keep your dates
to a public place and this time you can plan for a little more time to talk if the
opportunity presents itself. But remember, think about everything you do
beforehand so you don’t have to consider it while you are together. It is fun to
predict what will work, what won’t, and how you will handle yourself in a given
On a personal note, never tell anyone that you are trying to figure out what
they will do next or what they are thinking. If you have done this successfully,
do not let them know you did it. You need to show how smart and intuitive you
are will come off as patronizing, manipulative, and it will get you in big trouble.
Trust me, I know from experience.
As usual, if they turn you down two times in a row, get rid of them. If they
have great excuses, tell them to call you. Then take their number and burn it. If
they ever call you, then you are in control of the situation, at least until they start
playing games again
By the second date, people are starting to feel a little more at ease. You
can start getting to know the true them, and they you. You may like what you
find out, and they may feel the same about you. Don’t ever believe this is not
personal on either part. You are judging each other, and nothing gets more
intimate than this process. If things don’t go well, which by the odds, they won’t
expect you will feel some anger, but it will quickly pass especially if you have
other options ongoing. But remember, you have virtually no time invested,
just some dashed hopes, so end it pleasantly and move on. If you had a good
enough time for a third date, then follow the same path. You may start to relax
enough to have a good time. Always try to have fun as is tough and exciting as
it is in the beginning, so try and enjoy all of the emotions as they occur.
Consistently review your behavior, their actions, and what is in both of
your best interests? Be ready to go further or abort your actions based on
the current amount of rewards received and the possibilities for further
betterment for all sides.
You have been going out with someone for a while and are just starting to
think of yourself as being in a “relationship.” You have a date for the weekends,
someone to call at night, and those old feelings of loneliness have happily crept
into the past. But all is not well, and the warning signs have begun to shown. As
I mentioned the good behavior of the first dates begins to wear off as time goes
by and the real people begin to emerge. Such things as not being on time, not
being pleasant, not considering your feelings, not behaving well or numerous
other character flaws have begun to show. If you think you can ignore them ,you
probably can’t. If you think the person will get better you are wrong. If you think
the person will change for you then, you are dreaming. Now is the time that you
can accept them as they are; however, more of their qualities will come out in
the future (that goes for the good side also), or you can break it off now. Reevaluate yourself, the other person, and your relationship as a whole frequently
to see if you are satisfied or have the hope of eventual satisfaction. Make a list
of the good and the bad, and I mean actually write it down; and if the numbers
don’t add up, stoke up your courage and leave.
When I first met my wife, I started making those lists and when I had
lunch with my dad during the week, I would show him the results. I always had
everything in the good category and nothing in the bad, and I kept asking him
if I was reading the situation correctly. As it turned out, she was the first suitable
person I had ever dated. After a very short time, I asked her to marry me and
that was almost 20 years ago. But remember I went out with about 200 women
before her so I knew what I was looking for. You need experience, do not settle,
keep your values high because you are worth it.
Are you making the decisions for yourself, or are you letting someone or
something else (such as fate) move you? As my dad always said, doing
nothing is a chosen course; it often means someone else is deciding where
your life is going.
You are now in a relationship and are happy. It is going along fine. Suddenly
you are following the recommendations of your mate, doing as they suggest
and following the path they have decided on. This may be a perfectly good
place for you, so it is not a problem. Remember, though, if you are not making
a decision anywhere, then you are being affected by someone else who is. Do
you want someone deciding your life’s path? Do you feel comfortable giving
up that freedom and subjugating yourself to someone else’s views and plans?
Sometimes it is not a bad thing, not everyone is meant to be a great leader. If
you are directed by one, then your life is much simpler and often more peaceful.
Many people in their own business should be working for some one else; they
would make more money, have more peace, and be much better around other
people. But it is a conscious decision you should make, as opposed to just
following the flow and letting it happen to you. Know what is going on and
then decide your way. It is your choice unless you give up the right to someone
else; just make sure it is what you want.
Chapter 
Back To The Stoop
We will talk about long-term relationships and trouble later. For now let’s
go back 25 years again to the step where I was standing after my dad sent
me out to go sell. I was feeling alone and totally sad a moment ago, but now
everything had changed because in my mind selling would be just like dating.
The percentages of my dating experiences, like my dad’s, was one out of three.
Therefore, I just had to make enough sales calls to find out what the percentages
were in this situation. I knew that if I could find out what that number was, and it
didn’t matter how low it dropped as long as it was there, I could do it and not be
stopped. Percentages never lie, and I could make myself do anything as long as
I knew there would be some level of success. Besides, I could also use the time
on the road to look for women so I was upping my chances for success based on
the numbers in that area also. Thus my hunt on two fronts began.
What I did not know was that my dad was sending me out on an extremely
difficult mission. The type of selling I was doing was considered “cold calling,”
which meant going door-to-door without appointments and trying to see
people. It had the lowest percentage of success of any selling technique and
the normal rate is about 2%, for every 100 attempts you had a chance of getting
about two customers. The odds were low. This was a brutal way to begin but I
did not know it so I started on my merry way and after about 5 weeks I got my
first order and things got better from there. I was not on the road full time but
I found out I liked going door to door with the chance at every location. It was
fun being out of the office, away from my dad, having the chance at getting
business and looking for girls. Amazingly enough, I found out I was really good
at it, and my percentages were much higher than that of other salesmen. In
fact, I was good enough where I started breaking into some very big accounts
but would soon lose them because I did not know the nuts and bolts of the
business and how to service my customers. After a while my dad acknowledged
my potential and he brought me “inside” off the road to learn the basics of the
business. Over the next ten years, I went from working for him to working with
My sales eventually eclipsed his, and to his credit, he did acknowledge my
abilities. Together we made a lot of money together until he fully retired about
eight years ago.
The metaphor of dating to selling and running your own company is your
ticket to understanding the world of relationships much faster than most people
around you. By utilizing the experience you already have from this area, you can
use it as a basis for starting your new life.
As I said you can always find people to help with the nuts and bolts of
your business, after you can do them yourself, but the odds are the weight of
the selling will stay on your shoulders for the foreseeable future. Therefore,
it behooves you to not only become as good and proficient as possible, but
try to find the areas that you like so it is not a continual source of pain and
aggravation. People can feel when you don’t like something so faking your
actions to perspective or current customers will rarely work. You have the guts
to start your own company and risk virtually everything you have, therefore you
also, to some degree, probably have the ability to sell the products or services
your new company supplies.
What is your idea of a salesman?
Is it someone who is incredibly pushy, unethical and willing to do anything
to make a sale? A person who is trying to cheat and sell you substandard
products at inflated prices?
It is time to get that thought out of your mind right now!
An owner/salesman is a person who:
1. Has risked everything they have to follow their dream.
2. Believes that their product or service is the best or they would have
settled and gone to work for someone else.
3. Is willing to subjugate every other aspect of their life to try and ensure
the health and welfare of their new company.
4. Understands that the path to success is to supply a product or service
that is superior to the marketplace and is constantly trying to find new
ways to improve.
5. Believes that customers should be treated like gold and that everything
should be done to make them feel secure in all dealings and have the
desire to do more.
6. Conducts business in an ethical way that would make them proud to
hand it down to their children.
7. Conducts business in a way that is good for the environment and
proactively helps to make the world a better place.
Now, how do you feel about yourself? A lot better, right? You are one of
the good guys; the people who make things better for a lot of others. Over
time you will help create a lot of jobs, support yourself and your family, and
make the world a better place. It is a great position to be in but one of immense
responsibility so do not enter it lightly.
Remember, you have to know how to do everything if your new company
has any chance of survival. The ability to foster and nurture new relationships
will be the indicator of how well you will do.
Now let’s focus on what is going to make you the most money in your new
company. Let’s take the dating process. Utilize it as a guide and use it for the
areas you will need in business, and it will show you some good ways to attack.
These areas include:
Finding markets
Financing comes first, because without it, you aren’t going anywhere
If you are fortunate enough to finance your company independently, be
careful not to sell yourself down the river. In other words do not to put every
penny you have in this project unless you are totally committed to it and feel
you have a good chance of success. However, since you are probably a “worrier”
to begin with, as many business owners are, you are more afraid to fail with
someone else’s money than your own. Having to tell someone who counted on
you that you lost their investment means you failed. I will always use my own
money whenever possible, that way I only have to face myself when things go
But let’s figure you will need some outside money.
What does that person want? (By person I mean an individual or an
individual within a loan institution or other financial group.)
1. He will want his money back.
2. Interest on the money he lends out.
3. Possible ownership of the enterprise he is investing in.
4. Chance for future business.
5. To be associated with a winner.
What do you want as the person getting the loan?
1. Enough money so your business will run smoothly.
2. Not have to worry about money every minute.
3. Pay back the loan so you can either be debt free and independent, or
can get more later for expansion, if needed.
4. Not to give up any part (or as little as possible) of your company to
5. Be associated with a financial backer who will add status to his
As you can see there are a lot of shared desires here. Everyone wants to be
associated with a winner. To be an early investor in the next economic titan is
not only a possible financial windfall, but also bragging rights to all of the other
investors. People who lend money often have their egos highly involved. They
want to prove they were right in finding the “new” places for business and their
investments (good and bad) reflect on their abilities in their field. They want to
lend money; it is their job, and they have to pick the right places. It is like a big
game of roulette, and they have to have a feel as to who will win and who will
die. Often their job titles, money, security, and future are also rides up in their
“picks,” they have to keep their money in motion or the returns are too small to
justify their positions. They want to be part of a winning team; you want to be
able to say you are part of theirs; it will be a win/win on all sides, just as all good
relationships should be.
Remember this when you are seeking financing, they need you as much as
you need them. If you have a solid basis, have some financing of your own, and
are willing to do almost anything to succeed, then do not be so willing to give up
large chunks of your business to secure funding. Talk to others who have gone
through it, find other entrepreneurs, or check through financial magazines or
the internet to ask them for guidance. Some will throw you out, but others will
give you some help as to what to expect. You have to be pushy, aggressive, and
willing to be turned down by everyone to get your new “baby” born and off to
a healthy start.
If you have to go to a relative for money, be even more careful because if
you cannot pay back the loan, then your relationship will (at least) be hurt and
probably be forever tainted. If you do pay back the money, the odds are the
relative might still consider himself or herself a part owner anyway, and you may
never get rid of them. Have everything on paper and finished by an attorney; a
handshake is not good enough!
If you go into a deal where you figure if it doesn’t work, you will just shut
the doors, declare bankruptcy, and walk away, then those feelings will be
transmitted to your potential investors. You are asking for the fuel by which to
launch your new dream; if you are not committed to the point of giving your
own life force then you have little chance of anyone else buying into it If your
commitment is not total, then don’t bother to try and enlist anyone else. Save
yourself the time and go work for someone else; you will be much happier in
the long run.
If you can’t get the money, accept the following:
1. Your business idea is not that good.
2. Your timing in the marketplace is bad.
3. Your are not ready to do this (emotionally, intellectually, etc.).
4. You do not have a suitable or big enough market.
5. You cannot get enough customers in a short enough time to make it.
1. Your business idea is not that good.
I know this will be tough on you, but your idea may not be as good
as you think. True, some of the greatest ideas were ignored by many
people, but the vast number of business plans are not that great and
deserve never to see the light of day. Finding investors is a process,
and one that will toughen you up for what you will need to face later.
Keep trying people until you have either run out of possibilities or are
successful. Do not constrain yourself to conventional areas of financing;
be creative, set-up your own groups of unlikely people - there are no
rules only the final result which is to get money. If you still end up with
nothing, then go back to work for someone else and save enough to
try it on your own. Beware, under no circumstances should you align
yourself with anyone who is unscrupulous, working outside the law,
or is questionable in any area because it will come back to haunt you.
Stay clean in all aspects so you can not only sleep at night while you
are getting your company off the ground, but enjoy yourself once your
dream is flourishing.
2. Your timing in the marketplace is bad.
Sometimes things come at the wrong time. As long as this is not an
excuse for not trying every option, then accept it and either modify
your plan; or put it off and try again later.
3. You are not ready (emotionally, intellectually, tough enough, etc.) to
do this.
No one likes getting the stuffing punched out of them in any way,
but if you are going to survive in your own business, you need to be
tournament-tough and fight against people like me. If you are not
ready in any area of mind, body, and soul, then it will reduce your
percentaged chances of getting part of the marketplace and making
you successful. Can you be successful without being a paragon of
stability, strength, and continual internal betterment? The answer is
yes, but you are working with the odds here, and the less you can bring
to the table, the less you can expect in return.
4. You do not have a suitable or big enough market.
Do your homework! Make sure you believe the market exists and can
tap into it for your products or services. If you need a large part of the
market in order for you to succeed and are just starting out, then the
odds of your success are incredibly low. If you are trying to create a
new market, then go back and check other similar products or services
to see how long it took them to gain significant market share: use it as
your guide. Never expect to dominate anything until you have been at
it for a reasonable amount of time.
5. It is rare to be able to get customers right away.
If you can’t sell and market your product, you have no hope for success.
You have to be able to identify possible sale ares, find prospects, and
change them into actual repeat customers in order for you to have
any chance for success. If you can’t create these markets and find
customers, then do not waste your time.
Chapter 
Finding Markets
How do you find a place where people want your product or service?How
do you know where to go for customers? What size customer do you go after?
First, define your market. Use the test below and fill in the blanks. This is a
general list, so feel free to add your own specifics.
My product or service will be useful to companies:
Small ________ Medium ________ Large ________
International ________ Non-profit institutions ________
Local _______ State _______ Federal ________
Under 21 - Men _______ Women _______
Over 21 - Men _______ Women _______
All types of people ________ White________ Black________
Asian ________ Hispanic ________ Other ________
Financial Levels:
Student ________ People who make less than $30,000/year ________
People who make less than $100,000/year ________
Geographic Location:
Domestic United States
East ________ West ________ North ________ South ________
Specific areas of the world ______________________________
Your product is used in rainy climates.
Your product is used in desert climates.
Your product is a component of something else
Your product stands alone.
Your product is best used:
Anytime of the year:
Fall ________ Winter ________ Spring ________ Summer ________
This product/service is aimed at people who have:
Not finished high school
Not finished college
Not finished graduate school
This product is for:
Single people
Stay at home moms
Working single mothers
Working single fathers
Divorced people
People who are widows/ widowers
People who get up before 6:00AM
People who have children
People who don’t have children
People who work at nights
People who love dogs
People who love cats
People with health problems
You have to think about your product and figure out who might need it.
Who would the product help in the following ways:
1. Help them keep their job
2. Help them find a better job
3. Make their life easier
4. Make their life more fun
5. Make their life more profitable
6. Make them more attractive
7. Make them more attractive to other people
8. Make it easier to help other people
9. Make them feel good about themselves
10. Help them to be a better citizen
11. Help them to help the environment
12. Stimulate them
13. Help them to dream of better things
14. Help them to make their lives better
15. Make them laugh
16. Help them make others laugh
17. Bring them peace
Getting the idea? Good. Now it is time to see how well you have defined
your product or service. As I mentioned in the beginning, it is time for you to
start sampling and seeing if your target markets are correct. Do this before you
put out a great deal of money. I would suggest you incorporate first and have
business cards made so your new company has some credence. Then try to
contact those companies or individuals who you think might be able to use
your product. If you have contacts from friends, all the easier to make the first
contact. Eventually you are going to have to do the following:
1. Get up the nerve to contact people/companies with people you don’t
know. Query them to see if there is a possible use of your product.
2. Find yourself unable or unwilling to make the new contacts to see if
the market is really there for your product.
3. Kid yourself that you have done enough research and have a definitive
Notice I am not showing any surprise by your reluctance to talk to people
you don’t know and ask them for help or advice for your new venture. It is
extremely difficult to ask anyone for help, even though it is a compliment to
them. People love to help others and you are doing them a favor by asking
them, but it is a very hard concept to grasp. Certain amounts of the people
you query will tell you to go away and not be too nice about it. You are risking
everything here. If you can’t make yourself do the correct market research, then
how do you expect to get customers?
In actuality, this is your first test to see if you have the stomach to sell. To
find people who want and need your product; but only after you have defined
who they are, have sought them out, and convinced them you can help them
to fulfill one of their primary requirements. Remember again, they care nothing
about you and could care less if you live, die, succeed, or fail. You are not a living
being on their radar screen, they are concerned with themselves, their families,
and their jobs.
Therefore, remember it is not personal with the people you are trying to
see. If they say no, it is not because they are evil or want to do you harm; rather,
it is only that they do not want to spend the time to help you. You can’t be mad
at them; actually you can, but you shouldn’t. Besides when your company is
running, they will be a good contact to try and sell later, so you will get another
chance at them.
Be forewarned. It is very difficult to contact people you do not know with a
product that is not even ready yet, but since you are only asking for ten minutes
and their help, it is still possible. Remember you are working on percentages
here; therefore, you may need to contact 100 people in order to see five or ten.
That 100 should be good enough to see if you have a market, and if this is worth
to continuing . If you can’t force yourself to make the contacts, then don’t. If
you can’t make the calls, then you have to reassess if you have what it takes to
launch your dream. Face reality now; it is much better than later. If you do not
have the skills to start and run your own business, stop now. Your other option,
besides giving up, is to have someone else to get the customers for you. Perhaps
they can be your “outside” person while you can be the “inside” and take care
of customer service and all of the office functions. If you rely on this person to
get your sales, remember he can survive without you much better than you can
without him. It is much safer and more secure if you have the ability to get sales
on your own and make sure that your estimation of your talent, or lack thereof,
in this area is not just fear, inexperience, and overall dread. You will be amazed
at what you can force yourself to do once your back is against the wall. In fact, it
is one of the greatest feelings you can ever have - make yourself do something
you thought was impossible. The feeling of exultation is indescribable, longer
lasting, and better than sex to leap, that hurdle from impossible to achievable.
After you have made this leap you might even find yourself enjoying the whole
process, which only means you will get better at it and hence watch your new
company grow even faster.
Over time going to see prospects and getting customers gets a little easier,
but it is still very hard. You are going to need a much tougher outer skin, and it
will take years to achieve.
Chapter 
What Do You Do First?
Once you get to meet with someone to see if there is a need for your
produce or service, then how will you go about the presentation? How are you
going to sell your idea? What happens when you get nervous and suddenly
forget everything you wanted to remember?
Let’s start at the top. Remember your experiences for dating. How did you
get ready for a date? You find out as such information as possible about the
person you were going out with. You figure out what they wanted. You knew
you had to address their needs first before satisfying yours. Most of all, you knew
that on a percentaged basis that the odds of success were not on your side.
Perfect training for your new business.
First thing is to contact someone who can let you know if there is a possible
need for your product or service. Let’s say you got this referral from someone
who thinks this person will have an interest in your product. You can call them
on the telephone. Remember, before you start, make sure you have the person’s
full name, can pronounce it correctly, have their address, telephone numbers,
email addresses, and have the correct spelling for all. No one likes to see their
name spelled incorrectly or mispronounced especially if it is unusual, or worst of
all, it sounds funny to some people. My dad used to take it one step further and
actually ask where their unusual name came from. He had a genuine interest in
people, and they often loved telling him how they got their names. Also, always
try to use their last names with a Mr., Miss, Ms. or Mrs. until you are invited to be
more familar. Manners are incredibly important for first impressions, and you
only get one shot at a potential contact.
If you have no contacts from relatives or friends and do not want to share
what you are doing with people you know, then you are going to have to go the
tougher route, which is to use your brain.
Why would someone want your product or service?
When and where would they want to use it?
Where would you find someone who would have the need for it and would
want to use it?
If you answered the three questions above, you know where you have to
go to find the people to test the market.
If you are afraid or don’t want to go over to this place in person, you can
contact them by phone or email. If you are afraid of making the contact, then
ask for help from someone who isn’t. You must find a way to get yourself or your
representative in front of the potential decision makers so you can see if anyone
wants what you are selling. To get a decent idea of the true marketplace, you
also have to do this with more than one person so you can figure how many
initial contacts you will need to make before you can get enough test interviews
to accurately predict an interest.
I never said this was going to be easy, if you are trying to figure out how you
are going to accomplish this, and your stomach is starting to do somersaults,
then you are in the right frame of mind. This is incredibly hard; thinking about it
is formidable enough, but actually doing it is a quantum leap ahead. That is one
main reason why most new businesses fail; the owners can’t make themselves
do what is necessary to move forward or in an intelligent direction. There are
other ways to start a business, you can buy one that is already operating, but
you will have to come up with the money and if it is already successful, then it
may be a large sum. You can try to buy into part of another company but then
you are a partner. Remember, one of the reasons you started this venture was
so you could be the sole boss. This is not easy stuff, but it is also not impossible;
you can do this, if you go in with the right frame of mind and are prepared.
Let’s figure you are starting from scratch and have to go in on your own.
Since you are not actually selling here, just ask the contact to do you a favor by
listening; you will have a much easier time because of this. Your goal is to get a
ten-minute meeting; you are offering to have them feel good about themselves
by doing something nice for you in exchange for their opinions about your
product or service.
This next section is for a referral, but you will need to change it slightly if
you got their name from an industrial directory, article off the internet; or you
actually went to see a specific geographic area where this person’s company
was located. If you have no idea who to contact in a company than look it up on
the Internet. Try using the company name and add .com after it. If that doesn’t
work, then do a web search on the company and location. Once you get onto
their internet site you can often find out all types of information, sometimes
including who is in charge of purchasing what you want to sell. You can get the
telephone numbers also to help you to zero in on your potential target. If you
can’t find the website, then call information and contact the company to speak
to the receptionist as they will often give you the information needed to call the
right person. You may have to do some detective work. Think of it as a chess
game with your wanting the information but having to move certain ways to
get it. When you do get a chance to speak to someone who might be able to
help you, say something like what is written below. Obviously change it to suit
your situation and personal style of speaking.
For a referral:
Hi Mr. ________________, my name is________________. I got your name
from________________. I am starting a new product line involving __________
______ and he/she thought you might be willing to see me for ten minutes to
see if it may be of service to a company like your own. I am only looking for your
opinion as to its worth. My product is not ready to be sold yet, but I am trying to
do some market research to see if it looks promising. I only need ten minutes;
you pick the time, and I will be there.
For trying to find someone “cold” with no help:
Hi ________________, my name is ________________. I am trying to find the
person who is in charge of ________________________. I am starting my own
business and thought if you were that person, you might give me ten minutes so
I could see if what I will be making would be of interest to a company like yours.
Since it is not even ready for production yet, I won’t try and sell you anything. I
am just trying to see if there is a market, or am I if wasting my time. Ten minutes
would do it; can you help me?
In either case stop talking and wait for an answer. Make sure you listen and
write down what they say.
Remember, there are no rules here. You can make this call from their lobby
and hope they will see you right away. You can send in a sample of whatever
it is you are doing a few days before, with a note saying you would like their
feedback and would follow-up a few days later. Anything and everything can
work depending on the person you are trying to contact, depending on the type
of day they are having, and depending on how you react with them. That is why
it is based on the odds; you have to have the right set of variables come through
to score a hit, and to do that enough times so that the law of percentages will
swing in your favor. There is no true luck involved, simply the odds based on
how good your product or service is, how good your presentation and company
is, and how they are doing in that particular moment.
You have bad days, and so do the people you are trying to get to help
you. Keep trying and based on what you are worth in all areas, you will get a
bankable rate of return.
Here are your five possible responses to your first contact:
1. You can have ten minutes. How about tomorrow at 10:00AM? (You
say yes to whatever time they give you. Say, thank you and get off the
phone as quickly as possible so they can’t change their mind).
2. I don’t have time; I am sorry. (You say, “No problem if the product line
does come into being, I will contact you then.”) They will then say okay
(to get you off the telephone), and you will make a note to contact
them later to try to sell them when you are in production. Remember
to remind them of this phone call when you call in the future.
3. Tell me more about this new product/service. (You already have a list
of the top five points and after you mention them, he/she may want
to discuss them. You can do it right there on the telephone without
having to go into their office, or you can then ask again to come in, 10
minutes maximum. They may or may not agree. If they say yes, lock
in the time and get off the phone. If not, tell him/her you will contact
them if the line comes into being. They will probably say okay, then get
off the phone.
4. I am not the person to talk to on this. They then hang up, in which case
you try someone else in the company
5. I am not the person to talk to on this, but try this person. You then call
that person and tell them you were referred by the first person, which
is a much stronger way to go into the phone call. Then start over with
Remember when you are dealing with people, nothing is definite. The five
responses above should cover almost everything, but be sure to listen to what
the person says, in case they throw you a curve ball with a response you are not
expecting. You have to listen to what they say and not concentrate on what you
want to talk about. Remember to focus on them, like in dating, and you will go
much further more quickly.
How do you get ready for these phone calls?
Practice, practice, practice!!!!!!!!! Get your friends to play the part of the
other people and tell them not to be nice about it. Get used to being around
unpleasant people so that you will not be thrown off by someone who is not
easy. Sometimes the most unpleasant contacts at the beginning can become
your greatest allies later. They have the ball; you want their time and eventually
their business. Get used to some hard treatment, but never take abuse. Memorize
what you have to say so you don’t have to read it and are comfortable enough
to listen to the other person while they are speaking. It is just like being on a first
date where the priorities of what you and the other person want are different.
You usually have one shot per person. If you blow it or look like an amateur
you will have little chance of good results. Of course, in the beginning, you will
make a lot of mistakes, as you will do later but hopefully to a lesser degree.
Expect mistakes and learn from them, laugh them off, and forget the pain. One
time mistakes are from inexperience; repeated problems are a flaw; you have
the power to fix them, do it right away.
Good news. There is a law of beginner’s luck so that one of the first people
you contact will probably be nice and willing to give you some time. After that
you will probably have ten or 20 people tell you no, and then it will start to even
out. Figure 100 tries will yield you five to ten people to see. By the time you finish,
you will either want to continue your quest for your new business, change your
product line, or forget about the whole thing and work for someone else. If you
can’t do this, it is just another indicator that maybe this isn’t for you.
Chapter 
If you think getting financed was hard and testing your market was harder, then
that is nothing compared to getting customers. When fighting for customers, and I
do mean fighting, you have to remember the following:
Think of what is important to a customer
1. Their job
2. A better job
3. Their family
4. What their boss thinks of them
5. The company
6. What they are having tonight for dinner
7. How their favorite sports team is doing
Your quest for starting a relationship with a new customer has to deal with what
is most important to them. Notice you aren’t even on their list yet. You might think
that their main concerns are the best price, delivery, and service for their company
but you would be wrong. What is most important to them is keeping their job
therefore your presentation must keep that in mind. How do you find out the right
thing to say to the right person? Here is where making lots of sales calls will heighten
your abilities to understand and empathize with your prospective customers, how to
answer their questions, concerns, and close a deal. The good news is that what you
did to test your market is great preparation for going after actual customers. Let’s
start with going after sales.
Here are your possible avenues to target:
Cold Calling:
As I spoke before, this is going door-to-door and asking the receptionist for
the person responsible for buying your product or service. The odds are very low;
for every 100 attempt, you can expect a chance of business at two or three. Even if
you know your product line well, the odds are not great unless you happen to be a
natural at it in at which case your odds can be much greater.
Telephone calls for prospects:
This involves using industrial directories, internet searches, and documents to
go after certain types of potential customers and asking for appointments. If you can
get someone to agree to an appointment, then your chances of doing business have
greatly improved because they have already expressed at least some interest. This
is a lot easier on your psyche to call first as opposed to being shot down in person.
Once you have the meeting your odds for business have risen to probably one in 15,
assuming you know what you are doing and represent a good company.
Customers from like areas:
When you are doing business with a company in a specific field, it is often easier
to get another customer in the same line of work. It makes sense that if a company
needs something that a similar company would have the same requirement.
Therefore, as soon as you get a customer in a given area, immediately go after others
in the same field. In addition to the needing similar products, the same goes for the
people in those companies. Often, like-type people are in the same types of jobs if
you get along with one, you have a better chance of getting along with another in
the same area. You are playing the percentages - use them to increase your odds for
success. Set-up systems and products, especially for people in this group, and you
can do all types of little extras that will make it better and easier to do business with
your company, as opposed to someone who sells to the general public. It is always
easier if you have a specialty to call on companies who are within your area, and your
odds for doing business are greatly increased.Whether you are cold calling or making
telephone calls, if you already have a customer in a “like” area, then you can figure that
your odds will probably improve by another three to five percent.
There is no better sales prospect than a lead from a satisfied customer who is
willing to let you use their name with someone they know. It is the closest thing to a
slamdunk you can get, and the odds skyrocket when you have them. Again, if you are
competent your odds of gaining a customer can zoom up to one out of four or more.
These are the types of odds you want. Before you make your first contact you have to
be ready for your call, and just like you need to prepare.
Write out what you want to say, and also what is important to your customer
Consider how your potenital customer will personally benefit utilizing
your firm, regarding better prices, deliveries, service, and working with the
Example: How your company can enhance your potential customer’s production
time to save money. How your product can mean savings in man-hours. How your
product will make his manufacturing area a safer, cleaner place. How your product/
service will make him or his people feel or look better
Under no circumstances do you offer bribes of any type or enter into any
agreements that violate your principles, U.S. law or anything else that does not seem
right. Your moral character is one of your chief-selling assets. Do not throw it away
because someone offers you something.
What will make them happy?
What will make them look good?
What will help them keep their job?
What will help them get a better job?
BE CREATIVE!!!! Anyone can be normal. Think from a different perspective. Read
the newspaper and anything else where you can get information on the company.
Check the internet with web searches and check their product lines to see where you
can be of help. Offer something unusual, free samples to be evaluated or supplying
inventory that is only to be paid for if used. There are all types of things that can help
get you in the door. Read biographies of other people in your business to see how
they cracked your markets. Use them as your mentors and jump off from where they
Write out all possible objections
• They may not want a new supplier.
• They can only bring on a new supplier who has a product or service he can’t
get anywhere else.
• They do not use your product or service (ask for a referral).
• They want a company with a proven track record.
• They want a company with specific industry related certifications.
• Why should they trust you?
Now, write answers to those objections.
Example: You have only been in business for a month. How can I be sure you will
be around in a year, and how can I depend on you?
Answer: I have every dollar of my savings in this business, and I am willing to
work as hard and as long as it takes to make it a success. My life is on the line, and I will
do anything, short of something illegal to make this business a success. Please give
me a chance.
Remember you will never think of every objection or question. Be satisfied with
your preparation.
What to do once you have an appointment set
1. Make sure you arrive between five & ten minutes early. If you are going to
be late, leave a phone message for the person. Try not to talk to them directly as they
will probably cancel you for not being on time. They do not have to be fair; they are
doing you the favor of seeing you.
2. As you walk into the building try to notice what is happening.
• Is the parking lot full? (Might mean the company is doing well.)
• Is the building full of people? (Might mean business is good)
• Is there a picture of the founder in the lobby? (Could be a family
owned business - good information to have.)
• Are the people pleasant and nice to deal with? (Good customers are
usually good in all ways.)
• Is there energy in the air; does it have a positive feel to it?
• When you walk into the potential customers office is it:
Neat or messy?
Clean or dirty?
Big or small?
All these can be indicators of how well the company and your customer are
doing. Take every bit of information you can and process it as you go. Try to get “a
ready” on the company - how would you offer products differently, if the company
appears to be doing poorly or well? There are so many variables to contend with
that any conclusions you can make can help to modify your presentation to meet
the needs of the people you are seeing. No one cares about you; they only care
about themselves and that is the way it should be. You want something from them
which are sales; so first you have to find out how you can help them.
3. Make sure you are dressed appropriately. Men should be in a tie and
jacket; woman in corporate business attire, nothing flashy, sexy, or anything else
that will take away from your presentation. If you are really good looking, then try
to play it down. Your looks might help in an initial contact but will probably get in
the way later. Never date a customer; I can tell you from personal experience, it is a
4. Make sure all of your notes are arranged neatly in a binder or some type
of portfolio that you can refer to only if needed. Have printed 8. 5” x 11” sheets
with the facts about your company, name, address, telephone, fax, email, and a
paragraph as to what are you do and your best strengths. Hand this package to the
potential customer along with your business card right after you shake hands.
5. As you talk to the buyer make sure you are maintaining some (but not
too much) eye contact. Try to smile and have fun; your stomach will probably be
jumping, and your body will be full of adrenalin, but try to utilize it for the good. It
will show through if you are excited at being there and having a good time. After
all, this person has the ability to change your life by giving business to your new
company. You can’t ask for more.
Be respectful, nice, and aggressive. Fight for a chance to show the customer
what you can do. Try to find something, anything, where you can get your foot in
the door. The onus of proof rests with you; show him what you can do; this is your
chance to shine!
6. The customer will do one of several things
A.) After hearing more about your product or service they will say they do not
have a need for it, ever. In this case, ask if they know anyone else in their company
who might. If not, ask them for anyone else who you can possibly be referred to. If
the customer gives you a name make sure to write it down and get the telephone
number. Try for an address, but don’t push it. Say thank you and leave. As you get
nowhere remember you are playing the odds and are now one step closer to
B.) After hearing more about your product or service, he decides he is not
the right person, but there is another employee who is. Ask him for a referral. If he
knows if they are in that day, he might call the person for you and arrange so you
can go right in to see them. If not, get the spelling correctly, their extension and
say thank you. Go back to main reception and call the person right away. Say you
just got their name from this buyer. Try to see them immediately since you are
there anyway.
C.) The buyer says he is the right person but has nothing right now.
Here is where you have a few options but you have to judge your buyer to
see which might work.
1. You can tell him you will follow-up in a few weeks, thank him for the
opportunity, and leave.
2. You can ask to see something in his product line he has just bought and
offer to price it for him; sometimes, a better price will help you get in the
3. You can see what he bought in the past and offer to do it differently
in your own design or how you would handle the project differently. Give
him another perspective at no charge of course. Be careful here because the
buyer may have been in on the design of whatever you are talking about and
might be insulted (or impressed) if you say you can improve on it.
4. The buyer says he will have something in a few weeks. In that case, say
you will follow-up in two weeks, say thank you, and get out of there before
you say something dumb.
5. The buyer has something he needs right now. Here is where you have
your best chance to shine. You have to find out if:
• The item is in a rush
• He has no supplier for it
• Has never been made before and needs to be engineered
• The item is currently not working correctly and needs to be fixed
Something is in a rush
Music to your ears, and it means you have a chance to land a first order
immediately – start a new piece of business, if you can deliver. You have to deliver on
time or early, or the customer will never trust you again. So do not lie or hedge about
your promised date. If your quality level is different, using different parts, or anything
that will deviate from what he is getting now, you have to tell him now so there will
be no surprises later on. Surprises are the last thing you want with a buyer, especially
a new one, so try to make sure all of the details are worked out before you finalize the
order, because once the paperwork is done ,it is very hard to get it changed.
Whatever is needed, get as much information as you can about it. Tell him when
you will get back to him. Go back to your office, do what is needed, and decide how
you want to present it with regarding price, delivery and service, and then get back to
him eariler than you promised.
Sexual Advances & Harassment
If the buyer says there is nothing you can offer, but would like to see you socially,
makes a sexual advance, or even worse says he/she will get you business if you satisfy
their needs first, do not give in. This is an extremely rare occurrence that if it happens
to you get up, leave, and never go back. If you feel you must report it, you can go to
the head of the human resources department, but it will be your word against his/
hers and you may not get too far.
People are people; a few are idiots, and the vast majority are just trying to do
their job and have as good a life as possible. Make enough calls, and you will see all
types. Be ready for your reactions before you go in, and then try to stay to your plan.
All situations are different, and hindsight is 20/20. Strong domineering
personalities are hard to fight so set your priorities and try to follow your conscience,
the more practice and calls you make on people, the stronger you will become. You
can’t look weak at anytime, and being prepared for battle will stop most people from
trying anything with you, including asking for bribes or anything else unethical. You
are there to do business and help your buyer, nothing more.
Chapter 
How do you know what to charge for your product or service? Pricing is an
art form, and there are a few ways to do it. Some people add up their costs and
put a fixed markup or percentage on top.
Here is a method to check your costs. First, add up all of the costs it takes for
your product, raw materials, production costs, and do not forget the overhead
like rent, telephones, etc. Once you have that, look in the marketplace and try
to get a feel as to what others are charging for the same service. If a gigantic
company is making the same product you are, they can often produce it for
far less money. If you are competing that way, “head-to-head,” then your profit
margins will be thin because you don’t have the advantages of quantities of
scale. Don’t expect people to spend more money for your product because you
are a nice guy. You either have to offer something different in the price, delivery,
service areas, or appeal to a small segment in a specialized way that will justify
your charging more.
Remember, we are in a global economy. Large amounts of any product
or service means that large corporations, and sometimes foreign competition,
are involved. In that case, you are competing against much lower prices for
labor, and you will be in for the fight of your life. It is often better to go after
a specific segment of the business area or niche so you can capitalize on what
you do best. It is not worth the efforts of the larger players. You have some
advantages being new and small; you can make quick changes in your products
and customize them to specific customers, both very large pluses when trying
to get new customers. Also since you are new, you are can look for the fringe
area of the business that is too small for the standard suppliers to want to deal
with. You can offer to do the “pain in the neck” little orders until you can get
established. Once the buyers want you around, you can start getting the bigger
pieces of business that are off limits when you start.
Normal overhead costs are about $2,090 of gross sales at the beginning,
when you are just trying to get customers you might want to try for a 25% mark
up over all costs, including your manufacturing, service, and overhead; or go
with whatever you gut tells you can get. If you give in a price and the customer
calls back and says it is too high, you can do the following:
1. Tell him you can’t change your price but hope he will try you for the
next order.
2. Find out what the price was and see if you can meet or beat it. This will
also give you an idea what he is paying in general. Buyers will often not
give you this information, but you can try.
3. Tell them you are just starting out and you will go five percent below the
other supplier and hope to start that way. Be careful, this sets a dangerous
precedent for the future whenever they want to get a cheaper price out of
you; they will remember how you acted here.
4. You can also change your price to offer more product for the same
money or they can pay the same for a higher grade item.
5. Ask them if they will buy more of these in the next 12 months, and if so,
give them a price based on his yearly usage, figuring they will come back
and order again. Be careful here too, because things often change, and the
future orders may not arrive. Buyers will seldom put the future in writing,
so it is a bit of a leap of faith.
In cases of rush jobs, sometimes companies add a surcharge onto it. Others
go with a market that will bear strategy, which means you add up all the costs of
the project and then try to figure out what the customer is willing to be charged.
Here is where the art form at pricing comes in, because you have to have a feel
as to what they are paying now and what they might be willing to pay for this
rush. Remember if he is in trouble and his assembly line is down, they might be
willing to pay more than if they are just trying to cover themselves. Be careful,
you don’t want to look like you are gauging them. You need that extra money
to pay for the research and development you are/will do for them. The extra
time you spend servicing their account has to be made up somewhere. Besides
a rush job for you will often mean overtime for your people, air shipments of
raw materials, messenger deliveries, and having to use inefficient means of
production to get the job done. Rush charges are not a penalty; they are a
reflection of what needs to be done to complete the project.
It is a fine line to decide when to go after more money. In the “pricing
game,” the highest profit go to those who are willing to lose the order by trying
to gain more money but who often able to negotiate on their feet when the
reaction comes from the customer. Remember if you go for higher profits, you
have to be willing to either negotiate or sometimes lose the business. If you
can’t take the pressure, then don’t charge for it, but you are throwing away a
major source of potential extra profit you not only need to run your business,
but you deserve.
In the beginning I would suggest you go with the safer modes of figuring
your costs and not to go for the big bucks until you are confident enough in
your abilities, those of your new company, until you believe you deserve the
extra money, and most of all, until you are willing to lose the order. Like in all
business it is a game of chess. You can never be sure of what the needs of the
other person are and the depths they are willing to go to get things done. It
is a source of wonderful torture when you do get the business to wonder if
you could have gotten more money, or if you could have lost it, how much less
would have gotten you the business that you needed. You get a better feel over
time, but you rarely know the actual answers, which is forever keeping your
mind sharp, your body attuned for signals, and a love for life. There are no hard
rules here because business is in constant fluid motion, so you have to make a
decision and go for it. Always try to be ready for objections about all parts of
your business and how you will handle problems as they come up. The more
business you have, the better you will get and the more confidence it will build
and give you more courage to go into new areas.
You will do no one any good, if you do not make enough money and go out
of business. You have to make a profit, pay your bills, and make enough to live
on. Do not sell yourself short but also don’t overestimate your worth. Be willing
to meet any challenge to prove your value against anyone else. If all this change
and fluidity bothers you, then either get used to it, or go work for someone else
because it will only get faster as the world becomes one giant marketplace.
Keep going and one fantastic day, it will happen. Congratulations, you
got your first order, a true milestone in your life. Now you have to produce it.
Remember, you have to be early or on time, and it has to be right. If the item has
never been made before, make sure you have a working model or prototype so
the customer can show it to their people and make sure it will fit the bill. If it is
a service, make sure that your people who are doing the work are competent,
show up on time, and want to be there.
Some companies charge to make samples and prototypes, and others do
not. I usually don’t, so I can make sure it is what the customer wants, and I can
usually lock in the piece of business once they know we can do the job. But that
is up to you. Remember, there are people like me who will not charge for things
that you might, which makes your job of selling that much harder. You are in a
long-running battle with people who have been there for a long time, are welltrained in companies that are well-funded. All you want is a chance to become
successful so you never complain. You have to be better, more efficent, think
quickly and be willing to take any chance you can get to target your business to
suit the competition’s customers. Your competition is great to have around, they
are showing the level of business the customer is used to in all areas and they
are giving away the secrets of what you have to do to get the orders away from
them. Just be better than they are in at least one area and equal in the others,
and you have a chance. Never put down your competitors just always try to be
better. Don’t use your mouth; let your work show who is better and people will
start to take notice. You will get your chances, based on the percentages, to get
your business going.
We get into what happens when you make a mistake later.
Chapter 
Keeping Your New Customer
The first order is completed! You have done it. Congratulations! You have
already done something that most people in the world can never do. You got
the first inquiry, gave a price, got the purchase order, and delivered the job on
time. To this day the thrill of a first customer is still a big deal, and every time
new business comes in, it is still a thrill. The day that feeling stops is the day I
retire or move onto something new.
Assuming you get paid in a reasonable amount of time, and you want to
do more business since you did everything right, you can now expect a flood of
new business, right? Wrong!!
The second order is a little easier than the first, but you still have to sell it.
The odds are the customer will take your calls for a little while after the first job,
but if he has nothing else for you, then should figure out new ways to help him
so you will remain of interest. It is your job to have him stay interested because
he does not owe you anything now or ever.
How do you keep the customer interested?
The same ways you got them in the first place. What is most important to
him besides his family? His job. The second most important thing? A better job.
Here is what you can do to help him help you.
This following works for not only customers but for suppliers, relatives,
significant others, and anyone else where you have extended contact. How do
you get someone to think of you first when something comes up? Any of these
needs/problems are:
1. A new product need comes up
2. Fixing a problem with a current product
3. Helping the customer to find new markets
4. Supplying information important to the customer regarding
a) Their company
b) Their job
c) Finding a better job
5. A problem comes up anywhere for anything
You want to be the “supplier” for your customer whenever trouble or a new
requirement comes up. If they are in trouble and in stress and pain, then you
want them to think of you. Why? Because if you are first to be called, then you
will have the best chance at fixing it, which means an opportunity to also do
something for yourself. In the case of your buyer, if they are in trouble because
they need a new product, their supply lines are down, something does not work
or another supplier is late, then there is a chance for you to get new business. If
it involves a new product, it will also give you the opportunity to be involved in
the newest technology and the chance to outflank your competition. This new
technology will spread throughout the industry, and you will be the first one
with the chance to supply not just this customer, but the industry as a whole.
How do you accomplish this? There is a way to have your customers, friends,
lovers, relatives or anyone else think of you when anything of importance
happens, and that is the action/reaction default condition.
To put it simply, this is an immediate reaction that you condition in someone
when their body temperature rises as a result of agitation, nervousness, and
stress. That moment when their body temperature begins to rise, they begin
to sweat and a small feeling of uneasiness and panic begins to pervade their
The action: something happens in someone’s life that is taking them
out of their normal routine which, even in the best cases, causes a change to
their mental and physical being, i.e. any emotional response. Here are nine
1. A problem comes up, and the assembly line will be stopped for three
days because they can’t get a part. Knowing the disruption will cause them
to fall behind in their deliveries, they know their job may be in jeopardy
and one is afraid of losing his or her position.
2. Your father has just had a heart attack. Although he will be alright, he
will have to be moved from where he was living alone to an assisted living
facility. You will be heavily involved in the move and his future care.
3. You have the chance at getting the job of your dreams, but it will mean
packing up everything, moving to a new city, and it has to be done within
the next month.
4. Your significant other has given you the ultimatum to either get
married or break up.
5. Your new company has just gotten the biggest order in its history, but
means you have to get a second mortgage on your house in order to buy
enough raw materials to fill the order. If the order is accepted, then you
have moved to the next level: if it goes wrong, you will lose your house and
probably go bankrupt.
6. You dog is sick, and you feel sad about it.
7. You got turned down for a date by a woman you have liked for years.
8. You failed a big test, which means you cannot get into the college of
your choice unless you go to summer school.
9. You have a chance at a promotion, but it means first having to increase
the productivity of your section by 20% within the next six months without
adding any manpower.
Trouble comes in many forms, and its importance and consequences are
judged and rated differently by everyone. Do not make the cataclysmic mistake
of deciding that someone’s problems are of less importance than they judge
them. You are not in his/her shoes and besides it his/her reality that says he/she
is in a desperate situation and his/her actions will be based on such. Your job, as
the person who wants to have a relationship with this person, is knowing that
you first have to give him/her what him/her need before you can hope to get,
on a percentaged basis, what you want. That means you have to analyze his/her
life and try to figure out how you can help which may include supplying:
1. Sympathy
2. Empathy
3. Physical help
4. Emotional help
5. Financial help
6. Informational help
7. Product and service support
If you can supply what your potential customers need, when trouble of any
type occurs, then you will be the person they contact first. Even if you can’t
help directly, you can at least lend a sympathetic ear or suggest an action that
may or may not involve you. This does not have to be business based; after all,
buyers are people too and the business relationship you are trying to develop is
based on your being of assistance. Often, over time, business relationships can
become as close as your personal ones. You want to help, if possible, in all areas
because not only is it a better thing to do, but is also good for your business
The point is that you have to be continually thinking about what is
happening with everyone around you, especially with your most important
relationships, and try to help those become stronger. For your customers, it is
relatively easy to predict what kind of hassles they will have. Buyers are always
in trouble with suppliers who do not do as they promised, so they have the need
for components for new products. If you can position yourself as the person they
can go to when anything new or when trouble happens, then you are on your
way to achieving the default action/reaction condition. After you have helped
with a continuing group of situations, then the other person in the relationship
will start to depend on you whenever those feeling of rising tension, frustration,
anger or trouble start to occur; then they will unconsciously start thinking of
you to help them. Obviously if you can get this reaction occurring, you are in the
best position to get new business and bigger chunks of what you already have.
This will usually result in an exponential positive growth in all relationships,
your happiness, and your success.
Over time, a big potential problem is taking your customers and other
relationships for granted, and you stop working with them at the level you did
before. That is when the decline begins, and someone else who is willing to put
in the effort, will take over. The odds are you will have to take your business,
significant other, friends, or any other relationships away from someone else
who is not supporting them. You have to work for everything knowing that it
will only get you the possibility to achieve results based on a percentage of what
you are worth, a combination of your intelligence, persistence, ability, etc. You
are trying to get onto the playing field, and there are no guarantees of success
unless you understand the rules and the percentages. Most people do not think
this way, and therefore, are prone to believing they deserve certain things in life.
I love people like that because they are the easiest to go around and take what
I want. Call it manipulation or anything else; if they have something I desire,
then I am going after it. I am not doing anything wrong; I just want it more than
they do.
On a percentage basis, you will always be beaten by someone who is
smarter, tougher, and wiling to work harder. Your job is to martial all of your
abilities and resources at the highest levels for the longest periods of time, both
to have the most fun and successful as possible.
Chapter 
Conduct enough business with someone, and you will have trouble. It is
simply a matter of odds; as my dad used to teach me, it has to happen. How
you handle that trouble will define, in all areas of your life, how successful and
happy you will be.
It is one of the hardest parts about being in business, and life for that matter.
That is having to admit to yourself and other people that you are wrong, make
mistakes, and do not meet the expectations of those whom you are always
trying to please. Trouble is a situation where the expectation of something
to happen is not fulfilled in the manner or completeness to which someone
expected. In other words something went wrong, you are involved and have
disappointed someone or failed, yes I said failed. One of the hardest things for
anyone to admit. Since you are going to be in your own business, let’s discuss
the various types of trouble, and your reaction to it.
Scenario 1
You created a product or supplied a service that was not to a satisfactory
level for your customer. You can either:
1. Convince the customer he is incorrect and that what you did was right.
He is just not looking at it in the right way.
2. Tell the customer you will get back to him in a few days when you have
figured out what is wrong and when you can fix it.
3. Tell the customer you cannot fix the problem without losing money
yourself and therefore will not do it.
4. Decide that you did was right and tell the customer you will not fix it.
5. Tell the customer not to pay for it, and you will stop doing business.
6. Tell the customer you are sorry you messed up, will fix it immediately,
and will have updates for him every two hours until a solution is found.
It is pretty obvious when I write it this way that the correct answer is the last
option, however, it is also the hardest one to do. When trouble occurs the last
thing you want to do is call someone who is mad at you, namely your customers,
especially when you do not have an answer as to a solution yet. But that is the
most important time to call him because no one likes to be kept in the dark as to
where he stands. Not having someone call you when your feet are dangling over
the fire is one of the most infuriating things that can ever happen. Any person
who says, “I did not call you back because I had no solution yet,” is lying. They
are not calling because they are scared of your reaction. But calling someone
and letting them know you are sorry and working your tail off for an answer
is information that they can pass onto their people. Efforts are being made to
handle the situation; communication is happening; work is moving along; and
progress is being made. They have something to tell their boss and the people
who are in trouble because of the problems you caused. The fact that you don’t
want to make the phone call because the other person is justifiably irate at your
incompetence and will yell at you is your problem, not his.
Finding trouble is a chance to show your customer just how great your
organization can react. It is your chance to show how you handle yourself under
pressure and your ability to think in a different way to find a solution that was
not apparent before. You must, and I say must (if you want to be continually
more successful), learn to take responsibility for your actions and those of your
people. Admit you were wrong, say you are sorry, and no matter what it costs,
personally see that the problem is fixed. You cannot rest until the customer is
happy. If you can’t admit you made a mistake, save everyone a lot of trouble,
and go work for someone else because you will die in your own business. As my
dad always said, if you can admit you were wrong, you can also take credit for
when you are right. Actually, the way it works is that since you are the boss, the
blame is always yours. But the good things are because of your company and
your people. If you want people to pat you on the head and say great things,
then go work for someone else. You are the boss, in charge, and your self-worth
is based on how well your company does; don’t expect accolades for yourself.
No one is perfect, and the people I can trust are those who will admit when they
make a mistake.
A reminder here: do whatever is needed to get the problem fixed and the
odds are that the customer will not expect to pay anything for it due to all of the
trouble you caused. After everything is okay, if the cause of the trouble was not
all or partly your fault, you might be ale to go back and re-examine the situation
and be compensated. But trying to do this in the middle of the problem will
often result in a huge amount of anger from the customer. No one wants to see
fingers pointing when there is a crisis.
Scenario 2
You have been brought in by a customer because one of your competitors
has messed up and can’t fix a situation. Oh, what a great thing this is! Not only is
the problem not your fault but you can come in like a white knight and save the
day. Plus, if you can supply the solution, then you not only have a chance at the
piece of business but the account as a whole, as long as you can deliver.
Be very careful to show samples of how you plan to fix the problem so
that everyone agrees beforehand that it will work. If possible, have a prototype
constructed and submitted again to make sure it will work. If you have the
answer, make sure you can deliver it in the time period necessary, or tell the
customer you have some doubts about completing the order or the possibile
need for a partial shipment, and whether that is acceptable. Frequent updates
in this situation are also good and the customer will appreciate being kept in
the loop. The frequency of these calls can be found by asking simply and then
following their orders unless there is a new development.
When there is trouble money becomes secondary. As soon as things are
fixed, it moves to the head of the line so make sure the customer has a price
for whatever it is you are supplying. Try to get a purchase order while you are
producing so you are ready to send an invoice as soon as the job is delivered.
Hopefully the customer will be so happy you will get this piece of business
permanently, and that will also lead you in other pieces of business. Nothing is
permanent or a sure thing, so you still have to keep selling and never become
Scenario 3
You have been brought in by a customer because one of his suppliers has
messed up a project and he is in trouble. This product is outside your normal
area but you tell him you would like to take a shot at it to, not only be of help
to him but to also expand your product lines. In this case, since it is a new type
of business, you have to be doubly careful about supplying correct parts. But if
you can do it, you have not only become even more important to your customer,
but also entered into a new marketplace, which you can hopefully sell to others.
Handle it like Scenario 2.
Trouble is going to happen. Count on it and try to mitigate the fallout by
being as careful as possible in all of your preparation and promises to your
customers. Trouble will come and the way you handle it in all areas of your life
will determine your success. As you get older with more experience, you will
be able to spot many of the potential problems before they occur and short
circuit them so no one even knows a potential crisis was there. That is why your
customers choose you: to have the least amount of problems and feel safe that
when it does occur, you will handle it quickly, effectively, and with a minimum
amount of pain to all concerned.
Chapter 
Long-Lasting Relationships
Sometimes things in my life happen in reverse. Although I learned almost
everything involving people from my years of dating, I learned about longlasting relationships from business. You see, I rarely dated more than one woman
at a time, as soon as I knew we would not get along, which usually happened
in the first five minutes, I would finish the date pleasantly and then move on
to the next person. I never met a woman who I liked and liked me enough to
sustain anything past six weeks. It was in business where I had to learn how to
get along with people over the long term. I remember when I was just starting
out, I had a customer from a very large corporation who was driving me crazy.
I considered him highly unreasonable and wanted to get rid of both him and
his company. I can get more customers, I would say. My father, wisely told me I
had to take a stand, and get through this idea of temporary customers and stop
throwing them away when things got tough. Recurring business was where the
big money was made and that could not be done with transient customers;
they had to be long term. To accomplish that, I had to learn to get along with
them on a long-term basis.
It was very tough for me because it was something alien to my nature. I
do not trust people over time; but with my father’s insistence, and his making
good sense, I was able to break through my problem and begin the process
of not only learning to get along with people but to like doing it. It has been
25 years since I started and some of my business friendships are among the
best I have. They are different than “normal” friendships. These are not people I
would call to go to a ball game or play cards with, rather we have built a mutual
respect and friendship based on helping each other to survive and prosper in
the business world. I cherish these friendships and consider them my friends
,but they are different than my other friends and need to stay that way. It is a
great side benefit to doing business, to spend time with really good people who
can also be your customers.
Long-term relationships mean getting along with people when they are
being human. Like when their kids are up all night and they are crabby; or they
are nervous because their jobs might be in jeopardy. Your job is to try and help
along the way with anything that might do them good. Sometimes that means
just listening with a sympathetic ear or calling when you know someone who
might want to hire them. Your job is to be aware and watch out for their welfare.
Over the long term, that will take care of most of what is needed as long as
you also give them everything they require regarding product support, price
delivery, and staying up on the latest research and development. I never said it
was going to be easy.
Hiring and Firing People
You have made a big leap when you are ready both mentally and financially
to hire your first employee. It is a giddy feeling to think that you have gotten to
the point where you will now become an employer. This is one of those areas
where, like accounting, legal, and financial areas, you need professional help.
Before you hire your first employee, go see your accountant, lawyer, and other
friends in their own business and ask for their suggestions and referrals as to
how to proceed to set up a system that will not only get you the type of people
you want but help guard against trouble when they don’t work out.
Chapter 
It is August 29, 2004. Approximately 31 days ago, I promised that I would
have this section of my book done by the 31st of this month. By telling people
that it was my goal, I virtually sealed my fate that I would have to do it, because
if I speak it, I must do it. I saved integrity for last because it in many ways it is the
most important thing of all, not just in business but for life.
My best friend, Uncle Dave, says this is what separates me from most
people. When I say I will do something, I almost always do it. When I cannot
keep my word, I then let people know in advance so my inability to follow a
commitment causes them the least amount of trouble. I cannot tell you how
important it is to first commit to something and then follow through in the
way you promised, on time, and with a good nature about it. No one likes a
sour puss, or someone who is mean and nasty. People like to be around others
who are forward thinking, optimistic, happy, have a sense of humor, and have
the belief that they can make a positive difference for themselves and others
around them. These people generally also do what they say when they say they
will do it. It is all part of being a well-rounded individual who is grateful to be
alive and who had the chance to better themselves and others around them.
To have any impact on people, they have to believe in what you say. That
won’t happen if they don’t have faith in what you will do. Being late is not
permitted; not doing what you promise is not acceptable; and excuses are a
waste of time.
If I believe in someone, and they are consistently late or do not do as they
promise, I will reduce my expectations of them accordingly. I will also call on
them less if they continue that way. Trust is a very easy thing to lose, and once
gone, it is very difficult to build it up again. I can forgive people but I rarely, if
ever forget what they did.
Integrity is a bunch of little steps. Start small and make sure you do as you say.
As you become conscious of your promises, you will also see how many people
fail in this process. Once you can do as you promise, on a daily and weekly basis,
like being on time everywhere and doing your day-to-day activities; you can
start expanding to longer term goals that demand much bigger commitments.
It means setting aside the resources necessary (like time and money) to ensure
he capability of completing your goals. If you set impossible criteria, then you
have failed before you start. Only promise what you feel you can do, and then
do it. If you don’t speak or write down your commitments, they do not count.
You are not bound by them, but as soon as you do either, you have made a
promise to everyone and yourself that you will do everything in your power to
get this task done.
If you fail, admit it. Move on. Being the better for having attempted and
then admitting you could not do it. Over time your will of commitment will
become like iron, and people will continue to build their trust in you and will
be much happier. Life is a journey in faith. No one will follow yours or give you
help unless they believe you are firmly committed, and they have a chance to
benefit from it too.
That’s it. You are now ready to start on your own, or not, if I have scared you
away. Perhaps it is better if you decide this is not for you, because it is a long
tough road, and most people will fail anyway. You are not better or worse for
not trying this. If fact I think most people who try their own business out would
be better working for someone else. But if you are one of the few who has the
yearning to building something from nothing, to have something you own and
control, and to have your fate in your own hands, then you are ready to try this
on your own. The next section contains my life experiences in the different areas
of the Rules of Life. Read them not only for the hopefully interesting stories they
contain, but the threads of my philosophy that run through them. Never take
lightly your will to succeed and the level of competition out there. The world is
tough market, but there is a place for you, if you’re willing to train for the job and
continually improve for the rest of your life. No one is perfect; everyone makes
mistakes; and sometimes even the best fall short.
It is now October 3, 2004, 3:19 PM, and I have just finished the second draft
of this book. I am three days past my deadline which has bothered me a lot.
Although it is a self-imposed goal, which will have no effect on the outcome
of the book, I still missed it. Sometimes you can’t do everything you plan, and
when that happens accept it, admit it (when necessary) and move on. I am
moving on and will do better.
The Six Rules of Life
Rule One
Every interaction in life involves an exchange of energy, goods, or services and is
important. That means that everyone that you meet can have a negative or positive
impact on you and the same goes for you to them. Because you understand this - and
almost no one else does - the tenor of those exchanges is often up to you to define
whether it is good or bad.
Now to get to some of the fun part: reading about my going through some
of the tougher parts of life. Hopefully, you can learn from my pain and move on
without having to experience it directly. Each part is headed by one Rule of Life.
Some of the Rules have more articles than others; in my case, that is where a lot
of my life events centered; it may be the same or different for you. Use my life as
a guide. We are all very different people so try not to make the same mistakes
I did.
Chapter 
You can directly affect the lives of the people around you with just a little bit of
effort. Is there a reason not to do it?
Niceness Everywhere - September 1, 2004
Tonight I am in Woburn, Massachusetts on the second night of a three day
sales swing through the Rhode Island and Boston area. The last two days have
gone well, and I am looking forward to making my calls tomorrow. Then, I’m
heading out in the afternoon to our vacation home in Lenox, Massachusetts,
about two hours away. I always find it strange being away from home and
tonight is no different. It is a hot, summer night. After a wonderful dinner where
I had way too much caffeine-laden iced tea, I started walking in the nearby
shopping mall area. I had never been there before and doubt if I will ever see
Someone once asked if a neighborhood where they were moving to had
friendly people. The question was answered back with another question: If the
last place they lived was happy, why wouldn’t this place be as well?
So, I have conducted myself with that message in mind throughout my
life. Almost all the time, people answer my friendliness with niceness of their
own. On the way through the mall, I spotted a supermarket. Remembering I did
not have a banana for my oatmeal, I ventured forth. I normally bring my own
breakfast whenever I travel (both to save time and also not having to go around
the schedule of the hotel’s restaurant). But you can’t carry bananas with you in
a suitcase; at least I have never been able to do it successfully, so I normally try
to get one along the way. Today I had simply forgotten it until I passed by this
I found the banana display in the produce section, and to my luck, there
were some single units waiting to be purchased. I picked a nice one, plus an
eight-pack of sugarless gum (can you ever have enough of that?), and I went
to the checkout counter. I was not in the express lane and but laid down my
single banana and gum. The checkout woman, a very nice grandmotherly type,
started to smile, and figured I should give her an explanation. I explained it was
for my breakfast, and you know you can’t transport them well in a suitcase, so I
had to buy one on the road. Meanwhile, the woman in front of me joined in with
her smiles of acknowledgement, and the three of us and the older woman’s
daughter on the side were all happy at the fact that my oatmeal would not have
to be eaten naked the next morning. No, in case you are wondering, I do not eat
my oatmeal with hot water when I am on the road (warm is okay). Yes, I suppose
that makes me a little unusual but no more so than people think I already am.
I took my purchases in a nice, white, plastic bag and continued walking
around the mall, trying to work off some of the caffeine that was now careening
through my body. I got the feeling the next time I would be sleeping would be a
few days from now. I kept passing the nice, older woman from the supermarket
(not the checkout woman as she was still working), and we smiled at each
other as she explained who this stranger, namely me, was in the dark to her
After this I walked a little more and ran out of places to go, so I went back
to the hotel where I expected to meet the really nice people at the check-in
desk who I had spoken to earlier. It seems uncanny but in almost every hotel in
all parts of the world, there are usually two nicely dressed young people, a man
and woman who are bubbly, outgoing, and very helpful. This was no exception,
and I dropped off some copies of my last book to them and the maintenance
man. I try to give copies of my book out everywhere I go, always trying to spread
my optimistic view of life.
I met a lot of good people today, which is one reason I like to be on the
road. Whether it is asking for directions, buying food, or doing business, I find
that most of people are genuinely nice, try hard, and are just good underneath
it all. We live in a good place, and it is an honor to be a part of it, and yes the
people from my old neighborhood were nice as the people where I live now.
Chapter 
Walls do not move. Some people do not change. Reality is solid like a piece of
uncaring, cold granite. Accept what is most possible to center on where you can really
make a difference.
He Drives Me Crazy - July 2004
My best friend is driving me crazy. He is a warm, wonderful man who, although
has achieved a certain measure of success, is not satisfied where he is. Even though
none of us are completely content with our progress in certain areas and want to
improve them, he sets up these goals for himself that seem impossible.
I am the last person in the world to say that anything can’t be done since I
believe that almost everything is attainable, but one of my friend’s latest dreams is
to ride in the Tour De France bicycle race. That contest allows only the best athletes
in the world to compete, which he is not one, but also necessitates years of training,
largely unencumbered by things like your job, family, and everything else except
riding. It would mean leaving his business for months at a time, not to mention all
those around him, who would be supportive but suffer from his actions.
Did I mention he is 50 years old? Did I mention that he has a bad back? Did I
mention he is nuts?
Why does he always seem to make these great goals in the athletic area? Why
can’t he realize that some things are now just impossible? He and I are both a long
way past the time when we could compete with normal 20-year-olds let alone world
class athletes. Although we are both in very good shape, we would still be kidding
ourselves and looking bad in the process. I had my own moment a few years ago
when I trained to compete in a local triathlon. Luckily for me, I got the flu the week of
the race and could not participate, or I would have probably severely injured myself
in the attempt to finish.
The truth is the field of battle has shifted for not just us, but for everyone in our
age group. The new battlefield has to be in different arenas where we can utilize our
still increasing abilities which includes brain power, perseverance, and the wise use
of our experience. Competing on the athletic field should be for physical and mental
benefit that will allow us to compete harder in the areas where we can be champions
as opposed to looking like fools.
My friend was a star athlete in high school; I was not. Anything I do involving
sports is just a bonus to my normal life. But the real playing field, the place where
major progress can be done, is not with bats and ball or sticks and nets; rather it is
with computers, cell phones, money, and power.
I love the guy, but he is missing the boat. He wants to compete, the thrill of the
victories he felt in high school, and he wants that feeling of being part of a winning
team. Those feelings are all still available to him, and on a much bigger and longer
lasting scale but on a different field of battle.To him, I am sure I seem unsupportive, as
I told him this morning that he was wasting his time with the new dream of his.“Give
it up, ” I told him. “It is impossible, it will be like trying to punch through a wall; you
can keep it up for eternity, but the wall is going to beat you. Modify your dream now,
so you at least have the chance for success. Otherwise you are just setting yourself up
for failure. The compounding of fruitless efforts will do nothing but erode your sense
of worth.” He remained unconvinced.
I believe I can do anything I set my mind to, but I will not go after quests that I
consider impossible. Maybe that limits my horizons, but perhaps it doesn’t because
I have quite an imagination and a desire for “more.” I tend not to waste my time on
what can’t be. Still, what kind of supporter would I be to watch my best friend stand
there hitting a wall that will never crack and let him think that maybe, someday it will
go down? Better we team together and find a way to either go around it, or blow
it up so he can get to the other side. There are many ways to achieve success and
numerous definitions of what it is to win. Perhaps, he could modify his views, and at
that point, I can be the supportive friend I know he wants, and the one I want to be.
Chapter 
At one point or another all parents will embarrass their children, and sometimes it
is for good reason.
Happy Father’s Day - June 2004
I was at my son Ben’s high school graduation last Thursday. As the ceremony
was progressing, my 79year old dad was seated next to me. He looked out at the
graduation class and announced loudly enough so everyone within a short
distance could hear,“There are no fat people in this class.” The familiar wave of sheer
embarrassment covered my body, as he once again uttered something that made
my intestines clamp as if they were put into a vice. Once again I was worrying that
he was going to create a scene and sure enough the young, overweight woman in
front of us shot him a glance. He calmly looked her in the eye and said,“It’s okay, I’m
fat; they are my people!” As per the rest of my life, I slightly shook my head in disbelief
and pretended to be so engrossed with the ceremony and ignored what actually just
Throughout my life, my dad has always called them like he sees them. If he had
a comment on anything, he’ll say it, no matter who hears it. He always told me that he
knew how to pick his spots and almost never got a bad reaction whenever he spoke
to people he did not know or made comments in public covering any area he chose.
When we were in business together, he said he never worried that someone would
get angry and attack him because he had me around to protect him. I never liked that
because not only did I not like hearing his comments, but then I would have to end
up going to battle if the confrontation ever came.
However, my dad was right to an extent. The attack or bad reaction never came;
he could pick his spots, but I never saw the value of saying something just to get a
response. He told me once that his father used to do the same thing, but he was not
as good at it and sometimes did get into trouble when talking to strangers. I always
wondered why either would bother to say anything at all and risk trouble for no
reason. It was much easier to keep their mouths shut, like me, and for all of us to mind
our own business.
I was with my 15-year-old middle son, Alex, yesterday. Drugstore shopping is one
of his passions, to get him ready to go to camp for the summer. For Alex, shopping
is a major deal and an Olympic sport. To me, it is a pain in the neck. After he was
finally ready with the purchases we got on line and I chatted a little with the cashier
and person behind us. I said nothing bad; I almost never say anything negative, just
pleasantries to pass the time.
As we left the store, Alex looked at me and said,“Dad, you were doing it again.”
“What?” I asked.
“You keep talking to people you don’t know; you should not do it.”
Then it hit me, I had become like my father and grandfather.
“But I never cause trouble or am a pain.” I said.
“You should not talk to people you don’t know,” he said.
I was an embarrassment to my son, the same feelings I had for my father and he
for his dad. I had done what I swore I would never do; I talked and made comments
to people I did not know. Is what I do so bad? Far from confrontation, I would only
try and elicit a smile and have a milli-second moment with someone I will never see
again. What a horrific thing to try and bring a moment of joy, a quick smile, where
only silence had been before. I like people; no, I love people, and I really enjoy seeing
them happy and making their day a little brighter. My son either does not share
my joy for humanity or is simply not old enough to understand that it is everyone’s
responsibility to help make others to feel better, even for an instant. Since it took me
until yesterday (I am 48 years old) to realize this, I think I can give Alex some slack on
this subject.
I may not agree with the “way” my father interacts with some people, and I know
he did not like his own father’s methods. But his quest for bridging the void of silence
and loneliness that envelopes most people is something that should be copied and
praised rather than pitied and ignored. Sorry for all of the negative thoughts all these
years, Dad, all three generations were right on this one. We should both keep on
doing the best we can, because even if it carries some embarrassment to those near
by it is the best way for us all to be.
Chapter 
Boys will be boys, and people are all human, a hard thing to remember for all.
Toilet Seat Down! - June 2004
I have a question that has been bothering me for years. I grew up in a family with
a father, brother, sister, and mother. I have a wonderful wife, two sons, and a daughter.
Why is it then, that even with numerical superiority in both sets of families, I have
been told and am always expected to leave the toilet seat down in the bathroom?
“It is respectful of the woman” they would say so they don’t fall in during the
middle of the night. But if the guys outnumbered the girls and we spent most of our
time leaving the seat up wouldn’t it be more practical to leave the seat up, besides
isn’t that what night lights are for? But the contrary is in effect and thus highlights one
of the many differences between men and women. As I have found throughout my
life, it is often in my best interest to do what is required by someone else, if I expect to
get something in return. In this case a constant irritant is taken away from my mother,
wife, and daughter, and if they aren’t happy, as everyone in my office will tell you, then
I am not happy.
I was biking today in Lenox, Massachusetts. We have a small vacation home here
and are located about two miles below the center of town.There is a large hill leading
up to town and then just before the top sits a beautiful church. From there it is a
quick push up the rest of the hill to reach the summit with a view that stretches for
many miles. I try to make this trek every time we are here, which means in all types of
weather, I can be seen making my way to the top. In the winter, I wear a green jacket,
goggles, and a mutli-colored helmet. My wife says I resemble a giant bumblebee; I
must be quite a sight. But the view is breathtaking, and I carry that mental picture
with me whenever I journey as a source of peace, contentment, and inspiration. The
anticipation of coming back every few months recharges my memory for a place we
all love.
On the way back down from the church, there was one of those police machines
that shows how fast you are going. Their purpose, I am sure, is to have drivers slow
down as not to get a ticket in the 20 mile per hour zone. However, if you are on a
bicycle like I was today, it has the exact opposite effect. For some reason when you
are a guy on a bike, normal rules don’t apply. Instead of slowing down, the opposite
takes over as the speed machine becomes like a timer in a sport event.Your job as the
participant is to go as fast as you can to see how high the number will go.
Ask anyone and they will tell you that I am one of the more law-abiding people
they know. I signal and stop, am courteous and careful, and I consider myself a good
driver. But for some reason, when I see one of those machines while I am bicycling, my
legs start pumping and I am racing.
I remember hearing about a bicyclist in college being given a speeding ticket for
going too fast down Main Street. While I always try to avoid confrontation with the
police, for some reason I threw caution to the wind again and went careening down
the road in search of a new personal world record. As I passed the “finishing line,” it
read 30 miles per hour; I was riding like the wind. It must be something primal inside
me, because I had a great time doing it. Once I passed the speed machine. I reverted
to my normal nature and once again was good citizen.
My eldest son, Ben, just turned 18 years old. He has been going out with the
same nice girl for over two years. Up until very recently, we have always had at least
one parent home to make sure nothing went too far. A few months ago, my wife was
away and Ben’s girlfriend was coming over, and I had to go out. He asked if it was okay,
and I said it was fine as long as they did nothing they had not already done before.
If they did something while we parents were home, then our not being there
wouldn’t mean anything anyway, so I left it up to him to do as he thought right.
He said that was not a problem, and since I have the ultimate faith in my son that
rule became law from then on. Plus, if they were going to be there alone, her parents
had to know so they could stop the visit, if they felt the need. He is now 18 years old,
we have either brought him up right, or it is too late.
No one is perfect, and anyone who thinks they are must be either crazy, insane,
or at least very dangerous. If you figure that someone will never make a mistake then
you are a fool because you are destined to be let down in a big way. I try to beat speed
machines on my bicycle, but I put the toilet seat down as a courtesy to the female
members of my family. Ben has his girlfriend over, and we give him the respect that
he will handle himself accordingly, but I am under no illusions that everything is
perfect. We are all human, make judgments, and have our own levels of what is moral
and acceptable. We need to respect the decisions of others. It is luck if people don’t
get into trouble, because if you live, you are going to make mistakes.
Part of learning to be a better person is having that horrible feeling in the pit
of your stomach knowing that you have screwed up, and you have to make it right.
If we are all lucky, it will have meant that no one was actually hurt, or it is something
that can be fixed. We need to give our kids, as well as ourselves, some room. I am
obsessive-compulsive, which means I like things the way I like them. That means I am
not always the easiest person to live with. The rest of my family does not suffer from
this condition, which means I put away a lot of glasses and tidy things up. We live
together well because we care for each other and want to get along.
Being perfect is a very lonely place, and I always have to remember that the
best I can do is okay, and that goes especially for those around me. It is also for that
reason why I will keep racing those speed machines in town; who knows maybe next
time I can break 31 miles per hour, and I hope the police will have read this before it
Chapter 
One of the hardest things in life is being able to “read” people as they are. Wishing
and hoping that the right thing will be done is allowing someone else to dictate your
life. We all have to rely on others; the hard part is deciding who to trust.
In Order - May 2004
I went to the dentist yesterday to see Dr. Brown. He is a very nice man, and I
originally found him through a root canal specialist. “Send me to someone who is
careful and is painless as possible,” I said. That was about ten years ago, and I have
since learned he is an avid amateur cyclist, almost good enough for the Olympic
team and obviously successful in business.
He wanted me to have a bite plate, as it seems I was grinding my teeth at night,
obviously dreaming about those sales that have not yet been booked. I was in today
for a final fitting. He came in to greet me, then left, and was back in a few moments.
As he sat down, I noticed he checked to make sure all of the drawers on his console
were shut. This was an obvious tip-off that he was obsessive-compulsive. I knew this
because I do the same thing. Glancing at the wall with some paintings, I asked him
how many times a day he aligned the frames so they were straight. Smiling sheepishly,
he mentioned he did one of them frequently.
Give me a man who is obsessive-compulsive any day, especially if he is that way
towards his work. You could not want a more careful, detailed-oriented, concerned
dentist than Dr. Brown, and I was obviously not alone in my feelings because he has
become nationally recognized as one of the best in the business. He is an artist in a
world of technicians. His work not only looks good, but rarely hurts, and I am sure
holds up longer than others.
We were speaking briefly about our jobs, and he mentioned he was happier
now because he was able to work on the patients he cherished. “I don’t want to do
patchwork dentistry,” he said.“I will not do a job well enough to just last to the next
appointment. I want to do it right to the quality level where I am comfortable, or I
won’t sleep at night.”
At this moment, I am on my way to Baltimore by train. I am sitting next to a man
traveling from Newark to Philadelphia who is obviously successful. We got to talking,
and he mentioned he was in charge of a group of salespeople. His company was
going public within the next year. We spoke for almost an hour, and the whole time
he was constantly aligning his cell phone, PDA, and laptop on his tray area to make
sure they were all in order. The train was bouncing around, and he kept putting them
back. He was also constantly monitoring his phone and making sure that his various
“troops “were well, and progress was being made. I can guarantee that just by the
way he kept the space between us neat and clean that he is detail-oriented to an
extreme: a great asset to his compan,y and yes obsessive-compulsive.
Selling is everywhere whether it is administering dental work, keeping track of
your troops, selling directly, or getting along in every situation. The people who do
best are the ones who care most about the people around them. It always amazes
me that people think that making a sale is “doing something to someone,” when, in
fac,t it is creating a contract where you will give something to someone and then
hopefully get something in return.
But that agreement will rarely if ever happen, if you are only concerned with
yourself and are oblivious to the world around you.
Find me a person who is obsessive about keeping things in order, making sure
everything is in its place, and cares about what is going on with everyone around
him, and I will show you someone who is passionate not only about that area, but
every other part of their lives. It is easy to pick out people who are successful because
their behavior covers all parts of their lives. You are one person. Don’t be afraid or
ashamed to care about the little things and are striving for structure and order; often
you are the only oasis for many people in a world full of chaos. You become the one
person people seek because they know you won’t go into any agreement unless it
works well for everyone involved.
Chapter 
We are all complete, complex packages of a multitude of opinions, prejudices,
abilities and progress. Accepting people as they are, and working within all of our
strengths and limitations, separates the leaders from those being led.
A Voice From The Train - April 22, 2004
I like traveling by train; besides the fact you don’t have to go two hours before
departure like an airplane, you can usually use your cell phone and computer the
whole way. I am on my way back from Baltimore, MD to home in New Jersey. It is
Thursday, April 22, I have been away since April 20. It is appropriate that it is Earth
Day as I was away at an Environmental Protection Agency conference where we
were talking about helping the earth and how to motivate other businesses to adopt
environmental management systems (EMS) and run more cleanly.
I have decided that I am both a staunch environmentalist, as well as a capitalist,
and am also convinced the two go hand-in-hand. At the conference I gave a talk
about the economic benefits of running more cleanly and efficiently, and I proved (I
believe) that a good economic/environmental model is not only great for the planet
but also paramount to economic survival.
People seemed to be listening, and it is a pleasure to think that I am part of a
group, The EPA Performance Track Program, that could have some small impact on
the environmental landscape. But that was this morning, and I need to get home
because my daughter has a softball game at 6:15PM. I am the assistant coach, and
I have already missed one game and a practice. The first game of the season, my
daughter did very well; she is the catcher and as always, is the highlight of the game,
at least to me.
We are now passing through Delaware where I went to school. I saw signs for
Newark which is pronounced “New-ark” as opposed to the way we do it in New
Jersey which is as one word “Newark”. When I worked at the campus radio station,
the first thing the news director had to do was teach me how to say the name of the
town correctly. That did not take long. But for my major in speech communications,
they had to break me of my New Jersey accent which took a great deal longer. One
of the goals of the program was to adopt a Mid-Western accent which is the closest
thing to none at all. It was done to maximize my chances of finding a job anywhere
- as an accent was thought to be a liability. I am sure, however, that over the ensuing
25 years some of mine has crept back, but it doesn’t seem to have affected my career,
so I am not concerned.
Happily, the office is running well without me which is great because I am going
to an Occupational Health And Safety Administration (OSHA) convention next week
to speak again about the monetary advantages of running with a superior health and
safety system. Like the environmental groups, I know the audience will be surprised
at my tack, but most of the time people like to hear that being the best in all areas
like the environment, health, and safety often leads to the highest levels of profit and
betterment for everyone concerned.
I have become a zealot in my convictions; I hope it doesn’t become wearing to
those around me because I am not going to stop, but there are so few who appear
to agree with me; I wonder if it is them, or me? I hope it is them because most small
business owners are so concerned with their day-to-day survival, they don’t have the
time or inclination to look towards the future and try something new. As far as big
company people are concerned, a lot of them are required to look no further than
their next fiscal quarter, and to long-term planning is not considered their area. It is
up to the leaders in all sized businesses and the government to plan over time and
modify all related practices, if progress is going to happen.
I believe things can change for the better if they adopt my ideas, but I have
been around long enough to know I am wrong too often to say anything is written
in stone. I therefore can easily accept their doubt and willingness to modify their
systems because of my convictions, but maybe I can help cast some doubt as to the
ways they are currently manufacturing now.
Action, in my view, is usually better than doing nothing. Movement in a new
direction is the key to change, and just getting someone to consider doing things
a little differently is the hardest selling job of all. I come on very strongly, as was
evident when I got one of my compatriots mad at me at the conference. I am
always pushing to close a deal or get a commitment to get things moving, except
that movement is the direct opposite path that most people want to travel. My
zeal in trying to keep things moving is one of my greatest strengths but also
causes the most problems. Many people want me around but wish I would stop
before I go too far. Unfortunately going too far usually means stopping short of
success. Since I come as whole package, they will have to grit their teeth and take
me as I am, hopefully for the good of all.
For now I should be back in my office within two hours, and then it is off to the
softball field for tonight’s game. It should be a glorious evening, whether they win or
lose and I can’t wait to see my family again.
We are universally one person and that “fingerprint” that defines our way of
being is also the measurement of how well we deal with the world around us and
the success we seek.
Chapter 
When do you go for it, that moment when you ask someone for something you
want? Being able to “read” the situation and define that moment will often decide
success or failure.
Look For The Signs - April 14, 2004
I met my second federal cabinet member today. The first was EPA
Administrator Christine Todd Whitman; the second was her successor, Mike
Leavitt. The EPA Performance Track Participant’s Association Executive Board, of
which I am a member, had a meeting with him today. I love to watch people,
especially those who have risen to the heights of their industry. In Mr. Leavitt’s
case, becoming the EPA administrator comes on the heels of his being governor
of Utah so by any standards he has been a success.
Since I was seated two chairs away from him, I was able to watch him throughout
the 30-minute meeting. He was immaculately dressed, hair combed neatly, and
seemed totally at ease. For the first 20 minutes he was relaxed but intently listening
to everything being said. Then he started to get restless as my compatriots began to
repeat themselves and stray from the subject at hand. Just as he started fidgeting
with his glasses, he ended the meeting. I could tell he had had enough, the subtle
clues he gave out were definite and unmistakable for those who were watching.
When I first started to learn to sell printing, my dad always used to tell me that
there was a moment to go for in a sale when you could either grab it and leave, or talk
yourself out of it. Most people do not know when to stop a conversation because it is
to their advantage to be finished.They think it is impolite to be done, don’t know how
to do it graciously, and eventually just abruptly cut someone off.
For my 40th birthday party, I asked my wife to tell our guests when to come and
when to leave. “It takes the pressure off of them,” I said. Besides, I knew I would get
tired and would want to go to sleep. It became a standing joke with our friends;they
are always asking me what time they are supposed to leave and would start laughing
when I would tell them they had to go.
I have trained two of my children to gauge my mood before they need
something. The third, my oldest has the “feel” and does it naturally.“Watch the clues,”
I would tell them. If I am tired and grouchy, the odds of your success at asking me for
something are low, and then you can’t ask me again. Pick your times, use your brains,
and maximize your chances for success.
It is a valuable lesson we all need to learn and relearn again as time goes by. You
can’t think about yourself and what is best for you. You are trying to get something
from someone else, so it is the other person’s feelings that is your prime consideration.
In fact, in any interpersonal situation your chances for success for anything are
astronomically higher if you are helping to fill the others person’s needs before your
own. It is like when I was dating. I would ask out a girl to a place or activity that she
wanted, on the best day and time for her to maximize my chances of success.
Timing is everything and the portal for success is always fleeting. You have to be
watching, whomever you are dealing with, to see the exact moment when they have
either been sufficiently convinced to agree, are too tired to fight back, or when it is a
totally lost cause and is no longer worth your effort. It takes a lot of work and training
to see the signals, and when you do, they are not always correct but your odds of
success will greatly increase if you know when to go for the close.
Your definition of success and mine may be different, but the timing for you to
go for what you want is universally based on the actions of the other person.
Chapter 
Every encounter is a selling situation whether you realize it or not. The
marketplace mis-defined: I don’t care what you want; I want what I desire, and then
maybe I will let you have something also. Do not confuse that what may be in your best
interest is also right for me. See the reality of your situation and then define your plan
from there. You First + Me Second = No Sale.
How Not To Sell Iraq - April 2004
I love to sell. The challenge of going into new markets and making situations
better by my company being involved. But how do you know if you have a good
chance for success?
• If I can’t improve a relationship, then I have no business in getting involved.
• All long-term business dealings have to be based on honesty and trust, or they
will break down.
• If I cannot define what my customer needs, then there is no way I will be able
to satisfy their requirements.
• My success rate is directly related to my willingness to utilize all of my assets at
the highest levels possible.
• I will generally be beaten if my competition is more dedicated and focused
than I.
• If my efforts do not benefit both sides, then there is no future possible.
I look in the newspapers and realize that the United States has not “sold Iraq.”
In other words, we have not proven to their people that our efforts to “help” them
are not based solely on our own selfish motives. It is clear we are preoccupied with
oil and the threat of terrorism. We have not demonstrated we have a great love or
affection for the Iraqi people. The truth is that both American and Iraqi civilians
believe that if Iraq had no oil, then United States would not be there.
We have not told the truth as to our motivation; therefore, we are doomed to
failure. We have also not looked at the situation from their people’s point of view.
If we had, we would have seen that by substituting our armies for their former
dictator, we would only given them a taste of freedom and democracy, things that
they may or may not ever experience. They want to be free to govern themselves
and want it now.
The Iraqi people don’t trust us, and we don’t trust them. Their willingness to
bomb and kill our people is equal to our willingness do the same to them. Instead
of creating a system of trust and mutual benefit, we are dealing as we see fit and
from our own best interest.
From a selling perspective, we could not have handled the situation there
any worse. We deserve the trouble we are getting because we did not go into this
situation with the total commitment necessary for a high chance of success. The
Iraqis are willing to do anything for their beliefs on a long-term basis. I am not sure
we are willing to do the same. By definition, those with the longer-term commitment
will usually win.
If Iraq had declared that President Bush was a threat to the world and landed
troops on Manhattan with the plan to take over our government, Americans
would rise up, even if our armies were decimated, and begin guerrilla warfare just
like they did during our Revolutionary War. That is what the Iraqis are doing now.
I do not know if we went into Iraq for the right reasons; I am not sure what
those reasons were. However, as long as we were committed, we should have at least
setup a plan where we considered what we would be doing and how we could have
effectively helped the Iraqis to recreate their country and govern themselves based
on what they wanted and not what we decreed. Absolute government, whether by
a dictator or another well-meaning country, creates the same end results, which are
anarchy and revolution.There was never a question that we would be in this position
because we never viewed the situation from the right perspective, only from our
No relationship works if both sides are not honest and willing to agree there are
multiple possibilities for success. The United States has lost its vision that enables us
to become a country in the first place, and unfortunately our blinders will continue to
cause us great trouble, both in Iraq and everywhere else.
Chapter 
The day is good, or the day is bad; the same things can happen. The judgment is
totally up to you.
Joy Is Everywhere - April 8, 2004
It is 1:55AM, New Jersey time; it’s actually 6:55AM in London. I am riding along
Cromwell Road with Tony, my faithful driver for the morning, in England listening to
Irish Celtic music. The sun is shining, the sky is blue on this beautiful, April day. The
daffodils and dogwoods are in bloom in Hyde Park, and we are on our way to a Lucent
Technology Facility in Swindon, roughly 90 minutes away.
I am sitting in the back seat of a Mercedes 320CDI Sedan and watching the
world go by. It is one of those peaceful moments that come unexpectedly, and all is
calm. I got up at 4:00AM to workout, which was not easy since I did not get to sleep
until about 12:00AM last night; that, combined with being up most of the day before
traveling from the US, also meant I would be passing out on this ride sometime
Riding here reminds me of a long time ago when I was a “news” intern at
WCAU-TV in Philadelphia. It was my last semester at the University of Delaware, and
I had landed an internship at this station. My job was in Consumer Affairs, and I was
supposed to screen incoming calls to not only help people with consumer problems,
but to look for newsworthy stories. It was a really fun job, and I had a great time. It
taught me amongst other things, that after you hear enough bad things happening
to people, you start to gain a different perspective about life, which has served me
well through the years.
One day my boss told me to go with a film crew to a spot in Philadelphia to take
some “news footage” for a future broadcast. I was 21 years, old sitting in a TV news
car, cruising through the streets and having people watch me, figuring I was some
big news reporter. I had a great time, and when I got back, my boss shook his head
that I could have such a good time doing something as boring as going out with a
film crew.
I have always tried to look at things that way, to have fun at the things that most
people find boring.To find beauty where most see plain and to see good when others
see nothing. It is not something that comes naturally; you have to look for it. Always
trying to be positive is much more work than being negative. The good stuff is out
there, if you just make the effort to see it.
The people I am going to see today will be part of a world network I am trying
to create. My goal is to have databases setup for the largest companies in the
telecommunications market so that their employees, contract manufacturers, subcontractors, and acquisitions can all have access to the most up to date information
regarding their labels, so everyone knows what label they should be using, and when.
The system would also create their artwork, store it, update it, and in the process,
position us to become their major global supplier for labels.
This is an ambitious project but one that I think is within our grasp. It will mean
more traveling because I am going to resist the idea of having multiple world
distribution locations and stay centered in the U.S. Happily, labels are light and can be
shipped cheaply anywhere in the world. Having multiple locations just adds to the
overhead, and since we stock for free and can most often can ship the same day, our
customers can satisfy their “just in time systems,” utilizing us anywhere in the world.
I love the idea of global business. I really enjoy going to see people and meeting
them personally. Emails, phone, and fax are great, but personal contact is even more
important now because almost no one is out on the road anymore. That is why I
believe we can create these networks with only one central location. Our system
gives our customers the best of all worlds: they get competitive pricing, the most up
to date support, the fastest deliveries, fantastic customer support, and me.
We are heading into the country now. Thank goodness for Tony, or I would have
gotten so lost. I would still be driving around London. My trip for this morning will be
over by 1:00PM, which will technically end my day. I am officially on vacation with my
family until Sunday. Of course, I will be calling into the office; I am rarely out of contact
even on vacation. If I am not plugged in, I feel like I am missing all of the fun.
Right now, I am thirsty. I should have brought my water bottle with me; but
no worries, we can stop in a little while at one of the roadside restaurants. I love
going into stores in other countries and seeing all of the neat stuff for sale. Joy is
everywhere; you just have to look for it.
Chapter 
The ability to manage and manipulate people can be a great asset but can also
be turned inward for massive destruction.
Not Tonight - August 22, 2003
My grandfather was an amazing man. He was born on the “other side” in
Transylvania in the Carpathian Mountains, now part of Poland in the late 1800s. He
came to the United States in the early part of the last century and was so intent on
becoming an American that he learned the language with no hint of an accent. After
a while no one knew he was not born here.
He built his company through the Depression and World War II. He prospered
where so many failed and had an indomitable spirit that fortified him until right
before he died in his 90s. That life force was not all positive, and for a good part of his
life, he had a great problem sleeping and eventually got addicted to sleeping pills.
He was a master at getting his supplies; I even witnessed it once when he was in
his 80s. I had taken him to the doctor, and by the time we left, we had a prescription
for enough pills to last him for months. The doctors; like almost everyone else, was
putty in his hands. That manipulative ability, while his best asset, was also his worst
I never forgot the look of him as he was bending people to his will to ensure he
got what he wanted. He was unstoppable, even when the actions were detrimental
to himself and the people around him.
Seeing the effects of the pills on him (and alcohol on others) I quickly adapted a
policy of utilizing neither, unless it was absolutely necessary. I believe that medication
can be beneficial, and I will not sit with a migraine headache when I can get help from
a pill. I also, however, have always steadfastly not used sleeping pills unless it includes
the effects of traveling. The reason is that I have the same personality and skills as my
grandfather. I too can usually get what I want and do not want to fall into the same
trap he did.
When I got ready to go on my last trip to Malaysia, people told me about not
being able to sleep on the plane, and they urged me to get sleeping pills to be used
only when I had the need. It was simple getting them; no-one thought twice about
giving me everything I needed. There I was on those long flights with the choice of
using the pills or staying up when everyone else was getting the rest they needed to
It reminded me of the terror I used to feel on Sunday nights when I was
growing up, unable to sleep and listening to my mechanical clock sound tick, tick,
tick, seemingly getting louder as the hours passed by. The fright I experienced of
being alone, and knowing how the lack of sleep would effect me, gave me the same
experience that I am sure made my grandfather go for the pills. He was willing to do
to anything to avoid the experience, but thanks to seeing him, I am not.
I understand why he used them; insomnia, in any form, is horrible, anything
was and is better than being up for interminable hours. I have driven off most of
encounters with the problem by massive amounts of exercise and frenetic hours of
work. It has served me well and given me a large measure of the success I craved in
most areas of my life, but the haunting of those sleepless nights awake never leaves
It is now 11:02PM on Friday. I got back from a four-day trip that had a combined
56 hours of traveling, and I think I used three sleeping pills. I am still not back on my
usual schedule; even though I was up at my usual time of 4:00AM and worked out.
I have lots of sleeping pills and am fighting using them. It is okay, my friends and
relatives would say, it is not like I have to use them every night. But I am afraid as to
what the medication could do to me if I got used to using them, so tonight I won’t
and will limit myself to extreme situations only.
I can see how people get addicted; the need for normalcy to sleep in the short
run seems to far outweigh the idea of becoming dependent. But my personality is
obsessive-compulsive, and I know myself well enough that the potential, although
slight could be there. I also know the fear of the night and lack of sleep pales next to
the problems that could occur if I give in to the short term; therefore, I may be up for
a long time tonight.
Rule Two
You can never get what you want from people until you define what they need
and until you satisfy at least partly their desires first. Their requirements come before
your own, and only then do you have a chance to get what you want based on your
abilities, perseverance, intelligence, and understanding.
You think your job ends when you deliver the order? Hah! Supporting your
customers (people you like and care for), never ends and has no bounds. People
count on you for help, and it is your job to take care of their needs.
A question from one of my customers in Malaysia: I would appreciate your help
on how to measure the quantity of ping pong balls inside a hexagonal tube. Say, size
of ping pong ball is X cm2. A picture was also emailed.
Part of my job in sales, and in being a friend, is trying to help people in any area
they have a need. This is an actual email from one of my customers and to say I have
absolutely no experience in dealing with questions like these is an understatement.
I spent much of my college career staying away from math and science. But I also
pride myself and my company on being able to satisfy the needs of our customers.
To do that we have created an extremely strong database of information covering a
wide variety of subjects. In this case our computer database “wizard” consultant was
the man I thought could help with the puzzle. Here is his answer:
From materials engineering theory, hexagonally closest packed atoms (or, in
this case, ping pong balls) can yield a maximum packing efficiency of 74%. The total
hexagonal volume is (3/2)*sqrt(3)*40^2*80 = 332,553 cm^3. Now, if the volume of
a ping pong ball is x cm^3, then the total number of balls per volume would be
(332,553) * (0.74) / (x). So, if for example, the radius of a ping pong ball is 2 cm, then its
volume is (4/3)*pi*2^3 = 33.5 cm^3, and the number of balls would then be (332,553)
* (0.74) / (33.5) = 7,343.
I have no idea how he got the answer even when looking at the solution but that
doesn’t matter. Our customer had a need, and we filled it.That is customer service and
us doing our job.
Chapter 
If you treat people like people, then you will not only go a lot further in life, but
have a much better time on the voyage.
Don’t Short Change Them
I just finished a sales call at Flextronics Corporation in Cork, Ireland. I had never
met the buyers before, and this combined family/business trip was the perfect
opportunity to go see them.We had left New Jersey last night at 9:00PM and after we
arrived in London this morning, I dropped off my family and went off to Ireland.
This is a beautiful country, very green with many old picturesque buildings
that seem to scream out an ancient history of a very different time. Since I try never
to drive in another country, I was being driven today by a nice man named Paul,
who was born and raised locally and also acted as my tour guide. He was very good
about my changing clothes in the back of his car, so I was ready when we arrived at
my customer.
Once there, I was telling them about our philosophy of business, which was to
stock enough material of everything our customers have previously ordered so they
could almost always have product the next day if needed.We wanted to be sure that
our customers would be taken care of, and that their assembly lines would not go
They mentioned how unusual this was for us to risk so much money on longterm inventory that might never be used, especially these days when no one else did
it. I replied that it had been working well, and our customers loved it. Our goal was to
be there, especially when the rush jobs happen or when problems pop up.
I gave them copies of my new book and told them it was about my adventures
in sales all over the world and about the great people I had met. The first thing they
wanted to know (after how I had the time to write it, and why I gave them away), was
that if they would be in the next one. I explained that most people I visit on my trips
usually end up in my writing, which is good because they often like to read about
themselves. Everyone is always interested in things that involve them personally
and by writing about the people I meet, I not only have a great source of material,
but a reason to always come to see them. As a printer and small business owner not
everyone might be anxious to see me, even if I was coming from another country. But
as an author who writes about them, and then gives them an autographed copy that
they can show their friends, then most people want to see me both for business and
find out what is happening with my literary career.
Selling is not just supplying a product at the right place and on time. People
need to know that they mean more than simply another purchase order. The best
people in sales are the ones who have a passion for not only their product lines and
their jobs, but their lives as a whole.
We are all one person; every part spills into every other. If you have a passion
that can be transferred to others through your career, then you have an obligation to
share it. People don’t survive on work alone; they are not totally fulfilled. Our overall
lives should encompass that zeal, and pass it on to everyone else.
People like to know they are important as people, not just as buyers or customers.
If you care about them personally, then they will do the same towards you, so the
business relationship transcends to a much deeper level. That involvement can only
help, not just in more business but also in making your contacts together more
joyous, pleasant, and productive. When I write I tell about everything, good and bad,
especially when it involves me. If I mess up, cause problems, make mistakes, or things
don’t work out, I admit it and try to figure out how I can avoid it in the future. It is my
hope that by reading about what happens to me that others can avoid some of the
mistakes I have made. If you are not honest with others, then they will not be honest
with you. Don’t hold back; you have a lot to give, and it is only then when you are truly
giving a part of yourself that people will do the same in return.
Chapter 
Putting yourself out for others is a good thing; being taken advantage of it is not.
When someone says they didn’t mean to say something, it usually means they did not
want you to hear the truth. It is easy to be mean; a put down takes no deep though; but
the moment of glory is fleeting.The scars that are left create a thirst for revenge that is
rarely satisfied, even when it has been repaid.
The Flies Are For Next Saturday - April 2004
Last night was supposed to be one of the more fun nights of my life. My new
play All Bullies Must Die was to have a “reading.” A “reading” is where a group of
actors talk through a script to see how it sounds with no sets or a formal audience.
I have been eagerly waiting for this for weeks, although I did get some preliminary
negative feedback where I was told the play was a “work in progress and would
need some rewriting. “No problem,” I thought, if I just get some positive direction, I
could do whatever was needed.
Unfortunately, in the back of my mind, I was also prepared for a truly negative
experience where I would be attacked and be told that I had no talent and that my
play was worth nothing. It is always good to have a “worst case scenario” in mind to
be ready.
But, I reasoned, if that were the case then why would they bother to have a formal
reading? Why would anyone go through all the work of going through rehearsal
and getting everyone together just to have the author (me) ripped apart in front of
everyone including my friends?
I was there last night during the first act. It was thrilling to hear my words come
to life. My brother, best friend, and Alice from the office were there; my wife was sick
and could not come. At intermission, both my brother and best friend had to leave,
and I sat back to hear the rest. But I got the first hint that something was very wrong
when people started laughing in the wrong places. When the reading was done,
my mentor asked for comments; the actors opened the flood gates. For the next 30
minutes, I experienced an incredibly cruel slew of hateful, negative, condescending,
and nasty remarks, as if I was not even in the room. Perhaps it was so bad and so
long because I was actually sitting there, or this group of sadists was trying to get a
reaction out of me, like my writhing in pain or exploding in anger.
It is not as though I can’t take tough criticism. Next to my dad preparing me to
take over the family business, these people were amateurs. When my dad was first
training me for the business, we would got to a local restaurant; he would sometimes
have a drink and then start in on me about everything I did wrong. It did not matter
if there were other people in the restaurant, he said what he wanted, and no one was
going to stop him. It was during those few years where I developed an outer skin
thicker than steel. I also knew that the preparation I was getting would help make
me successful, and I did not care how the information came to me, although it did
hurt. Besides that; my dad had a big difference from those people last night. He was
successful and made a good living from the area where he was teaching. The people
last night did not. They were actor wannabees who could not make it as full time
Eventually my dad did leave me alone, and that part of my life ended until last
night. I had a feeling it was coming; everyone told to stay open to ideas and leave
my ego at the door. I did my part as I did not say a word to anyone, I just listened as
everyone in the audience took turns trying to open new wounds on my soul. They
seemed to get great delight in saying my play had no plot, no themes, no merit. It
was based on an impossible scenario and was worthless. Not to be outdone, each
successive person found more and more to complain about, and I sat there and
listened to it all.
Going into this exercise, I was prepared to fight back (thank goodness my
wife wasn’t there to witness this), but while it was happening, I was in wonder at
the level of absolute cruelty these people exhibited. It was like being at the center
of a mob who would not be satisfied until my body was destroyed, and I would
never be able to reproduce or write again.
Once it was finally over I got up, left, and realized the following:
1. I should never have gotten involved with local theatre. People who were
not good enough to make their living at acting should never be judging
my work.
2. If I were really serious, I should hire a pro with credentials and refine my
writing so I am as good as I can be.
3. I pulled my play from them, so they will never get a shot at me again.
4. The substantial amount of money I was planning to raise for their theatre
group is now a distant memory; they have screwed themselves.
5. I don’t like writing plays and am going back to writing my articles, logs,
and novel where it is fun, so therefore Number 2 of this list is now
I am glad I did this; if nothing else, just to see I can still take the combined
negativity of a whole room of people whose idea of a fun Saturday night is trying to
destroy someone. It is good to test how strong I am, and I came through it fine. I tried
to do something new, write a play; I am proud of the work, so there is no loss there.
I will never see most of these people again, which is unfortunate for them
because they won’t have another fun Saturday night at my expense. I do feel badly,
however, because there are probably some unsuspecting flies whose wings they
will rip off to take my place.
Short-term laughs, especially at the someone else’s expense, seldom pay off in
the end. Long-term goals sought out with clear thought and purpose is the surest
way for success. But you have to keep trying new things to see where your talents
rest. Playwriting may still be in my future. In the meantime, it is good to know I can
still take a punch, and bad for others because I can also still throw them.
Chapter 
Do not make the mistake of thinking that what I desire is not important.
Do What I Asked You-Now! - February 16, 2004
I had to yell at one of my employees the other day. It was the Monday after I had
gotten back from my latest business trip to Asia, the Thursday night before. I made an
extreme effort and was able to get into the office on Friday. I worked my normal day
before collapsing over the weekend. Whenever I go on a business trip, it is clear now
that some of my employees think I am going on vacation, having a great time, and
squeezing in a minute or two to see a customer whenever I felt like it. I have tried to
explain to them, about the 18-hour days, bad stomach, numerous airplane rides, and
loneliness on the road but no avail.
Therefore, when I get back there it is usually at least one person who is going to
have a slight attitude of how hard they were working while I was out having a “good
time.” Please keep something in mind; I do love to see our customers all over the
world. I meet a lot of wonderful people who are extremely nice, and it is a joy to go
see them. However it is the “getting” there that is the tough part, and is the segment
of the trips that most people never think about.
I try to be very sensitive to the culture of my office, and whenever I feel there
is something amiss, I try to deal with it immediately. During my trip, I had lost the
backup device for my laptop. Backups are obviously extremely important, especially
if my laptop gets stolen or damaged. It also means I can use the device to transfer files
between the office and my home, so I don’t have to lug the whole case with me.
I had asked one of my guys two times on that Friday to buy me a new one, and
he said he would. But I knew he was not taking it seriously, and I was pretty sure
that on Monday morning when I asked him, he would say he didn’t do it. In fact by
the time Monday morning came, I was so angry about being ignored, even though
I wasn’t even sure he forgot it, that I was already in a bad mood. Sure enough, he did
forget, and I blew up at him.
He looked hurt at the fact that I was yelling at him for something so small, but it
wasn’t little to me. Besides what he was really saying was that what I needed wasn’t as
important as what he was doing. He was deciding that my needs were not a big deal,
even though I paid his salary and decided whether he still had a job or not.
When I was first starting out my dad told me that the most important job for
a customer was the order for invitations for the CEO’s wife. An order for something
personal, although often very small, unprofitable, and a pain the neck was the most
important job at the moment because the CEO’s wife was involved. If she wasn’t
happy, then the he would not be happy. My buyer would not be happy, and he would
make sure that I was not happy. If the personal order turned out well, then the path
was free to an ever-deepening relationship between the buyer and me, and it would
be more business.
My dad was right; asking for something personal and being ignored is a slap in
the face, and one that is never forgotten. No excuses are acceptable; like when my
employee said he was too busy and had another excuse why he could not do as I
told him. I reminded him strongly that ignoring my wishes was not the best avenue
for career advancement.
It is a very hard thing to prioritize, especially in business. People are telling you
to do things all of the time, even when you are the boss, and you have to pick and
choose what gets done. But there are certain priorities that must be addressed, if you
want to have peace and a chance to attain your goals. Like it or not, there are people
in this world with power over you, and you have to take care of their needs first, if
you expect them to help you. That actually goes for all relationships. If they are going
to be productive, long lasting, and beneficial to both parties, you have to think from
their side of the fence; fulfill – or at least attempt to take care of – their needs. Only
then can you expect to get the chance to get what you want. By no means does it
mean you will always get what you think you deserve, fear, wish, or hope for, just the
chance based on your abilities, intelligence, drive, and determination.
I feel confident my employee will not make the same mistake again. I do wonder
if he will do it just so he won’t get disciplined or actually understands the concept. As
time goes on and our “conversation” retreats into his memory, I will bring it up again
and remind him of the lesson that I learned thirty 30 ago. Hopefully, he won’t have to
relearn too often that if someone asks you do something, and you agree to do it, then
you should make sure it gets done, especially if it is a customer or boss.
Chapter 
It is a tough lesson to learn that, even with all of your effort, there are some things
you cannot change. Mortality is universal.
Life After New Jersey? - February 2, 2004
I thought my dad was dying the other day. He has survived prostate cancer and
a heart attack. A few weeks ago, he was diagnosed with bladder cancer, something
the doctors said was treatable and would probably not kill him; he is 79 years old. He
had the procedure done to take care of the problem, but a complication ensued. I
was there with my Mom in the waiting room of the doctor’s office waiting to see if my
dad would have to go back to the hospital.
I had seen him a few minutes before; his face was pale, and the life seemed to be
leaving him. It was a hard moment for me and a worse one for him. My mom was in
obvious distress, and I found it hard to face the reality that he might soon be gone.
It’s hard to believe your parents are mortal. They have always been there in all of
your situations and been if you do not live near them they were still always there. It’s
like what happens to people after they have lived through an earthquake. Once the
ground is no longer solid, the basis for all comfort seems shaken.
When I was a small child, I vividly remember being scared about having to
go into the army, lying awake in terror at having to leave home. I never wanted to
go away for summer camp, school, or even sleep overs for one night at my friends’
houses. There would always be that point in the evening when I knew I would not be
able to go home to my own bed. The usual uneasiness would begin, and I knew that
sleep would be a long time coming.
I’m the guy who used to say there was never a reason to leave New Jersey, unless,
of course, to vacation in Massachusetts. I loved where I lived, the place I worked
and the people around me. It was safe, secure, and happy. At least it was until the
world started changing. As the manufacturing base in the U.S. and in New Jersey in
particular, began to shrink rapidly; my company had two choices. I could try to stay
local and do the best I could with the lessening opportunities or branch out, going to
where the business was flowing.
That meant I would have to travel past the borders of New Jersey and even
Massachusetts, way past. In fact I am writing this from my hotel room in Hong Kong.
I am here because the ground moved; that is, the business climate changed.
What was solid became fluid, and the only way to firm things up was to change
the landscape. Our customers are now are all over the world. After I finish in Asia, I
will go back to the US, then Canada, Ireland, the U.S. again, and maybe end up the
“spring sales cycle” with a trip back to Asia, Europe, and South America. I never know
where I am going because I am following a structure of which I am not the builder.
The only control I do have is that I can mold my future, if I choose to put out the
effort and go where the business is being generated. Happily, many of the customers
are the suppliers of customers based in the U.S. and they like having a vendor (i.e.
my company) that is close to their sources of business. We are the edge they have
because we can often get information they can’t, in tight time frames, and are willing
to share it. We have created a niche that makes it worthwhile for people around the
world to deal with us.
We have found a way to remold part of the landscape by our willingness to be
everything to our customers, including making the effort to see them face-to-face
around the world. Our commitment is total, because it is the best way to ensure that
our sales will remain a constant.
As to the health of people, my parents in particular, this part of the landscape I
have no control over. The best we can all hope for is to live longer than our parents
and less than our kids. I do not want my parents to die, nor do I want to see them
suffer. They are not permanent, and neither am I; a lesson that I am just learning,
which is that I can only change what is possible, not what is inevitable.
Rule Three
The most important thing to people besides their family, is their job, and the
second most important thing is a better job.
Chapter 
By United States standards, work defines who we are, defines our position in
society and gauges our ability to promote and ensure change. It’s also no small
wonder why we judge each other’s and our own worth by the work we do and the good
we create.
What Now? - May 2, 2004
I went in search of Steve Lang’s house yesterday. He used to live behind me
when I was growing up. In fact, he was born a few hours after me; my birthday is
February 16, and his is February 17. We were best friends until he moved to another
part of town when he was about 12 years old. He was a Presbyterian and I a Jew. I
remember going to his church once on a Sunday, they were very nice people.
From the time we were little kids Steve and I took different roads. He was
always very much into music; I played classical clarinet for nine years, but it was
never the focal point of my life like it was for him. As we grew older, we were not
best friends anymore but still friendly. I used to be over at his new house enough
where I knew his neighbors. In fact as I road over there yesterday on my bicycle, the
memories came flooding back about the other people on his block. Laurie lived
down the street from him; I first me her in third grade and we are still friendly today,
some 40 years later. She married another friend of mine. It is a great thing to have
continuity over that big a span of time.
Further down the block lived Kim, whose middle name is Stacy. Funny, the things
you remember. Down the other side of the block lived Andy (a future attorney), Lisa
(gorgeous), and Willie (I have no idea what happened to him) - all people I went to
school with and have not seen in many years.
As for Steve, it was at his house where I first learned how to ride a bicycle on a
hot, summer night roughly 38 years ago. So it is him I have to thank for my ability to
ride today. His father, Art, was a very tough man, and I was afraid of him for most of
my life. I remember they went away one summer for a few weeks. While I was cutting
their lawn something happened, and the grass died. I was afraid I would get blamed
for it, but I didn’t.
Steve and I were once into pyromania. We would go up to the vacant lot at the
top of the block and build small fires. I remember once burning my finger from a
match. Soon our parents found out what we were doing. My father just gave me a
warning; Steve’s father spanked him in front of me. I don’t know which was worse for
him, the beating or having it happen in front of me. I don’t think either of us started
a fire in that lot again.
I was introduced to many things throughout my friendship with Steve, such as
how to shoot a bow and arrow, music camp and even the person who was my first
girlfriend. She and I dated off and on through high school.
Steve’s older brother, Carl, married young, moved to the West Coast, and is
already a grandfather; I spoke to him through email a few weeks ago. Steve followed
his dreams of music and is now a successful songwriter living in Los Angeles. I am
sure you have heard his music through television and other places.
We shared a lot of first in our lives. I was with him when I was late for the first
time to school; we were in kindergarten. We got sent to the principal’s office, who
scared me to such an extent that it created a lifelong addiction to being on time. My
obsessive compulsiveness with doing everything right so I would not be in trouble.
It was at Steve’s house where I first started participating in sleepovers but I never
got used to being away from my own bed at night. I would start getting upset as it
began getting dark. I can still remember the feeling of not wanting to be anywhere
else except home.
It was also Steve who shared his sandwiches with me when we were out
wandering in the woods one day when we were young kids, and I did not have
enough food with me.
Why am I thinking so much about the past lately? Perhaps it is because I am
approaching 50 years old in the next few years and I am starting to recheck my
choices for what I have done and where I have been. I am starting to feel the borders
of time slightly closing in on me. Will I accomplish everything, I wanted; have I set my
goals high enough? Were they meaningful in the first place? Have I spent my life in
the quest for things that are worthwhile? Have I done my best? Have I wasted time?
Is what I wanted important?
Nothing is too late for change: everything is within my power to accomplish,
except in being President of the United States; my wife has said no to that. So the
world is still before me as it was when I was younger except now I have a lot more
resources to do as I wish. I count my blessing constantly, so thankful for all I have and
the people around me. In retrospect, I have no regrets for the paths I have chosen,
perhaps this yearning to see the past is another guidepost in my life to stop, recheck
where I am going, and make sure it is where I want to be. I have the feelings some new
challenges are in order; it should be interesting to see where they take me.
My work is more than just a job. It is who I am, my purpose for existence, and a
conduit for my energies. I can achieve anything as long as I produce, excel, and have
the chance to do better for others.
Chapter 
You won’t keep your job if the marketplace is gone. You can still find a better job
even if all production is moving to other parts of the world. Economic survival and the
chance to keep good jobs in the United States is directly related to the philosophy of
how we make our products.
Selling And Prospering In The 21st Century - November 2003
It has been a heck of a few years in the United States since the beginning
of the new millennium. Industry has decreased across the board, and the future
for manufacturing in our country, in its current format, is not pretty. Our current
mode of business with high per hour employee wages; especially compared
to those countries like Malaysia and Taiwan, has us at a decided disadvantage.
This does not even take into account the even lower wages in China, the former
countries of the Soviet Union, and let’s not even get into Africa. How are we
supposed to compete here let alone in the rest of the world?
In actuality the solution is simple, just not easy. There are basic components
to manufacture, distribute and market that do not change. Lowest price does not
always get the order, but in today’s business atmosphere the trend is towards a
constant lowering of prices. Those who refuse to follow the revised formula are
doomed to either a continuing reduced share of the marketplace or eventual
Therefore, how can we, with our higher priced labor, hope to cope in the
world marketplace or even against foreign products in our own country? The
answer is through increased efficiency and productivity. It is only then we can
compete, but it will have its cost. In order to produce more goods at a lower
cost, we need to set up systems that will use the least amount of labor, energy,
and raw materials to create the maximum amount of finished products.
The way to accomplish this is to attack the problem from the reverse side.
After all, what is the by-product of inefficient systems? The answer is pollution
in the form of garbage, toxic waste, polluted water, etc. By reducing these
waste streams, we will have increased our efficiency in our processes. The way
to reduce pollution or waste is simple; just become more efficient. While it is
simple, it can also be very expensive especially for manufacturers who have
been operating for years and are not utilizing state-of-the-art equipment. I
never said the transition to efficiency would either be easy or cheap.
The advantages of operating from the green point of view are:
1. If you produce less pollution, you don’t have to get rid of it and you’ll
save money.
2. Less pollution means a healthier workplace.
3. A healthier work place means your people get sick less.
4. A more efficient workplace is also safer, which means your people get
sick and hurt less.
5. If your people are healthier and happier, you will have less insurance
claims, lower premiums, and will probably get sued less.
If your people are in better shape in all areas, they will be more efficient
and productive.
A system based on higher efficiency will produce the same products in
less time and with less raw materials, thereby increasing profits.
Producing less pollution means the potential for less permits, less
paperwork, and less money spent on lawyers and lawsuits.
All these combined together will create a facility that produces more goods
with less problems, a workforce with higher productivity plus a higher profit
margins. If you are running cleanly, your chances of government intervention is
reduced. Helping the environment will benefit everyone, including generations
to come.
Our only chance for survival and growth for the future is replacing our
mindset that garbage is a necessary evil and by-product of production. Pollution
is a symbol of economic and environmental recklessness that we can neither
afford nor allow to continue. But this doesn’t need governmental regulation,
the marketplace will do the same thing. Only those companies who embrace
environmentalism as not just a good idea, but the only way towards economic
survival. The last few years have been tough, but they are nothing compared to
what will happen to the bulk of companies when they face the few who have
embraced these concepts. Huge chunks of marketshare will change hands for
those who can produce more goods with less raw materials, more quickly with
higher quality levels. This is not just the best way to compete in the U.S. but in
countries all over the world.
Chapter 
Life changes happen whether you like it or not. If you are smart, then you will
attempt to see what is coming and then turn it to your advantage. Otherwise, life is just
happening to you.
Cleveland For a Change - August 2004
My eldest son, Ben, left last Sunday with my wife, Wendy, bound for Case
Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. They arrived on schedule, and
my son Ben was moved into his dorm room within the next hour. I was due to
arrive the next Tuesday evening - tonight to help him move into his dorm room
and see him off. Since he was already moved in on Sunday, I questioned my
purpose for going at all especially if I’m missing work, having to put the dog in
the kennel, etc. But when I spoke to my wife, she felt it important that I still come
so my plans remained unchanged.
It wasn’t until later that I realized why I was really going. My wife said some
thing very interesting last night on the telephone. She said she loved college
and she wanted a do-over. She wanted to go back to her college days and do
things differently. Now, she might have thought she was just day dreaming to
me, but I got a real sense of urgency. Since the last of our three children will be
out of the house within the next five years, it soon became apparent to me that
our family was in for some major, imminent change.
It had been undefined for me, over the last few months, I have not had
some of my usual zest to go for the kill in business, and being calm is not a
normal state of mind for me. My best friend, Uncle Dave, told me I needed a new
goal. After a lot of thought, I decided that he was right. But I needed more than
just a goal, something more to take up the life change that had begun around
me. Our kids were getting older, did not need us as much, and very soon would
all be gone. I could once again become more concerned with myself and what I
wanted to do. The same thing is going on with my wife, but luckily for me I can
usually self-direct very quickly and have already put myself on an additional
course that should last for the next few years.
But my wife, however, is a different story. She has been taking care of our
kids, and doing a great job for the past 19 years, and so her “job” is winding
down. For her it is not just a new goal but an entirely new direction. I can see the
conflict welling up inside her. I think she is not feeling as needed and is looking
for something that will give her a sense of fulfillment and accomplishment that
can outlast the leaving of our kids and the coming of the years.
When she mentioned going back to college last night, I said it was okay
with me and I hope she does. I think that the structures of having to study, be
tested, and learning a new area are all great things, and it would help to guide
her to a new place. Of course, I do not plan for her to actually go to school in
Cleveland when our other two kids and I are living in New Jersey, so hopefully
she will be happy with a local school. But what if she decided to leave for a while
and be off on her own? How would I handle that? How would she? How would
our marriage and our family continue, as this is a true time of transition and lots
of things are happening. We celebrate our 20th anniversary in January and have
a great relationship. I trust no one in the world more than her and there is no
one more supportive of my various endeavors as I am for hers.
Since I always plan for contingencies, my mind naturally ponders as to how
I would handle things if she were off doing something else. Our other two kids
are 13 and 15 years old and are reasonably self-sufficient, except of course, for
the innumerable amount of car pooling needed to get them everywhere. Aside
from that, there is the giant amount of work of running the house and keeping
things on the homefront moving at an efficient pace. If she weren’t there and I
worked every second of every day, I could probably keep up to a decent degree,
but it sure doesn’t sound like much fun. It would be horribly lonely to have the
person I love away for an extended amount of time.
Could we do it? Yes. Would I like it? No. Would I stop her? Not if she really
wanted it.
But it is like the old question of people who move into a new neighborhood
and they ask if the people are nice. Ask them first if the people were nice where
they came from. If life was good there, then it will probably be good wherever
they go. In other words, you can change the location but the situation stays
the same. The situations we find ourselves in, both good and bad, will often
be the same no matter where we are. Hopefully my wife will come to the same
conclusion, and if she decides to go back to school, she will do it locally.
As for me, this transition that has started has spurred me on in a few areas,
and I am once again invigorated with large amounts of energy and excitement.
Having less responsibilities at home means I can devote more time to going
after my goals, making a good difference in the world, and becoming more
successful. Since my eldest son gets to go to college, my wife and I also will have
the opportunities to do more.
My best friend tells me that nothing great happens until you verbalize the
possibility and go after it with your heart. My mouth is open, and goals are
coming out, my head is on straight, and I am in attack mode.
I arrived in Cleveland on Tuesday night. While riding the escalator down to
the main terminal, I called Wendy and we spoke about having dinner with our
two friends whose son was also going to the same college. As I hung up the
phone the man in front of me turned and said he lived locally and recommended
an Italian restaurant located in downtown Cleveland. I thanked him and we got
to talking. His name was Weasel Strychnine; and no, I did not make up the name.
I found out later he did but it was on his business cards so who am I to second
guess such a big decision as a name change? Weasle was a “roadie” for one of
the top country singers and spent most of his life on the road driving trucks of
equipment to various concerts. Over the years, he had worked for most of the
great performers, but I could tell by the wearied look in his eyes that he was
ready for a change.
Sure enough, he spoke about his dream to open a bar in Cleveland; he
had already designed the interior to reflect his life on the road. Weasle had a
dream, and I could tell he was about ready to settle down and go for it. As an
exceptionally pleasant man in his 40s, I have little doubt that his change life
would soon be coming. As we parted company, I wished him well in his new
venture. He had made his decision and was moving on; a lot of that seems to
be in air lately.
My wife and our friends were waiting for me at the hotel. Over the next
day and half, we toured the campus, meeting my son’s roommate. Everything
seemed fine. We said goodbye to Ben yesterday afternoon; he seemed happy
both for the fact that we came and that we were leaving. He was ready to be
on his own, and I was ready for him to be there. I think the real reason I came
was for my wife. This was very big moment for her, not only that our eldest son
was leaving home, but the first marker in the sand for her of an impending life
change. I was there for her more than our son, and I was perfectly happy for
every reason to have come.
We are now on the flight back home. By Sunday, our new family of four
will be starting to feel each other out and be working as a team. Things will be
different, and for my middle son, he will now be top dog. I hope he not only
enjoys the advantage but grows into the position with increased maturity and
the ability to handle responsibility. I am hoping for a lot of fun and growing on
all sides. In three more years, we will be doing this again. Another few years
later, my daughter, Kayla, will be the last one home. She is counting on a great
life before she too goes onto her next stage.
It is a wonderful time of life: full of anticipation and wonderment at what
can happen. In many cases, the journey is more fun than the destination, and I
hope to be traveling for many years to come.
Rule Four
The best way to deal with people is with the least amount of emotion as possible.
It is necessary to be able to see clearly and work for the best interest of all sides. If a
relationship is one-sided, it cannot last. To create long term relationships in any area,
there must be a win/win for all involved.
Chapter 
If something is bugging you, then deal with it head on. If it involves other people
and can’t be done immediately, then make a plan. Deal with their stuff first so you can
then get what you want. If you don’t cover all avenues of a potential problem, it will
come back to haunt you later. It’s better to solve everything at first so it doesn’t blow up
in the future.
The New Floors Are Worth It - July 2004
I crave structure. Knowing what is coming in my daily routine is a definite that I
cherish. I know that on a normal week I will be scheduled so that almost every minute
is accounted for and being used for the utmost efficiency and hopefully enjoyment.
Whether I am home or in my office I know where everything is, how things should
work, and the best way I can utilize my energy. Since time is the ultimate nonreplenishable asset I strongly value, I tend to get extremely upset when it is wasted.
Over the last few years, the wood floors in our house have been showing age.
The stain has been wearing thin in some areas, and I don’t like the “stressed” look. I
don’t like a worn look in fashion, furniture, and especially floors, so I have been trying
to convince my family that over time we should have them redone. My children said
they liked the old look, it reminded them of home, so they were of no help in my
quest. My wife continually cautioned about the dust and mess that would be created,
plus the inconvenience of moving and storing the furniture. She did not want the
disruption to our daily routine.
It got to the point, however, where I could not stand it anymore. I waited until
last week to put my plan into effect. Two out of my three children were away at
camp, and I sent my wife and dog to our second home in the Berkshire Mountains of
Massachusetts. It was time to finally have the floors done.My wife would have nothing
to do with it, so I made the arrangements myself. I normally never touch anything
inside the house; that is my wife’s area. I am in charge of the outside of the house and
the yard. In my case, due to my extreme incompetency regarding anything “handy,” I
simply call in the professionals and go to the office where I can actually make money
instead of breaking bathrooms or ruining lawns - both of which I have done.
I brought in a company that was well-recommended, and they started their
work last Wednesday. After they had been working for a few days, I was scheduled to
go on sales calls in the Boston area and left my eldest son, Ben, in charge to keep an
eye on what was happening.
It is now Sunday night,and the last coat of polyurethane is to be put on tomorrow
morning. It has to dry; then, the workmen will move the furniture back on Wednesday
morning so that when my wife and dog arrive that afternoon, it will be done. So far,
the floors are beautiful and everything is working according to plan, except I am
going nuts because nothing is in its place. There is furniture piled everywhere, and
I am writing this on our porch because of the fumes, which means I will be sleeping
out here tonight.
I had planned to be writing part of this afternoon, but completion of my normal
tasks has been woefully slowed down because of the inefficiencies of the workplace,
such that I have to climb over things and I can’t use certain appliances because
there is furniture in front of them. This has proven to be a great reminder as to why
efficiency depends so much on the consistency of one’s surroundings and a good
initial layout for maximum conversion of effort to output. If you don’t have a good
blue-print for your appliances, furniture and other stuff, then there is no way you can
be efficient enough to get everything done.
For me, this is temporary because by Wednesday night everything should be
done, and my life will be back to normal. We will hopefully have gorgeous floors that I
can now gaze on with happiness.There must be no more wasting energy, wishing the
job hadn’t been done. I always try to look at changes in life, especially those temporary
ones, as opportunities to view what is reality and how it can be improved, since my
perspective has been temporarily altered. Often I find that I crave the way I originally
had it. Because it was built with my ideal structure or I would have altered it before.
It makes me thankful for what I have, which is another good reason to occasionally
shake things up.
Tonight, it is raining. My porch is going to be a wonderful place to rest. I have my
sleeping bag ready; all my stuff is in order; and it should be fun sleeping to the sounds
of the raindrops on the roof and the backyard woods. I have been meaning to spend
the night out here this porch since was built two years ago, and now I will finally
get my chance. If it is as good as I hope, I may make it a regular part of my summer
activities, reason enough to try it tonight aside from the fume problem in the house.
Being efficient is not boring, dull, or non-impulsive; it allows all of us to do what is
needed, plus have time for the extra things we might not normally accomplish. If
something is bothering you (like worn floors). Then the energy spent being annoyed
over time measures to a lot more than sleeping a few nights out in the fresh summer
air. Sometimes the best way to increase your efficiency is to become a little less
efficient first.
Chapter 
Any relationship, even one as personal as father and son, has its structure. His
needs come first, then mine, then back to his, and then the give and take hopefully
goes on and on. Just because you start out as the dominant partner in the relationship
does not mean it won’t equal out to the benefit of both sides just as long as the one
perceived as the more powerful is able to step back and is willing to become equal. It is
only then that the relationship can continue to grow for the betterment of both sides.
Eventually and hopefully, the pendulum will swing the other way, and the way you
handle yourself on this side will denote the way you will be handled on the other.
The Best I Could Do - June 12, 2004
My eldest son, Ben, graduated from Hebrew High School last night. He also
goes to public school; Hebrew High is part of our synagogue (we are Jewish), it
is for the kids who voluntarily decide to continue with their religious education
past the mandatory age of 13. As you can guess from the voluntary part only
a small percentage continue all the way until they are seniors in high school,
and my son was one of 13 who graduated last night. These kids all committed a
great deal of their small amounts of spare time over the past few years to learn
more about their religion, spirituality, and helping others. In a world of people
looking for quick and painless solutions, they are unique in their commitment
to each other and the rest of the world.
Their time had come to “move on,” so it was with both incredible joy and
sadness that we all attended a special service conducted by the synagogue. For
me Friday nights are usually a time when I collapse after a week of a lot of work,
exercise, andfamily activities. Going out is not something I look forward to, but
when my children are involved my tiredness recedes into the background and
I focus on them.
Ben is an unusual young man as he has spent the last few years holding
three part-time jobs, playing various sports, being in numerous musical groups
(he plays guitar), and is highly involved in our Temple. He has also had the
same nice girlfriend for almost three years and has also been getting straight
A’s at one of the most competitive high schools in America. On top of that, he
is upbeat, positive, good looking (he takes after his mother), and is the only
person in the world I will trust to check things around the house.
Don’t worry, I am not taking credit for all of these great things; he was born
that way. From the time Ben could speak (which, by the way, was basically in
full sentences), he was the same person that he is today. The only thing my wife
and I can take credit for is giving him a “home base” where he felt safe, warm,
secure, and could come to it any time the world ganged up on him. We tried to
take away the roadblocks that would have prevented him from becoming the
fantastic person he is, and that is one of our contributions to the betterment of
the world.
For the most part, we stayed in the background and let him go forward,
which was hard, especially for me. He had to convince me to let him go to sleep
away camp. When I finally said yes, and tearfully bade him farewell, it was one
of the turning points of his life. Ben has never been afraid of anything, which is
evident by his forays in all facets of his life. His deep love for music has turned
into a career path. He plans to study music technology (I am still not sure what
that is) at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland.
We have given all three of our children a limited dollar amount as to how
much we will pay for college. Although his chosen school is a little higher,
wouldn’t you know it that Ben got a large merit scholarship! The award was so
big, in fact, that the car we bought him to use while he was in high school is now
his with our blessing.
Sometimes I feel like a holding place for our children. All three are unusual,
highly-motivated, and want to make a difference. I think that part of my job, in
the overall scheme of life, is to prepare them as best as my wife and I can, so they
can go out and exponentially help the rest of the world. I guess all parents feel
that way, but my wife and I have structured our home with that in mind.
You can’t be your best if you don’t know what that is. You will never hit
“the wall,” if you don’t push yourself past your limits to find out what you
can’t accomplish. The walls that stop us are almost always artificially built and
reinforced. From what I can see, Ben does not seem to have any; nothing inside
him cries out that it can’t be done. What a wonderful way to “be.” I wish I was
more like him. But part of me is him, and I both marvel and am humbled by
the man he has become. He has not “needed” me in a long time and I am very
careful to continue to treat him as an adult, respected his thoughts, abilities and
consider him an equal throughout his whole life. For Ben, I believe that it is the
best I can do and had he not been my son, I would have considered it an honor
to call him my friend.
High school graduation is this week, but I think the transition has already
happened for all of us. Ben leaves in August for college and my two other
children get the benefit of him being gone. Alex, my next oldest child, is 15, and
will be a sophomore in high school next year. It will be good for him to be at
the top of the pecking order and not have his brother around. Ben is very tough
competition, and this will give Alex a chance to grow and see where life takes
him. After that my daughter, Kayla Rose, will have us for two more years, then
move on. Then, life will go back to the way it was before, with just my wonderful
wife and I. We do not dread the idea of being by ourselves again; quite the
contrary, we are looking forward to it.
Hopefully, we will have done our job, and our children will go forth, make
their mark in a positive way on the world, have someone to love them as I do
my wife, and be happy in an overall while their lives unfold. I would not want
to start over again; I am happy getting older with a lot of future goals in mind,
but having our children has been an adventure that I would not have missed
for anything.
I will probably cry more than once when I finally realize it in my stomach that
Ben has gone to college, but he is ready for the next stage, and so am I.
Chapter 
Poor planning paints a doomed picture of a relationship. If you aren’t prepared,
you cannot achieve a win/win situation, which means the chances for a positive
outcome are nil.
Where Is The Plan? - April 8, 2004
I am in London and I am mad. Our armed forces in Iraq are being fired upon;
people on all sides are being killed. The country is on the verge of civil war, and
all of our efforts, it would seem, over the past two years have been for nothing.
I am not so angry that we went into Iraq; although, I am still not sure why
we did it. Sometimes you have to go on faith that the leaders who were elected
have more information and that they know what they are doing. There was
never any doubt we would win the war. The question was what we would do
with the country once we threw out the old regime. The only answer I think our
leaders had and have now is “I don’t know.”
How can you risk the lives of millions of people, add up all troops and
civilians involved, and not have a plan about how things would be handled
once the war was over? Incredibly, it would seem that did not happen. President
Bush’s excuse that it is a process and continually changing does not hold water.
He and his advisors should have been ready for anything, and it is obvious this
was not the case.
It has been drummed into me since birth that I should always have a plan of
attack ready and be prepared when it doesn’t work. Being unprepared was one
of the gravest sins possible and was the result of being lazy, not careful enough,
and not caring about the people you are affecting.
My dad always loved being outdoors, and so I spent most of my youth
hunting, fishing, and being in the woods. Our outside endeavors did not end
when the weather turned stormy or cold. We were all responsible to take the
gear necessary to remain comfortable, and if not, then it was our problem. It
became a point of pride. I would have everything with me that I could possibly
need. My family continually kids me about my obsessive planning.
Why be cold or wet if it wasn’t necessary? With some foresight, you could
have a great time outside whether is was 0° F or 110° F, raining, snowing or
fog covered. It didn’t matter as long as you have planned for the worst: lip
balm, handkerchiefs, food, water, insect repellant, compass, map, pocketknife,
spare underwear, and socks. Whatever it took, we were responsible for what
In business, my dad trained me the same way. He would tell me to think
about the various scenarios of what could happen; be ready for the unexpected
and plan and re-plan in case of surprises, because things never turn out exactly
the way you hope. You have to be able to take the changing conditions and
spin them in your favor, but you can’t do that if you haven’t thought things out
beforehand. You can’t see the landscape if you are too cold to think or you can’t
find your way back to the car if you are lost in the woods and have no point
of reference. You also can’t take an account from a competitor if you can’t see
how they are servicing the customer and how you can do it better. You have to
view the situation from the outside and not from a selfish point of view. Don’t
think of yourself; you have to take a view of the world and plan from that side
The Iraqi people have been subjugated for decades by abusive government,
and it was obvious they would not tolerate it again. If we are seen as an
occupying force, then we are the enemy. How can we be surprised at the hatred
being directed towards us? We have done the impossible in the space of 30
days; we have unified the various ethnic groups against us that could not stand
each other before we got there. People will always unite against a common foe,
and we are the bad guys.
If our goal was to have the people of Iraq act as one nation, then we have
done our job well. If our plan had been to bring in democracy as quickly as
possible and have them govern themselves in a democratic forum, then we
have failed miserably. Many people have died, and unfortunately more are
destined to fall because we did not plan for what could happen or think about
the people whose country we were occupying. We have been unknowingly
selfish, self-righteous, uncaring, and just plain naïve. Because of our inability
to think outside the box, we are destined for failure. There is a good chance it
will cost the President his job. All this could have been avoided if we had just
planned our strategy from Iraq’s point of view.
Chapter 
In order to achieve a win/win situation both sides have to communicate. When
things bog down sometimes the mere act of finding a place to talk is enough to get
things going again.
Shell Search - February 22, 2004
Two weeks ago, one of my brothers-in-law, Cliff, asked me to get his some spent
“already shot” shotgun shells. He didn’t indicate why he wanted them, but he knew I
went shooting occasionally and hoped I could help him.
I first met Cliff 20 years ago and the first encounter was not an especially good
one. It was just after my wife and I had started dating, and I was continually trying
to make a good impression on her father. In the process, I was a pain in the neck to
everyone else. It took some years and maturing, mostly on my part, for Cliff and I to
actually start liking each other. Now I consider him not only as a good relative, but as
a friend. When I found out he was ill (don’t worry, he should be fine), I was anxious to
do anything possible to help him.
But used shotgun shells? What could he possibly want with them? Especially
when I knew before that he was not fond of firearms, in general, or hunters (which
I used to be, in particular). But I did not ask questions. Yesterday, I went to my local
shotgun shooting range and signed up for two rounds of skeet.
The sport of skeet consists of shooting 25 shots at moving small plates called
“clay pigeons.”The group of five shooters involved is called a squad moving to seven
positions to shoot varying numbers of targets. I have been shooting at this field since
I was about ten years old which means I have been participating in this sport for 38
For those who have not done it, shooting probably sounds like a barbaric
endeavor for people who are unsafe, loud, or cause trouble. In my experience, nothing
could be further from the truth. I have target shot in many places and have usually
found the people to be courteous, nice, and careful. Having a loaded gun in your hand
is a great equalizer; it’s one of the reasons why I loved the sport when I was a young
kid. From an early age, I was a very good shot and often beat most of the grown-ups.
I have many fond memories of shooting with my dad on the weekends and being
considered one of the guys.
As time passes and as I get older, I have more obligations and less time for
shooting.When my Dad and I were having some relationship trouble a few years ago,
the first thing I did was invite him to the skeet range. My eldest son was horrified at
the idea, since we had not been getting along that well and ominously reminded me
about what happened to Marvin Gaye, (his father shot him). But I knew everything
would be fine as long as we were both shooting together.People are always civil when
everyone has a loaded gun; it just seems to be a natural occurrence. That afternoon
helped my dad and I to get back on track. In fact, we still try to shoot together every
few months and have a great time.
My father couldn’t come with me yesterday, so I went alone and ended up
shooting with two guys I did not know. They were actually a little scary looking,
strong heavy metal types, but then we all had guns so there was no problem. I went
up to them, introduced myself, and within ten minutes we were all very friendly. At
the end of my time there I left with six empty cartridge cases for Cliff and headed
I could not deliver them yesterday but saw him today. From the treatments he
was getting he had already lost 20 pounds and looked really thin. My wife and I had
thought that he might have wanted the cases for some special herbal remedy, or
utilize the remnant gunpowder or something else strange. It seemed, however, that
he had bought a military hat to block the sunlight and that there was room in it for
some shotgun shells and thought they would look “cool.”
He also thought it was hilarious that we had thought about all of these exotic
reasons as to why he wanted the shells. It was great because, whatever the reason,
it was good to see him have a good time. As I was leaving, we confirmed that in
the spring, when he was better, he would come shooting with me. It is amazing
how some things change and others stay the same. I never would have believed
he would want to go shooting, but then again I have changed a lot myself in the 20
years since we have know each other. I take nothing as permanent.
That skeet field has meant a lot to me over the years. It has always been a
place where I could measure up to anyone, a place of communication and honesty,
because when everyone has a loaded gun, we all try really hard to get along and the
truth usually comes out.
Rule Five
If you are not prepared to put your life on the line for something, then you will be
beaten on a percentaged basis by someone who will.
Chapter 
Getting started is often the toughest part of anything. Being recognized for your
potential is rare. To be treated, based on your potential, by someone who has made
it can be an inspiration that can drive you further and faster than you might have
thought possible.
Sometimes the only way to find out how good you can be is to be invited into
a club with people who have made it, thus giving you the ultimate challenge to be
worthy of the respect already given to you.
To Uncle Nate - May 14, 2004
People always told me that when you get married, you not only get your
spouse but you also got the whole family in the bargain. In my case, that has
proven to be a never-ending cache of mostly wonderful prizes that have
sometimes taken years to fully unfold.
I first met “Uncle Nate” shortly after my wife, Wendy, and I got engaged. He
was famous in our family as the man who had started from virtually nothing to
building the biggest private accounting firm in New England. He was legendary
for being successful, nice, tough, and had a lightining quick mind. Soon after
meeting him, I agreed with their appraisal.
Being a son in any business usually means that you are hated by most
because they think your pathway has been easy. In truth, for a few that is true;
but for the vast majority of us, that wrong idea made the road to success all the
harder to travel. Early in my career I always looked for guidance from people
whose opinions mattered. I did not want theory; I wanted to hear from those
who had been through various life experiences to not only survive but profit
from the journey. I wanted to use their life paths to help me make leaps, as
opposed to having to learn every single lesson the hard way through trial and
error. I wanted to know veterans of action.
After we got married, I asked to go to see Uncle Nate at his home in
Massachusetts. My wife and I went to stay overnight; I wanted a chance to talk
to him about my business and get his thoughts about the best way to proceed
in trying to grow more quickly and be more successful.
I remember that trip; not for the advice he gave me; but more for the way
he acted. As we spoke, I realized he was acting towards me not as a nephew by
marriage, or as some nice, young man, but as an equal. I was someone he felt
was worth the time to talk to. At that early point in my working life, that meant
far more to me than anything he could have actually told me. I never forgot it.
By treating me that way, he was saying he had faith in my ability to be successful
and believed I would make it. It was all I really needed to hear. The trip was a
success, and I tried even harder to improve with every ounce of energy I had.
As the years have passed, I usually see Uncle Nate about once a year at
family functions. We keep in touch more frequently by email, and he never
fails to mention how well he thinks I am doing. His smile is contagious and also
always mentions how much he likes my writing and how much he thinks of me
as a man. He is a fountain of never-ending positive energy from which I often
You have no idea how much his treatment has meant to me and gives me a
boost of confidence and well-being every time I see him. He is now celebrating
his 85th birthday and still goes in to the office. I am sure is also responsible for
the bulk of the sales at his company. His energy is continual; his mind is as sharp
as ever; and he has remained an inspiration to me: both in the way he treats
people as equals and his ability to stay so successful, even past when most men
have retired.
It is rare that you get a chance to be involved with a man like this. My Uncle
Phil (on my Dad’s side) was similar, but he passed away before I could really
know him. Having Uncle Nate is truly a bonus; he has helped me for years in
a way he probably never knew. Because of my potential, he related me as an
equal; I lived up to it and have tried to do the same for others. What a great
legacy to pass on to treat someone as the best they can be, instead of making
them wait a lifetime to receive the benefit. It is a lesson, and a way of life that
will stay with me forever.
Chapter 
I was the number one clarinet player in my school before I went to college. When I
got there, I met a whole bunch of other people who had also been number one at their
schools. The bar of comparison had been raised the second I left home. Just because
you were the best where you were it doesn’t mean you are the best now. Even if you
are still at the top, it doesn’t mean it is as far as you can go. At some point, you will set
limits for yourself and raise the bar to surpass the wall you’ve constructed based on
your amassed abilities.
The Bar Is Still Too Low
Dear Ben (my eldest son at college),
First of all, I miss you a lot, mostly in those moments when I least expect it.
Like last week at High Holy Days, and you weren’t there in the teen service or
running into me at weird times during the morning. It will be great to see you
in October. Maybe next year you can come home for Yom Kippur. It would be a
great homecoming for us all.
Mom mentioned that you were lonely sometimes and were feeling like
you might want to try another school. I understand your thoughts well. You
went from an incredibly fun, supportive, problem-free environment to being
totally on your own. It is a major transition whose magnitude should not be
I also understand how you feel to be different, since you are a liberal arts
major in a sea of engineers. I know engineers well. They are a major part of my
customer base, and I understand how they have a great tendency to spend a lot
of time studying and staying within themselves. As you know, being different is
not a bad thing. I consider many engineers as some of the best people I know.
Remember, that is their nature, and it is not surprising how you are finding
I realize this environment is different than what you expected. I would
suggest the following that might make your life a little easier and more conducive
to the type of experience you are looking for. As much as it pains me to say it,
the answer for you might be in a fraternity, one not based on engineering, as
it mains impetus to join. Although I never wanted to be in one, I was in a much
different environment and never felt the need. Perhaps some venturing forth to
see what they have to offer might not be a bad idea.
One of the ironic problems you have is that because you are so smart
with a lightining quick mind (I might be a little biased here), you are not being
challenged. It sound like you might have a lot more free time than the “normal”
student because you can do whatever is needed quickly, efficiently, and with
little effort. Perhaps you need to stretch yourself a bit with either additional
courses; more in-depth instruction in a particular area; finding a new place to
explore; getting another job (not my first choice); or doing something else that
will form your brain sweat and make you feel more a part of the academic zeal
to excel.
You are not lazy; I have never doubted your abilities, integrity, honesty, or
anything else. You are fantastic. I think, though that you need something to
push you to see how far you can go in some areas you haven’t tried before. Now
is your chance; you can do everything you want in your “normal day” without a
lot of effort, find something that gets your adrenaline pumping, and probes the
outermost points of your mind (please do not read in this as sex, drugs and/or
Your boundaries are endless, your potential unlimited,, and Mom and I are
behind you. Let us know what we can do, but remember college is not just being
able to do the work well and having a good time. Your instructors are there to
help you find out how great you can be, but you have to take the first step.
I love you always,
Chapter 
You only get a certain amount of energy in any given day. How you use it will
determine your success and failure. Many people throw away their potential by
squandering their life force with liquor, drugs, or other excesses. You make yourself
much easier to beat if your focus is not on doing the best for yourself.
Twice Legal Age - May 9, 2004
My wife and I went to a party last night for my brother-in-law, Cliff. He was
recently diagnosed with cancer. After a quick operation and some radiation
treatments, (with some nasty side effects), he appears to be okay. In celebration,
his wife Barbara, invited a bunch of people over to their house.
The party had a Southwestern theme with fajitas, salsa, guacamole, and
tequila. For those who know me already understand I do not drink, therefore
I am always the designated driver. Keeping this in mind, it was surprising that
I got a call right after I had temporarily left the party, to drive my daughter to
another celebration, to go and pickup liquor as they were running low.
I had not been on an alcohol run in over 20 years. Except for a few six packs
of beer, I had not stepped foot in a liquor store, except to buy gum in a very long
time. So there I found myself on a Saturday night buying tequila and reliving
my youth. You see in college, when we used to buy wine, it was for the express
purpose as a social inhibitor with the opposite sex in the hopes that it would
break down some of the more formal lines of behavior. It worked so badly that I
eventually gave up the idea. In fact, one night, when I had had a two drinks and
was drunk (it never took much), I found myself at a dormitory of a girl who I had
liked for a long time. I tried to tell her how I felt about her and wanted to take
her out, but she looked at me with pity and said, “forget it.” From that moment,
liquor began to lose its appeal; it was pointless and my giggling did nothing to
help me win whatever point I was trying to make.
My use of alcohol, even during college, was small and eventually dribbled to
nothing, especially when I learned how much weight gain beer and wine could
cause. I decided if I was going to ingest calories I would rather eat chocolate
cake and stopped drinking all together. Therefore it was ironic to find myself
trying to find out where the tequila was in the liquor store last night.
After I got the two bottles of alcohol, I went to pay for it, mentioning to the
cashier that I did not drink and how ironic it was that I was buying it. She said
that it was the same for her since she also did not drink. When I asked her if she
wanted to see some identification (you have to be 21 years old in New Jersey to
buy alcohol), she smiled sweetly and said that there was no need. I realized then
that I was more than twice past the legal drinking age, and no one would ever
ask me for proof again, unless it was to prove I was senior citizen some time in
the distant future.
No more worrying about whether people would sell me alcohol, cigarettes,
or anything else for that matter. I was legal for everything. How depressing in a
strange sort of way.
I brought back the bottles to my sister-in-law, and the party was in full
swing. I always like watching people after they have been drinking, their guards
are down and often say things they really feel. You get a much truer picture of
who they are. In some cases, it is an improvement, but for others they should
resist the temptation to imbibe at all. It was also easy to see the people who
did not drink. One of them was a woman who had lost her husband when the
World Trade Centers were attacked. Over the past few years, I have seen her on
numerous occasions but last night was the first chance I had to actually talk to
her. It had obviously been a very tough last few years, but things were becoming
better. I saw her smile for the first time last night, her whole face lit up, and she
was beautiful. I hope there will never be a reason for her smile to fade again; it
would truly be a loss for all.
It was a really good party thrown for a great purpose, and my brother-in-law
looked happier than he had in a long time. It was fun to see all these people, and
I did not even have to drive anyone home. I have passed the point of wanting
to stay up all night to see if I could do it. In fact I had a tennis game tomorrow
morning and was determined to get home so I could get enough sleep to play
well. As it was, we were one of the last groups to leave. My priorities have shifted
from wanting to go to the excess and testing the limits to happily staying within
my boundaries and watch others do it for me, at least in areas other than work.
Besides, watching others reveal a lot about themselves is far more interesting
than waking up with a few hours of sleep, hung over, and wondering if I had
anything to be sorry about.
Rule Six
Failure is not weakness; giving up is weakness. Saying you made a mistake is not
a problem; failing to admit a mistake is a green light to being taken advantage of and
being destroyed by others who can.
Chapter 
Love unrequited is a horrible thing but a necessary experience to learn what
the real thing is. The past is an important asset because you can use the memories to
remind you of the victories. But much better, the defeats can continually push you to
excel long after they are over.
Rewrite History - April 24, 2004
I went in search of my past today, a short pilgrimage to days gone by. Her
name was Cathy. When I was in grammar school, she was the queen of the angels,
at least to me. In our class of a 100 she stood out to me as the most beautiful and
someone who was out of my league. The years passed, and although I went out
with many others, my thoughts of her never changed. I even had the audacity to
take her to a movie once but she made it clear she had no feelings for me. It was
another defeat in a life of many blessings; she has faded into memory.
But it was a gorgeous day today, and if I modified my cycling route, I could
go past her house and relive some memories. She hadn’t lived there in years,
but so much of my life is wrapped up in the area. She only lived two blocks
from where I grew up, so I decided to go back and see how things looked. I
remembered her house as big, beautiful with a large pool, and plenty of room.
She used to have pool parties there; I even got invited to one. It was there that
I first saw the girls in our class in two-piece bathing suits. I was in the 6th grade,
and the wonderment of women’s bodies began there as lifelong fascination.
I, on the other hand, was overweight and incredibly uncomfortable being
seen in a swimsuit, a feeling which has never fully left me. But I went to her party
because it was the chance to see her and be a part of a group that I strived to
belong. Again, time passed, and those people whom I wanted so much to be
around also got older as did my increasing lack of desire to be near many of
them. I still see some of them around the area and marvel at how many have
aged, while, of course, I have not.
Her old house today looked small and in need of work. The pool area,
where I was so embarrassed, seemed much smaller and made me wonder just
how pretty she really was. Many times a person’s recollections are far much
better than the actual event, especially when the imperfections have faded into
brilliance over time.
Also on my trip, I went past a quarry which borders on a golf course near
my old house. It was there where I used to illegally hop a fence – how unlike
me now – and went looking for golf balls that errantly hit off of the third tee. It
was at that private club, restricted to people like me (Blacks, Italians, and Jews),
where I had a job for a short time caddying. I rarely got out to work much, as
I was a new caddie. One of the other guys tried to steal the pretzels out of my
back pocket, and my punching him in the face did not do much to enhance my
presence there. I later decided that having to fight all of the other caddies was
not worth the occasional few dollars I was making so I quit that job.
Over the years, I have had thoughts of becoming a member there, just to
prove I could do it, being Jewish and all, but I decided it was not worth the
effort.They were best left on their own. I have too many other fights where the
results could bring much more benefit than wasting my time on them.
Also on that ride, I went up the hill that I had used for training when I was a
young teenager. It did not seem nearly as steep and long as when I used to run
it so many years ago, but I know it was really tough then.
It is a good thing that some events seem better over time and others
harder. Reality is what we choose to create and can use it to our best advantage.
Years after someone dies, we can make them a better person just by thinking it
true. People can be prettier, nicer, better to their parents and to society or just
different than reality appears at that moment. Often it gives us the last laugh,
or maybe, a final chance to make things better, in retrospect, so they can stop
hurting us or causing others pain. Going back is often harmful. It will never be
the same, because the ultimate ability we possess is to rewrite history, and often
it is the nicest thing we can do.
Chapter 
You know when trouble is coming, you can feel it in your gut. You can run, attack
it head on or go from the side. If you run, the odds are that you will have to face it again
and will not be able to advance until you can force yourself to face your fear. It often
doesn’t matter what the result is, the facing of the fear, experiencing it and reacting to
it is what matters.
Ready For Everything - March 28, 2004
I wrote a play called All Bullies Must Die. I thought it was pretty good, and
I wanted to see if I could get a local theatre group to perform it. By using my
financial assets as a wedge, I donated a few thousand dollars to help them finish
the kitchen for the playhouse. They agreed to review my script to see if it had
merit. The general manager of the group is also a tennis partner of mine, and
through his guidance, I was able to re-work the script into a usable product.
Next Saturday at 7:30PM we have the first “reading” of the script which
means a group of actual local actors will sit around a table and read through my
play. They just don’t just perform it but also comment and make constructive
criticism. They had an informal run through a few weeks ago, and there was a
lot of discussion about the merits of the play, how it was written and whether it
should be done. They wanted to make sure I know that it was a work in progress.
My translation of that meant they trashed it.
I have always had a bit of a problem with “constructive” criticism.
When I got out of college 30 years ago, my father was the first person to
offer me a job, after I failed to gain one in my chosen profession of broadcasting.
I swore that nothing was going to stop me from success. I was willing to listen
to anyone for help and in whatever format it was offered, even if bordering on
abuse. Unfortunately, during that time of intense learning, I also learned to hate
most of the people offering me the advice. The reason being was that most
people who offer guidance have either not done it themselves or were only
giving me theory.
I determined that once I learned what I needed, then I would only listen to
those who were more successful and/or talented in the specific area where they
were offering advice. Therefore there are fewer and fewer people,I have found,
who really have something valuable to give. The prospect of sitting around a
table listening to a group of local actors who do not make a living at their craft
telling me what I should do with my work does not fill me with happiness or
much hope.
As you can see I am already getting ready for a fight and nothing has
happened yet. No one has said my work stink or is unusable, or called me a
terrible writer. But I am getting the vibrations that trouble is coming. Phrases
like “shutup and listen” and “leave your ego at the door” are great, if it isn’t
your soul on the line. I don’t know if the advice I am going to get is any good
and except for my mentor, I don’t think any of these people have ever been
professional actors.
The truth is I am scared to have people review my play and tell me it is lousy.
It will be just like being back in school, or worse just starting out working for my
father. It will be a total loss of power, and I hate that feeling. I have spent too
many years building my career to have people start tearing me down, especially
in front of my wife and friends.
Of course, I could not have been able to sell printing successfully if I had not
been able to take brutally hard criticism on a daily basis. It is the fastest way to
learn, but it cuts so deeply that I am not sure I am ready to face the possibility
again. Writing is even more personal than selling. People aren’t just rejecting
me or my company, like when I am at work, they are rejecting my spirit. It is hard
to get any more personal than that, and it is very tough to let myself open to it
from strangers.
I know myself and can feel my psyche hardening to get ready to fend off
the attacks. I am thinking of replies for when the comments start and to know
exactly the moment when I will get up, grab my wife, friends, and walk out. I
don’t need the play performed here; I can move it somewhere else. But just like
in selling, this moment will come back to haunt me if I don’t get past it now. Often
when I have the intense fears like this, nothing bad happens. But sometimes
my worst dreams are realized and the combat becomes bloody. I know I could
destroy these people verbally, if needed. If they make this a personal attack, I
can reduce them to quivering masses of jelly but that is not in my best interest.
I have to face this if I expect to get to the next level for my writing, and it might
as well be sooner than later.
If I get to the point in any area of my life where the fear of possible rejection
and criticism is enough to stop me from moving forward, then I have lost one of
my major assets. Fear cannot stop me, especially when I have plenty of weapons
to protect myself. Fear is good and makes you plan so that you are as prepared
as possible. I do not want to go in to that room but I will be there and ready for
Chapter 
Give up, and you will be beaten, on a percentaged basis, by someone else. Keep
trying different things, and they will lead you to new areas, niche markets, higher profit
areas, and renewed interest in the “chase.” Give up, and you will be passed by and
slowly lose ground. You can’t stay where you are because life is in constant motion. You
are either going ahead or falling behind, and it is always your choice.
1,200 Komers - March 25, 2003
We have been after a new type of business which involves photoluminescent
powder. This material is the basis for the glow-in-the-dark security signs you
often see in buildings, trains, ships, etc. Their great advantage is that they do not
run on electricity and do not need battery back-ups. Up until now, the materials
for this sort of production have been found and completed, respectively,
outside of the United States, often because of their pollutive nature. But a
prospective customer came to us a few moths ago and asked if we could utilize
them here. We decided to do some research because it looked like a potential
niche market for us. However, I have not had this much trouble in just getting
the raw materials for a prospective product in a long time. This was before we
could even start testing. This special powder appears to only be available in
three areas of the world: China, Norway, and the United Kingdom. There are also
various grades with the most important feature being their luminescent levels
and how long they will glow. The better the product, the longer the afterglow,
and our customer is requiring 8 hours as a minimum, which is a tough level to
The first samples we produced a few months ago looked great but stopped
glowing after two hours. That started another global search for different, more
potent powder. As of a few days ago, we got in two new sets of samples. As is my
custom, I will often give out our air express number to potential suppliers who
are willing to send us free samples so they do not have to pay for the shipping
charges. Also since I am usually in a hurry, this procedure ensures that I will get
the materials quickly. I gave my number to both potential suppliers.
When the shipment from Norway came in, I checked how much it cost and I
was told $1,200 and I went nuts. No light weight package even from Norway in a
rush costs that much so I figured my air express number had been compromised
and the money somehow stolen. After sending out a questioning email to my
supplier, one of my guys came in and said that was in Norwegian Komers, not
dollars and the true charge was about $130. Not cheap but not out of line in
terms of the money.
We are now making new samples which should be ready in a few days,
and then we begin testing again. If we can figure out the right formula, then
our final product should be less expensive than the importing from Europe.
This could open up a whole new area for us; if not, then we learned a lot about
photoluminescent materials.
On a different front, I have always been interested in inventing. A great
joy for me about ten years ago was getting my first patent. The attorney I used
was a grizzled veteran of the litigation wars, and I had total confidence that he
would always steer me in the right direction. He sent me a rawhide dogbone
the other day. His instructions were simple: to find an edible label that would
stick to it and would not hurt the dog when it was eaten.
Not one to avoid a challenge, I started working and came up with a sample
that went back to his customer about two weeks later. I did not hear anything
for a few weeks and figured it was a dead lead. When he emailed me a few days
ago, he said the customer is interested. I went back to work utilizing the sample
process as before and realized it would not work for long run production and
abandoned it. Then we started on a new tactic, which we have high hopes for
and will have samples ready in the next few weeks. In any case, the knowledge
is invaluable even if it is not used here.
I may never sell a photoluminescent sign or an edible label, but it doesn’t
matter. Learning (or “going to school,” as my dad always put it), is the way to
bridge the distance between what I know now and the knowledge I will need
tomorrow. Since you can never tell what will be needed, you have to listen to
what people say, letting the marketplace direct where you are going. This is the
way we have found our niche markets, our success in the past and the way I plan
to move in the future.
Learning is not an even line and often involves a lot of dead ends. It can
mean paying $130 for shipping from Norway, or even $1,200 if needed.Perhaps
it means putting a rawhide bone into a microwave to test label permanence, I
would not recommend this because it smells badly. It doesn’t matter because it
is all part of the process. Not learning will stop your growing; stop growing and
someone else will jump over you. You will be left in the dust. It doesn’t matter if
most of my ideas do not work; the small percentage of those that do will help to
ensure my chance for success. Besides, the fun in life is going after the gold ring
and occasionally grabbing it.
Chapter 
Pick your spots as to what is important and center on those. Try not to sweat the
other stuff. Life will have a tendency to let you know what is important and where you
do not want to fail.
Weight For Later
I got on the scale this morning, as usual, prepared for the worst but still
hopeful. Ever since I was a little kid and chubby, some people were nice and said
I was “hefty.” I have always been highly concerned about my weight. Of course,
being taunted occasionally not only heightened that awareness but also made
me a decent fighter, which did nothing to recede my apprehension level when
the subject is broached.
After numerous years of working out, my body is in very good shape, but
the picture in my brain still shows an overweight, “hefty” child. I keep track of
myself through my belts; if they feel tight, I diet until they don’t. Getting on a
scale is usually mentally challenging because if it says what I want then I start to
think that I should drop a few more pounds. If it shows more than I anticipated,
then an immediate wave of despair occurs, and I start to sweat. No matter what
happens, I rarely win. Granted, this is ridiculous behavior, especially for someone
who prides himself on high levels of mental and physical control. But we aren’t
always rational especially when dealing with ourselves.
I have been traveling and working out a lot over the past few months, and
I don’t know what possessed me to weigh myself this morning, but I found
myself pulling out the scale and standing on it. The weight that came up was
excellent; but being obsessive I wanted to be sure so I weighed myself again,
and it was four pounds more the seond time. In disbelief, I did it again and the
higher weight was confirmed. It seemed I had gotten a malfunction the first
As I started to sweat, I was now at the upper range of acceptable for myself.
I decided two things: first, I would only weigh myself once at a time from now
on and second, was I was going to go out and exercise again. I had just come
in from playing tennis and usually work out twice on Sundays anyway, so I got
dressed again and headed out for a walk. When I got back I planned to take off
all of my clothes, go to the bathroom, and weigh myself again (while thinking
light, airy thoughts) to get a “true” reading. This, however, did not mean shaving
my head and the rest of the hair off of my body but everything else that wasn’t
permanent was coming off.
I went out for a walk of almost an hour. I was ready to go through the ritual
again of weighing myself when my wonderful wife met me in the garage and
told me about a boy in my daughter Kayla’s seventh grade class who had died
of cancer two days before. We had just heard about it. My daughter was getting
dressed to go to the funeral and would be leaving in a few minutes.
Of course, all thoughts about my idiotic weight, my obsessions, and
anything about me were immediately forgotten. I centered instead on my
daughter who had never had anyone close to her pass, especially not someone
her own age. Luckily she and the boy were not good friends, but she did know
him well enough to go, which says a lot for the type of person she is.
My wife and I were very concerned about how she was feeling afterwards,
but so far so good. For me, it drove home the reminder that nothing is permanent,
and how lucky I am to have my life surrounded by people I love. Being obsessive
about my weight and life in general is just who I am. It does not envelope me;
it is just part of my being and most of the time I can channel my energies for
positive works. But it is also good to remember that certain things are much
more important than others. I did not weigh myself again; my obsession will
have to remain unanswered.
Tr avel Logs
The balance of the articles in this section are my logs from various business trips.
Please take note of a few things while you are reading them. First of all, the time of day
I am writing. When traveling, it is not unusual to go for long periods without a lot of
sleep. Also, the short durations of the trips even when going around the world. I am
totally committed to what I am doing and am happy to do whatever is necessary and
to go wherever needed (as long as my wife agrees) to get the job done. If you want to
take my customers, then youshould be willing to work harder, smarter and have the
infrastructure backing you up to take it from me because I am not going to give them up.
But I got the business because someone else lost it and I never, ever forget that someone
like me is nipping at my heels ready to do the same to me. If you are better than me in
enough areas then you deserve a piece of the business. If not, I will hopefully leave you
in the dust. Business is a battle; never forget it because I won’t. I wish you the best of luck,
but do it in some other field besides mine. If not let the competition begin because the
one of us who deserves it most will win.
Chapter 
Trip To Chicago
01/21/04 - 1:30AM EST
I got up to go to the bathroom and started worrying about an employee
who was not working out. Since I had to get up at 3:30 to go to the airport,
I really wanted to sleep. But my mind was going a mile a minute, so I got up
and wrote out a termination notice. I had tried this employee in numerous jobs,
and he could not fit in so it looks like it is time for him to leave. I felt badly for
him and anyone else I had to let go because it means I misjudged the person’s
abilities and probably should not have hired him or her in the first place. I am
totally responsible for what happens (and my track record is good) but I need to
remember that no one is perfect and need to let my emotions go.
I also made a list of this man’s various duties to make sure they are covered
by other people, so we will have a seamless a transition as possible when I
decide to “pull the trigger.” As it often happens once I made the final decision, I
relaxed and was able to go back to sleep around 2:00AM.
I got up at 3:20AM and was outside for the car service at 4:20AM. Only
problem was that he was stuck on an ice patch at the bottom of my driveway,
and we spent the next ten minutes, grunting, and wheel skidding trying to get
him out. Finally I went back inside my house and woke my two sons, but as we
were going back outside, I saw the car had gotten off the ice. I realized I had
already had my workout for the day trying to push out his car and have the
aches in my neck and right arm to prove it. I hope this is not a harbinger of a
tough day ahead.
5:06 AM EST
I got through security at the airport without a problem. Not sleeping well
last night added with not sleeping well the night before means I am running
on fumes and will need to make sure I get a nap between the three calls I am
making today. I have a car service picking me up in Chicago as I did not want to
spend half the day being lost as I have before. It concerns me that I am the only
one waiting at this gate. I am paranoid by nature, so I will recheck and make sure
I am in the right place. It is only 5:08AM so I can see why it isn’t crowded, but it
is a 6:00AM flight and it’s not long until we leave. There is no power outlet with
a chair next to it so I am running on battery for the moment. I am back tonight
so I should have plenty of computer power, I hope.
5:20AM EST
There was a gate change; I’m glad I checked. As I was passing by one of
the gates, I smelled something like ketchup and I was suddenly transformed
back to when I was 11 years old. It is amazing how a strong scent can bring
back memories. This was the smell from the snack bar at the beach resort we
used to go to when I was a kid. This place had great hotdogs, cokes, and frozen
candy bars. It’s funny what you remember. This was the beach club where I
first spoke to a woman. She was about 15, and I was 12. As I passed by, I said,
“good morning.” It was a big moment in my life, the start of my interaction with
the opposite sex. Women are so different then men, obviously not an original
thought but true anyway. I spent a great deal of my youth learning to talk and
be around them. It turned out to be great training for selling. The main thing
with both is to be confident enough about yourself than you can relax and listen
to what the other person is saying. In most cases, they will tell you everything
you need to know to date, sell, buy, or get along with them, if you just give the
chance. Listening is an art, and I am ever trying to improve myself in that area.
At this gate, there are more people here waiting for the plane. Like most
men, I feel better when others have the same opinion as what is right. For
instance, at a party if we are all wearing a suit and tie, then we feel we are okay.
It doesn’t matter if we are all wearing the same thing (i.e. tuxedos), we feel we
are correct and can relax. How strange and difficult it must be for women who
feel they always have to be different to be right. It is a strain we men do not
bear; of course, we have a million other things that kill us so we are not better
just different.
Happily, the man who was whistling nearby stopped. It is too early to hear
someone doing showtunes, or maybe it was the theme from Shaft, I couldn’t
tell. We should be boarding soon, and I will take my air sickness pills which will
both fight nausea and put me to sleep. I must be grouchy, so a nap might be
good, especially if a man whistling is bothering me. If that is a pain, then I can
definitely see me losing it later if someone actually does something terrible like
chews gum with their mouth open.
I have to remember to call my wife later and apologize for all the noise
from this morning. Hopefully she slept through it; although the dog barking
probably made that impossible. We should board soon; I hope the airplane is
big, and there is an open seat next to me.
7:17AM EST
I got on the plane, and there was an empty seat next to me - alright!!! My
breakfast of cereal, banana, and water in a plastic bag was great. The weather
in Chicago is cold but nothing different than New Jersey. We should be on
schedule, and since we gain an hour with the time change, we will hopefully
land in Chicago around 9:00AM. The car service will be there waiting for me.
I am highly concerned about the employee I am going to terminate; I want to
make sure we have everything we need to cover his duties to return to normal
as soon as possible after he is gone. I have no joy in firing him. Taking someone’s
livelihood is no joke, not fun, and one of the few things I dislike about being the
owner. But it must be done, because an employee not working out well will sap
morale and bring everyone down. That has not happened to any great extent,
but I need to act quickly before any big damage is done.
What a great day! We got to Chicago about hour hour early, and I met up
with my driver for the day named Louis. He was an old driving pro, and I could
see immediately he knew his way around. Since we had some extra time, I
decided to try and squeeze in an extra call. We went over to Elk Grove Village to
see some of the engineers and purchasing people at a division of Flextronics.
We make labels for them, and I am always trying for more business. I could not
get anyone on the phone, so I just dropped in. I normally don’t go anywhere
without an appointment but since I could not get through, I figured I had
nothing to lose. I walked into the building (there was no security or receptionist)
right into a room filled with design engineers. As they say, it was a target rich
environment. They were very surprised to see me, which is an understatement,
but they all had a good time as I handed out my books and threw them “Ideal
World Tour” yo-yos all the while reminding them that we make labels. I got to
see one person in purchasing and then got out of there quickly before anyone
could get mad at me.
Since we were still running early, thank you Louis; I called another customer,
and off we went to Northbrook, IL to Acme Die Casting. I had never been there
to see the people, and this time I did call and was given the green light. I met
with the former buyer who had been promoted. Then I was done and back on
the road within 14 minutes.
By this time, we needed to get to the first actual call I had previously setup, which was in Genoa. We got there in plenty of time. I saw the two people
scheduled, and then I was off to a lunch meeting down the highway. The man I
met found our company while searching the Internet for braille signs. I sent him
some of our information and samples. He is a printing broker and expressed
some interest in trying to sell our products. Lunch was interesting, as he had
not been selling printing for very long, and I was giving him some (hopefully)
helpful pointers on how to sell the products we make.
Lunch was over by 1:00PM and then I was off to Des Plains to see a potential
customer about taking over a good chunk of their label business. He was going
to be buying for various locations in the U.S. and was trying to find a supplier
to give him prices based on yearly usages, two week deliveries, top quality, and
dependablity. Since we already did business with his group in Rhode Island,
our reputation was spotless. He gave us samples to give prices on. A fantastic
opportunity and I will be back to him by Monday or before.
At this point, it was about 2:40PM. Louis then dropped me back at O’Hare
International Airport, I was sorry to see him go. I got an earlier than planned
flight home. With luck, I will be home before 8:00PM instead of 10:30, so I am
very happy. It has been a great day so far, even considering the car getting stuck
this morning. The opportunities are out there; I just have to go get them.
01/22/04 - 9:45PM EST
I got home last night about 7:30PM. The day ended well with my being
able to see my family before going to sleep. Getting up this morning was not
easy, especially since I was pretty sure I would have to fire someone. I got in
before 5:00AM. The day went well, even though I had a big knot in my stomach
knowing what was going to happen in the afternoon. About 3:00, I brought
him into my office and let him know that although I personally liked him and
had tried him in every possible position in the company to which he might
have been capable, it was just not working out. He could see I was sincere in my
intent to see him do well, especially after I offered him four weeks of severance
and the ability to use some of our equipment until he could go off on his own.
It ended happily, as well as it could, and I felt good about it. I spoke to
his replacement, another employee I was promoting, who would become our
new bookkeeper. Once her training was completed, she would receive a raise as
soon as she could do the job. She was ecstatic hearing the good news. It is nice
to give people a chance and even better when they work out.
No one is infallible. I always ignore the people who give me their views
based on theory as opposed to veterans of actual similar experiences.
It is time to go to sleep. Next Saturday, I leave for Asia and another adventure.
As usual, I could do without the traveling but can’t wait to see the people. You
can’t have one without the other, a situation I gladly accept.
Chapter 
Trip To Hong Kong And Bangkok - Or - Whatever Happened To Shanghai?
6:14AM EST
Originally this trip was supposed to include a stop in Shanghai, but I am
getting ahead of myself. At this moment, I am sitting in the United Airlines
Lounge in Newark/Liberty Airport, Newark, New Jersey.
I started my preparation for this adventure like most others by rigorously
training physically for the last few months, including self-defense lessons to
prepare to go on a whirlwind three country visit which would last from Saturday
morning (today) until Thursday night.
My preparations were extensive as I readied my flights, drivers, hotels,
etc., and by last night I was packed and ready to go. I was picked up exactly
on time at 4:30AM. I had even gotten up at 3:00AM so I could workout a little
before going on the long flight to Shanghai. It should have lasted, with layovers,
about 24 hours. However, when I got to the airport, the nice woman behind the
counter asked to see my visa. “My what?” I asked. She said I needed a visa to get
into mainland China. I have been talking about this trip for months, and no one
had ever mentioned that I needed a visa. Starting to panic and sweat, I asked if I
could get one when I either landed in San Francisco or when I got to Shanghai,
the woman firmly said no.
Great start to an adventure, I couldn’t even get out of the airport. Trying
to think, I then asked if I could fly directly to Hong Kong, figuring I could keep
at least two-thirds of my itinerary. I thought about flying to Singapore first but
decided against it since I had no appointments scheduled there. and I figured
there would be extra people I could see with my now extended trip in Hong
Kong. So we rebooked my flight for an extra $1,300. I am now going to go to
Chicago instead of San Francisco, which really doesn’t make a lot of difference
except that California would have broken up the flight a little more.
I just called and booked an extra night at the hotel in Hong Kong, so at least
I now have a place to stay. This promises to be an interesting adventure. My
biggest goal now is to make sure the people in Shanghai know I am not coming
and do not get upset when I don’t show up. I need to find a way to email them,
but I cannot get through from here. In the meantime, I will work off my panic
energy by walking with my bags. They must weigh at least 50 pounds, so I am
weight lifting every time I move, a very good thing.
The additional good news is that spending two days in Hong Kong is not
a hardship. I have been there before and am not only looking forward to the
business. Riding the ferry on the waterfront and the food are good things. I
should be able to find additional people to contact and who knows? Maybe I
will even get a chance to look around.
6.49AM EST
Nice restrooms in this airport lounge. I am a believer in fate. If fate has
decided I should not be on a plane to Shanghai, then I am the last person to
argue with it. It has been a great source of comfort for me over the years to be
able to say some things are not in my control. You just have to go with what
comes to you. I picked up some bananas and a bagel from the refreshment area
and threw them into my food cache because you never know. I think the flight
from Chicago to Hong Kong is about 21 hours. I will find out more later; not that
it matters once I get on the plane, that’s it. Happily, business has been good; it is
so much easier to be on the road when your mind is clear of what is happening
back in the office. I worry, of course, about the normal things but my staff is
excellent and always striving to be better. I am calm when it comes to having
things run without me. This is good because my travel schedule is increasing.
It looks like I may be in Europe a second time this spring and possibly South
America. The economy feels like it is moving upward and we have spent the last
few years getting ready. I am not going to let a few plane rides stand between
my meeting the people who can bring us more business.
I got some great news the other day about my play. My friend/mentor,
Mark, (who is making changes to the latest draft of “All Bullies Must Die”) seems
to think it will actually be performed. While we were talking, I asked him if he
thought the production could go on a mini tour of the local theaters in New
Jersey. He mentioned we might want to rent a playhouse in Manhattan (New
York City) for a two-week trial to see if any of the off-Broadway theaters would
want to pick it up. My company would front the money for the two-week
Wow! The chance to put on the play in New York City (and maybe beyond)
is really moving into my wildest dreams. I am excited about every part of this,
and as far as things go, it will be a wonderful ride.
10:55AM EST
I love fate. The plane took off exactly on time, actually a little earlier and
the people have all been wonderful. I sat next to a man who happens to be
the VP of manufacturing for a large company based in New Jersey. Now I know
why I am on this plane; it was to meet him and his compatriot. I guess I was not
supposed to go to Shanghai at all. I hope this bodes well for the rest of the trip.
My stomach has been a little shaky, but having the chance for future business
has set my adrenalin spiraling, and I am feeling much better. I thought it might
be a good time to eat something, so I dove into my food supplies for a bag of
cereal. Instead of milk, I normally flood my cereal with water but decided to
eat it dry since I am on the inside window seat and did not want to bother the
nice man by having to get up a lot to go to the restroom. Therefore, I ate the
cereal handful by handful. What didn’t fall on my lap, seat, or the floor tasted
quite good. I also had some fruit. I was feeling good and decided to refrain
from taking the anti-nausea/sleeping pills until I really needed them. I am also
wearing some special wristbands that are supposed to stop air sickness, so far
so good.
The things I don’t like about traveling:
1. Being away from home/family
2. The interruption of my normal routine
3. Not working out as much as I would like
4. Getting even less sleep than usual
5. Being lonely
6. Feeling disconnected from my regular life
7. Getting from place to place
The things I do like about traveling:
1. Meeting customers and new prospects
2. The thrill of the chase for new business
3. Being on my own for a little while
Traveling alone is generally not that tough because you can make decisions
for yourself and not have to worry about anyone else. In fact, it is one of the
chief things I like about traveling. When traveling with someone else, a change
to my plans in going directly to Hong Kong could have become very messy. As
it was, traveling alone meant simply a minor alteration that had to be taken in
stride and accepted.
I got about four hours of sleep last night and had a ten-minute nap before.
That is too little, which means I will probably pass out once I get on the long
flight for Hong Kong. As soon as we land, I will try to get an isle seat or even
try for first class for the next plane. If I am not successful, then business class is
fine. On the other hand, if the economy section is empty, there is nothing better
than three seats across there because you can stretch out and get a good sleep.
Whatever happens, it will probably be okay. My stomach is starting to rumble a
little; I just took my first pill.
2:14PM EST
We are on our way to Hong Kong! The flight to Chicago ended well. The
two men from the other plane are in another section of this flight, so it is time
to meet new people. The person sitting next to me, Sue (an accountant for a
law firm), shows great taste in enjoying the book that I gave her that I wrote.
The man across from me is Asian and seems to be from Hong Kong. I also gave
him my book which is a great way to break the ice. We are all together for the
next 15 hours, so I’m sure we will be talking. The view coming into Chicago
O’Hare Airport was amazing over the water of the Great Lake (I am not sure
which one) which was frozen in a pattern that looked like a cracked window,
very beautiful, cold, and forbidding. At this point, I figure I will be in my hotel
room about 9:00PM Sunday night Hong Kong time, and I have no idea what
time that will be in New Jersey.
I am extremely lucky in not only getting an aisle seat but a bulkhead as
well, which means when they turn the cabin lights out for people to sleep, I
can sit in front of my seat on the floor and stretch out my now sore body. I have
suddenly become lonesome for home. Time to write and change into a reality
where I have more control. It is good I can “zone out” into another dimension
that way; it makes home any place at least for a while.
3:41PM EST
Normally, at this time, I would be at home talking to our two younger
children (ages 12 and 15), finding out their schedules for the evening, if car pools
have to be run, to where and what time. My wife and I would have already talked
about what we were doing, usually dinner, a movie, and home by 10:00PM so
I could get some sleep for my 9:00AM Sunday tennis game. I love my life, but
sometimes it is good to go away to remember how precious it is. I feel like a
pioneer going on a faraway mission to an unknown land, and I guess in a way
I am. Well, maybe not so dramatic because I have already been to Hong Kong,
but I can get a little of the feel of what it might have been like to push out to
faraway lands in search of success and adventure. Sleep seems like a faraway
6:31PM EST
We are now heading towards the artic circle over the Queen Elizabeth
Islands. We are going 565 mph at 32,000 feet with the outside temperature
at -46ºC and we have about 10 hours to go. When I write the information, it
normally streams out of me so fast, it is hard to keep up. I am typing so quickly
I often type in a shorthand to get the story out fast enough so I don’t lose my
inspiration. Anyone who reads my original drafts often has trouble following
what is going on, but it seems to work well for me. It is amusing to read what
I have written and notice the “Freudian” words I have typed, not intending
their meaning but getting a funny twist afterwards. When the flow of creativity
wanes, I go back and clean up what is done.
The most fun in writing for me is the initial flow of the ideas; the second
most fun is the second draft; and final editing is a distant third. Being creative,
the kick, the high, has me totally involved and in the moment. There is no
thinking about anything else, just the rush of creativity flowing out. That’s one
reason why I love to write. There is no past or future, simply what is happening
now. Ten hours to go; what can I accomplish in those ten hours? The first thing I
am going to do is go to the restroom; there are priorities, you know. My stomach
is feeling fine now, and I really want a diet coke but am afraid as to what could
happen. There is still a long time until we land, and I don’t want to be in pain
especially on a plane so I’ll stick to water for now.
It is so much fun being on the road when business is good. There is no feeling
of desperation that something has to happen. I need to generate immediate
orders as opposed to going for larger pieces of business for the future. I can
relax and stay open as to what life brings to me, and I can see more to go after.
I feel very strongly about my commitment to our employees and their welfare.
Their jobs are their livelihood, and I never forget that I am responsible to help
them to support themselves and their families and to lead better lives. Being
the boss/owner is a lot of pressure but is also a wonderful position because the
more success I have, the more our people will directly benefit. The more jobs I
can create, the better for everyone. I guess the pressure is there no matter what
the situation but I love it this way. As you can probably tell, I got a long nap in
and am ready to rumble. There does not seem a lot of people here to rumble
with, so I will go back to writing my novel, right after the restroom. Glad I passed
on the soda.
7:14PM EST
We are really near the North Pole, no Santa Claus jokes please. I was taking
a short walk and ended up in the galley. Besides getting a really nice pear, I met
Larry, who is a project manager for a fan company. He is on his way to see his
suppliers in Asia. We got to talking, and I gave him a copy of my book. We supply
labels for fans, and I will send him some samples along with a copy of my last
book. Who knows what can happen? I love this business, an opportunity around
every corner or, in this case, the kitchen. It is always interesting that everyone in
this section of the plane is quickly moving from strangers to real human beings.
Most people are nice, especially if you are good to them.
All right, I have a confession to make. Yes, it is true that the more books I
hand out, the less weight I have to carry. So I am sometimes a little over zealous
about giving them away. But, in my defense, you never know who might like
my writing, and, of course, who might need some printing. By the last day of
my trip, I should have lots of room to bring back souvenirs for everyone. It is
the least I can do since I am away. I should get into Hong Kong early enough so
I can take a walk. I have no idea where my hotel is, but hopefully it is in a nice
place with lots of fresh air. I will then try to get some sleep, wake up as early as I
can, work out, and then spend the day seeing if I have additional customers or
contacts I can go visit.
3:47AM EST
One hour 12 minutes to get to Hong Kong. Since it is Sunday back home,
I would usually be sleeping until 7:30AM, eat breakfast, play tennis, and then,
since it is during the winter, either take a walk or go to my office and work out
in my mini-gym there. The point is to get so tired that I have no trouble getting
to sleep. In this case it is already Sunday night, and I haven’t had that much
sleep so I will just rest and see what happens. With luck there will be a gym in
the hotel where I can start to work out the kinks in my body and if I am really
lucky, a swimming pool will be nearby. Hard to believe I can be halfway around
the world in under 24 hours. Of course, for that matter, I still marvel at email, the
computer, TV, and even the telephone.
5:45AM EST / 6:45PM Hong Kong Time
We got in about half hour ago-great flight and wonderful people. Hong
Kong Airport is not only incredibly efficient but sparkling clean, and again the
people are very nice. I am now on the airport train to Hong Kong where I will
begin the trek to find my hotel. It is dark and the only sounds are the people on
their cell phones and other passing hi-speed trains. I feel like I am on a surreal
ride to a new dimension. I think, at this point, we are under water since the
airport is on an island. I will hopefully be in my hotel by 7:00PM and can go out
for a walk. It will be good to stretch my legs.
11:31AM EST / 12:31AM Hong Kong Time
I was a little apprehensive about the hotel. I got it via the Internet, and
since I had trouble with not knowing about the visa requirement, I was worried.
Happily, my fears were unfounded as we drove up to the Harbour Plaza Hotel
in Kowloon - the other side of the river from Hong Kong. It is gorgeous, and the
people are great. There is even a big gym and an outside pool. When I got in the
friendly bellhop told me there would be fireworks display tonight over the river
at 8:00PM. I went up to the 20th floor and out onto the roof deck where the pool
is located. From there, I watched the fireworks over the water. It was an amazing
spectacle with the lights and lasers shooting out from the tallest buildings over
a skyline that rivaled New York City. It was fantastic and simply teemed with
energy as does this whole town. Then I went out walking/exploring in my quest
for fruits, vegetables, and some souvenirs for the family. I did okay with the fruits
and vegetables but no souvenirs yet. I did pick up some inexpensive DVDs and
a new DVD case. Prices here seem inexpensive in comparassion to the U.S., and
the streets are alive even at 9:30 on a Sunday night.
Everything I packed has been working out great except the adaptor I
brought to plug in my cell phone does not fit. I will try to get one from the hotel
tomorrow. I just checked and it does not look like I need a visa to get into Thailand
so that is one more thing off my mind. My food supplies are holding up well; the
triple-decker organic peanut butter and jelly sandwich and non-fat chocolate
muffin (not organic) were great. I even brought some grapes, strawberries, and
a watermelon, so in addition to the apples and oranges (courtesy of the hotel), I
am in good shape. Tomorrow is unusual since I am not supposed to be here yet;
I have a free day to attack new business leads. My first avenue will be to track all
of my existing customers and see if they have outlets here. My second avenue
will be to go after new potential customers. The third avenue is the shotgun
approach which is to attack anyone who looks like they possibly might need us.
I hope to be asleep by 2:00AM and get up at 7:00 so I can work out, eat, and be
ready to work a few hours later. I know the tiredness will start to hit tomorrow,
so I want to make sure I keep exercising to help keep up my energy levels.
Hong Kong Harbor is famous for its incredible skyline, and I took a walk
along the Kowloon side tonight. It was filled with families walking and young
couples trying to steal some quiet time by themselves. I did not get any sense of
danger about being out late, and everyone seemed friendly. Being somewhat
paranoid, however, while a negative in some aspects, is also good to help keep
me out of trouble.
I spoke to my wife, and everything at home is fine. They miss me as I do
them. She is going away to Florida on the day after I get back and there is a
possible snowstorm coming. I hope the storm holds out long enough for me to
get home and for her to get to Florida. If she has to stay in Florida a day or two
extra, I don’t think it will cause her much concern. Ever since we started dating
we have been a team, helping and supporting one another in everything. I want
to make sure I am back home so she can get the mini-vacation she deserves.
Besides it is fun having the kids to myself for a few days. Our eldest, Ben, is off to
college next year, and the others will soon follow. I have no fear of them being
gone and being alone with my wife. In fact, in many ways I am looking forward
to it, but I want to cherish the time we all have before they leave and start their
lives on their own.
2:02AM EST / 3:02 PM Hong Kong Time
I got up at 7:00AM. It was not easy, did some exercises, ate breakfast which
did not sit all that well, and then decided to make some calls for some new
customers. I first tried to see if any of our current customers have locations in
Hong Kong that I had not already contacted. There did not seem to be any. Then
I was trying to think of what I could sell someone here that they could not get
just as easily from someone around the corner and I then remembered our line
of Braille products.
We make all of the ATM Braille labels for NCR Corporation in the U.S. and
this type of label is not easy to manufacture and not common, so I went onto
the Internet and tracked who would use Braille in Hong Kong. This led me to
a large group devoted to helping the visually impaired, which eventually led
me to the man in charge. After talking with him on the phone, I jumped into a
cab and was off to the backstreets of Hong Kong. As a salesman, I often see the
side of cities that no tourist will ever view. I found the building by cab, and the
gentleman I was seeing was blind himself. I am in awe of people with disabilities
who are able to function as though there was no disability at all. When we sat
down I handed him some of our Braille samples, and we spoke about possible
use in Hong Kong. He referred me to one of the island’s largest banks as I was
leaving, and I was back at the hotel within another half hour. Once there, I got in
contact with the bank and was referred through a few people until I eventually
ended up with the gentleman in charge of their Braille, or so I thought.
I jumped into another cab, and through another section of town, and ended
up in an industrial park. I had the cab wait for me as I made my way through the
buildings. It reminded me of my first trip to Hong Kong seven years ago when
my in-laws took us here for a vacation. After a few days of vacationing, I was
going nuts so I started to do some business. I ended up in an industrial park
that, as chances would have it, was filled with printers. It was amazing that of all
of the buildings in Hong King, I would end with one filled with my compatriots.
I finally found the correct address but figured it had to be wrong because
it was a printing company. It turns out the bank had referred me to their printer,
who was in charge of the printing, distribution, and all related items. Once again
I was back home with members of my own trade. They were interested in the
Braille labels for use in the banks and interested possibly in some metal decals
as well. I left some sample kits, and we agreed to correspond via email. I left and
was back at the hotel in another half hour.
Riding in a cab is just as good as a tourbus in terms of seeing the landscape
and getting a feel for the city. Hong Kong is vibrant and full of people moving
quickly in search of their fortunes. The cab drivers are all the same way, and I was
happy that I had on my seatbelt. I went back on the Internet, but there did not
seem to be any more contacts. So I decided to pack it in for the rest of the day.
This didn’t include the working by phone with the office, and writing, exercising
and maybe swimming. Tomorrow I have two appointments scheduled, and
then it is off to Thailand.
9:58 PM EST / 10:58 AM Hong Kong Time
My stomach has been in rebellion since yesterday. Last night, I tried to eat
sushi but eventually gave up and went back to the food I had brought from
home plus fruit. It seems to be staying down okay, and I eventually got to sleep
about 12:30 last night. I have a major craving for a veggie burger but have been
unable to find one, or a turkey burger for that matter. I just got back from seeing
people at Artesyn, a contract manufacturer and a small current customer. We
spoke about the possibilities for doing more business. Although we are half
a world away, I believe we have a chance to do more. They too seem upbeat
about the advantages we can provide. They were very nice and happy I made
the trip to see them and invited me, the next time I visit, to see their plant in
China. I vowed to make sure I got a visa well in advance of my next trip here.
I left, fortunately getting another cab right away, and went back to the hotel
because my next appointment was not for a few hours. I am scheduled to leave
for my next appointment at 2:00PM and then the airport for Bangkok. Now I
am going to take a walk and try to supplement my supply of bread for the trip.
I already have peanut butter, some bread and jelly, enough cereal, and muffins
to last me until I get home, assuming I find some food here that I can eat. It is
not the fault of the local cuisine; it is simply that my stomach has been doing flip
flops, and I am afraid to take chances. I spoke to my dad, he has had both cancer
and a heart attack over the last decade, and the doctor just found a new type of
cancer. He is in for a long haul of treatments. He’s almost 80 years old, and I am
afraid as to what this will do to him. He taught me everything about business,
as well as being my dad. Coming to grips with the idea that he is in trouble has
not been easy.
3:45AM EST / 4:45PM Hong Kong Time
I am at the Hong Kong Airport! My two calls today went well with a possibility
of continued and more business in the future - all that I could have hoped for. I
am sitting at Gate 42, ready to fly to Bangkok. Looking at the flight board is so
different than in New Jersey. I don’t recognize many of the places, but those I
do sound so exotic like Katmandu. Since I have not been having a great deal of
luck with food I went by an American company food kiosk and bought three
types of sandwiches; hopefully, I will like at least one. The worst case will be that
I end up with peanut butter and jelly again. It may be my worst problem. All I
have to do is get to the next airport; hopefully, my ride will be there, get to the
hotel, arrange for a driver for tomorrow, and then get some sleep. Hong Kong
has been very nice, and I will not mind coming back. I figure I will need to be
at each of our Asian customers at least once a year which means a minimum of
two trips a year to cover everyone. The media here is full of the problems with
the “bird” flu; people are dying, and millions of chickens have been killed to try
and stop the outbreak. As I was leaving, my last customer knew I was going to
Bangkok and warned me not to eat the chicken. It does not make my queasy
stomach feel any better knowing all of this is going on.
6:02AM EST / 8:02 PM Bangkok Time
Oh well, I lost another hour to New Jersey, but by Thursday night everything
will be back to normal. Talk about a great flight: I am the only one in business
class; I have my own flight attendants, they are very cute and I have my own
restroom. So this is what a private jet is like; something to think about for the
future. I am looking out the window at a beautiful sunset spreading over a bank
of dark clouds. Hard to believe I am on the other side of the world from home.
I will call the office when I get to my hotel room but will hold off calling home
until I wake up, so maybe I will get a chance to talk to the kids. On the other hand,
if I am feeling lonely I may call tonight and tomorrow. It is so great to hear my
wife’s cheery voice telling me she misses me and wants me home. It is fantastic
having someone who loves and cares about me and I the same for her.
The food on the plane was not bad, but I threw out the three sandwiches I
bought, oh well.
I can take some more anti-nausea pills when I get to my next stop which
should not only help my stomach, but put me to sleep. I have a big day
tomorrow, and I want to get some rest to be ready. They are still predicting a
snow storm for Friday/Saturday at home. I will be ready to do battle: me against
the elements!
9:50 PM New Jersey Time / 9:50AM Bangkok Time
So much for all of my planning. I got off of the airplane, zoomed through
Immigration and Customs, only to find I had no ride waiting for me and had a
reservation at a hotel that was 12 hours away. Bangkok is not a place where you
want to make a scene, nor in any airport for that matter. I went up to the counter
where hotel reservations are made, gave Ideal Jacobs yo-yos to the two nice
Thai girls there. In no time, I had switched hotels and was off in a cab. Change is
no problem! Bangkok at night is hot and humid. Traveling along the highway,
I was amazed at the amount of billboards that were in English. The hotel was
nice as was the room, but it was too late to get to the gym or the pool. I was
nowhere near sleeping, so I called the office, worked for a while and got to sleep
about 1:00AM. I had plans of actually eating a “regular” breakfast but soon after
I got up, my stomach started feeling queasy again. So I stayed with the food I
brought and felt better. At least I don’t think I am gaining weight on this trip,
one less thing to worry about.
This morning I was being driven by a young man called Ng; he is
competent, pleasant, and his English is good enough where we have no trouble
in communicating. I brought a Billy Joel cassette from home, and we were
listening to it as we made our way to my customer: Flextronics. The roadsides
were full of small huts filled with people selling local delicacies, but things seem
to really get going here after dark when it gets cooler.
The visit to Flextronics went well. The two buyers were nice, and I even got
a lead to another company. The plant here has had some downsizing; they are
losing some business to China, but hopefully they will stay open. It is a major
problem around the world. Manufacturing is constantly moving to the areas of
the cheapest labor. Right now, the prime countries are China and Vietnam, but
soon it will move to the former Eastern Block and Africa. Eventually, it may go
full circle and end up back in the U.S. In the meantime, I will follow the business
wherever it is.
I then jumped back into the car with Ng, and we made our way to the
next stop, Celestica. I had met their counterparts in Hong Kong yesterday
and was anxious to see the manufacturing operation here. Open air shops are
everywhere like our outlet stores. Building construction, unlike home, uses
bamboo scaffolding instead of metal pipes and wood planks. There are minibikes and motorcycles everywhere often carrying more than one rider. Helmet
laws, if on the books, must not be enforced. Like in Hong Kong everyone drives
on the left side. Landscape is a crazy mixture of architecture from old Asian to
modern U.S. to open air bazaars to grasslands and rivers. There are people on
the side of the roads selling rings of flowers for motorists to hang in their cars. It
is a celebration of Buddha and brings good luck to the occupants of the car.
We are now outside of Bangkok in the countryside. The signs are no longer
in English but more likely Thai. The landscape is starting to get mountainous,
and there are fewer open air shops as we go between the towns and cities.
There are coconut plantations and a lot of big farms. It is a beautiful landscape.
2:12AM EST / 2:12 PM Bangkok Time
I got to Celestica around 12:00. After a quick sit-down with two of our
customers, they were nice enough to take me to lunch along with two other
people. Since I had on a suit with long sleeves I decided to jettison the coat
because it was really hot and humid. They took me to an outdoor restaurant
on the banks of the Pataya Sea. The water was filled with pretty fishing boats
that were all huddled together over what must have been a school of fish. My
hosts asked if I liked hot, spicy food and I begged off, saying I preferred bland.
They said that it was no problem. When the food came, out they steered me as
to what I should eat.
I have never been a fan of spicy food, but I was confident that I would be
fine with them watching over me. I boldly spooned some vegetables onto my
plate and unbeknownst to them there was a chili pepper included. As I ate it my
mouth and throat went on fire. I starting drinking a lot of water, which did no
good. So I got some soda and that did the trick. I will say that it did clean out
my breathing areas. The whole lunch was pleasant, and we spoke about life in
Thailand, the U.S. and Malaysia. There was someone from there also. I liked most
of the food, and amazingly enough, my stomach has not felt this good since I
left the U.S. It was one of those moments that would never have happened had
I not taken the time to come over here and meet these wonderful people.
When we got back to the plant, I found out that one of the labels we were
supplying was not reacting properly and that there was a special high heat
application. As soon as I realized this, I knew we had to change the label material
and felt confident we could take care of the problem immediately.
My faithful driver, translator and I then went back to where we had been at
the first appointment to find out way the to the Mattel Corporation to drop off
a sample kit. I got the buyer’s name from the first person I saw. They may have a
label application where we can be of assistance. I hope we can find it and then
back to the hotel.
5:50PM EST / 5:51 AM Bangkok Time
Yesterday ended well; I dropped off the sample kit to Mattel and am
supposed to follow with the prospective customer next Thursday. I got back
to the hotel, went to the gym, the pool and back to my room. I ordered room
service and had scrambled eggs, which were wonderful (I forgot they come
from chickens i.e. bird flu). I also had more fruit and a chocolate non-fat muffin
from home. I am now in the airport ready to take off, hopefully around 7:10AM
for Taipei Airport, where I have a long layover, and then it’sonward to home. I
am tired and ready to be on the plane so I can eat and take a nap. The office
sounds like it is doing great without me; my mind is calm.
7:57PM EST / 7:57AM Bangkok Time
First class to Taipei, all right! Not only that, but there is no one next to me,
this is the living! My stomach is still not great but everything else is fine. The
people of Thailand are amazingly clean and are always making sure everything
is as fresh as possible; people after my own heart!
11:29PM EST / 12:29PM Taipei Time
I am in the EVA Air lounge waiting for my flight back to Newark. I have
this whole wing of the lounge area to myself so I am indulging myself by not
using my headphone and playing my celtic music CD out loud. Granted, it is not
blaring but still a bold move for me. I started doing laps around all of shops in
the area to keep myself loose and to have something to do. Since I have found
an outlet, my power troubles are over, and I may put on a DVD soon, and maybe
take a nap. My thoughts keep going back to my dad. What it must be like to be
told you have cancer twice and suffer a heart attack? When I spoke to him the
other days, his spirits were somewhat up, but I could tell his psyche was taking a
battering. Our own mortality is such powerful element when it comes into play.
Most of us have the luxury of pushing back the idea of our death for as long as
possible; but when a close relative nears the possibility, it also drives it home
for ourselves.
What must it be like to die? I, for one, do not believe you simply are buried
and that’s it. I think that it is a continuing journey, and we are all destined to
come back to the same points in our lives until we can learn enough to go to
the next level.
What will people remember us for? Will they remember us at all? Surely it
is better to be thought of for the good rather than the bad. Making it easier and
nicer for someone else’s path while we strive to do and be our best. My dad and
I have been closer than most fathers and sons since we worked together for 20
years. I have written his epitaph in my mind 100 times. What would I say about
him? What would people say about me?
As for my dad, it is some of the little things that really say who he was and
what he taught me, like teaching how not to get lost in the woods, how to
use a fly rod, how to shoot a gun safely, and how to read music. He taught me
how to be respectful and why it is the best and most efficient way to be. He
encouraged me to learn to protect myself and paid for the martial arts lessons
so I could learn from the best. He also showed me how to be a businessman and
gave me all the tools necessary to utilize my talents to the fullest. I am because
he is and eventually what he was.
Speaking of giving respect, some people just came into the lounge so I
switched to headphones so my music would not disturb them.
I built the business he said he could have but never did. I live in the town
where he said he could have lived and did not. I live the life-style he said he
could have but chose not to. I don’t know if I could have done it without him, so
I guess in a way he did it with me and got what he wanted.
No man of power is simple or easy. They are complex by nature and have to
be taken as a whole. So hard to do especially during the everyday attack we all
participate in to achieve what is possible. My dad retired fully about seven years
ago, and I thought he would die quickly without the business. But the business
to him, while a passion to me, was a means to allow him to live his life the way
he pleased. He became more interested in religion and attended lots of classes;
while still fishing, hunting, with a lot of other hobbies, he did not miss going to
work. I am amazed he could do it so easily, but then again much of what he did
always surprised me.
In the end, I can say about him what I hope people will say about me. He
passed on the knowledge he had and the thirst for more. He possessed the
ability to see the good in people and the striving to make things better. Few
people who had contact would ever forget him; he made his mark.
And so with what I believe, he is now moving towards a new place, full
of challenges that are waiting for a man just like my dad to search out, to see
where the action is so he can become a part of it or maybe even its center.
For the first time in my life, I have actually written about my dad after he is
gone, and I hope I have not just signed his death warrant. Perhaps it is good to
finally write it down; hopefully it does not mean that I will need it soon. Looking
back, I am glad because there were a lot of good things to say.
4:31AM EST / 5:31 PM Taipei Time
I am in the second waiting room getting ready to board the plane to go to
Seattle (ten hours) and then home (four hours). I spent the last six hours waiting
for this flight, and I hope it is on time with no problems. While waiting I took two
walks and then watched Animal House on DVD. John Belushi was wonderful, it
is a shame he died so young. I have not eaten much since breakfast, and if the
plane food is not good, I am going to break out the peanut butter and jelly and
have a feast. In addition, I have one last bag of oatmeal, 1 muffin, pretzels, and a
candy bar, I should be okay until I get home.
7:34AM EST
We are flying over Japan, and I have no idea what time it is here. I now
know it was a definite mistake to eat most of the celery at the airline lounge.
It was also probably a mistake to eat all of the salad and fruit; although I don’t
think the two chocolate muffins have not contributed to a reoccurrence of my
stomach internally combusting. I am so looking forward to getting home later
to take a bath and to sleeping in my own bed. We have less than nine hours to
Seattle, and then another four to Newark. With a lot of luck I might be home by
11:00PM and asleep by 1:00PM and then if at all possible, up at my normal time
of 4:00AM to go to work. I am sure I have a lot to catch up on and would like to
do it as early as possible on Friday. Of course, I am due to play my usual game of
tennis with my brother at 5:00PM and have every intention of being there and
hopefully awake.
A sudden wave of tiredness has come over me – I will sleep now.
10:57AM EST
I fell asleep - about three and a half hours - great! We have about four hours
to go and we are now over the Bering Sea traveling at 676mph, temperature
outside is -86ºF. Estimated time of arrival in Seattle is 11:59AM - 2,262 miles to
go. Once in Seattle, after I go through Immigration and Customs I should have
time to call the office. It will be about 4:00PM there, and I can make any calls
needed before the end of the day.
4:21PM EST / 1:21PM Pacific Coast Time
We are in Seattle! One more flight, and I am back in New Jersey. I called
the office, and everything is fine there. We have a new customer in Brazil, so I
may make a run to Brazil and Europe in May; it will be the last trip of this current
sales swing if I go. I also called my dad; he sounded so bad when I spoke to him
a few days ago. He had left a message at my office a little while ago. It turned
out he got a few more medical opinions about his condition, and it may not be
as bad as originally thought which is great news. It does, however, make me
feel a little weird about writing about what I would say at his funeral. But I have
learned that it is always better to get out your feelings, via writing for me, then
keeping them inside. Hopefully, I won’t have to use those words for a long time.
We should be boarding soon, and I went past the food shops here. Even the
American food I am used to is making me sick, so I plan to eat my own food for
dinner. I found out that you can’t take Beef Jerky through customs, who knew??
I bought if for my employees along with lots of candy from Asia, so I guess they
have to settle for the sweets only. At least they know I was thinking of them.
6:27PM EST / 4:29 Local Time
We are currently flying between Spokane, Washington and Great Falls,
Montana with 3:27 minutes to go. I am the only one in the first-class cabin, and
since I brought my own oatmeal, the flight attendant has very little to do except
smile and make sure I have water and fruit. While in Seattle, I checked in with my
wonderful wife, Wendy, who is due to leave for Florida tomorrow with her sister.
They are going for her mother’s birthday. It is a surprise; so don’t say anything!
She can’t wait to leave to get to the warm weather, see her mother, and get
away from our kids for a while. She mentioned that I seemed to be the only one
who ever asks how the day is going and is happy to see her except for our crazy
dog, Bailey, who is always excited to be around her. The weather people are
expecting one to three inches of snow, and I said not to worry, we would find a
way to get her to the airport. She appreciated my support.
While in Seattle, I also called a good friend of mine, Jim, who is dual-living
in Seattle and Salt Lake City. He appreciated the phone call, even though he
would have liked to see me in person. Being in the same town, though, was
good; trying to get through airport security would have been impractical and
probably futile. It is always good to talk with him and especially great to hear he
is no longer hassling airport security when commuting between his two homes.
When I asked him why he no longer gave them trouble, he replied that they
had changed their attitudes at the Salt Lake City Airport and were much more
pleasant. This was especially good to hear, because I was afraid that I would
get a call one day in New Jersey for either bail money or having to go out west
to get him out of jail. Jim is the kind of guy you want as a friend; he will always
support you 100% and will never back down, which, however, does not come
in handy when going through airports. I have known him for over 20 years and
would do anything for him. I am an incredibly fortunate man and know it.
1:00 PM EST
I got back home last night just before 11:00PM and got to sleep before
1:00AM. Getting up was tough, but I made it in at my normal time, worked out,
and am very happy to be home.
Next week: a one-day trip to Dayton, Ohio attack!!!!
Chapter 
Trip To Dayton, Boston, And Beyond
5:45AM EST
I am once again at Newark Liberty Airport; today I got to Dayton, Ohio,
hopefully an easy one-day trip. One of the big events this morning is the story
of the first successful human cloning in South Korea. The implications across
the board are enormous, but I hope that the medical advances stemming from
it will help all those in need of replacements for various parts of their bodies.
Reality is always so interesting. Little, if anything, surprises me anymore both
on the good and bad sides.
I am supposed to meet with people from NCR Corporation today, many of
whom I have never met in person but only corresponded through telephone and
email. It is fascinating to see what people actually look like for the first time after
doing business for a long time. Do I look like my voice? I often wonder whether
it is actually better to destroy the image we have created by experiencing the
reality by sight. The aura of some of the most romantic and sexiest people I have
ever encountered was destroyed by an actual encounter. Sometimes it is better
to let our imaginations create what is possible as opposed to what is real.
The two new people we hired seem to be working out well, and we are
trying another person today for our “MAC” computer section. Our overhead
is rising but our increasing sales volume seems to be more than justifying the
expansion. I am paranoid about growing too quickly because I hate the idea of
having to lay people off. On the other hand, having large amounts of overtime
is also not the best way to operate over the long term, too much wear and tear
on our employees; there it is a delicate balance to walk.
One of the problems resulting from my being on the road is that my people
have no concept of what it is like being out selling. The idea of the glamour of
business travel is one they hold dear and the reality of grueling rules of the road
are not considered. Therefore, I have to re-assert myself when I come back to the
office to remind my staff who is in charge, owns the company, and fires people,
plus reinforce that I am working really hard and am not off on vacation.
An occasional attitude readjustment is in order to make sure everyone stays
within the framework of one team working towards the benefit of all. I never like
yelling at people or using other forms of discipline but being a nice guy is not
always the mark of a good leader, and I will do what is necessary both to stay on
the road and ensure my company is running as I see fit.
Judging from the last paragraph I am obviously still tired and a little
grouchy, some leftover effects from my trip to Asia last week. I also have to be
careful to view life as it is, as opposed to how it seems after a lack of sleep. On
the great side, business is good and seems to be increasing, so this is probably
a good moment to keep my mouth shut and take a nap.
Reports this morning also center on two British Airway flights were
cancelled because of terrorists threats. My family and I are going to London in
April via British Airways, I hope things are better by then. On that trip, I am going
on to Ireland to see a customer. I will meet them later that first night and then
start my vacation.
My son, Alex, leaves for France later today for a 12-day school trip. He is
incredibly excited. His mother and I are happy for him and obviously concerned
both regarding possible trouble and his first big trip without us. It is easy for me
to go off traveling because I am willing to take the risks. The rough part is for my
wife who gets to worry while I am away. Today she both Alex and myself away,
so she gets double duty in the worry category. Being home base, as she is, can
be a very tough job.
6:35PM EST
My calls went well, and I got some referrals to my customers manufacturing
locations in Canada and Scotland. I am hopeful that I might be able to visit the
Canadian location when I go to Toronto next month. I was back at the airport by
12:30, hoping to catch an earlier plane but alas my 4:50PM flight was the next
one out.
I found a business center at the airport and asked if I could pay to get
in. The nice receptionist waved me through, and I spent a few hours in plush
surroundings with a good seat, a nice bathroom, and power for my laptop. I
realized why there was not an earlier flight. Fate had once again taken over,
when I remembered I was giving a short speech at an upcoming Participants
Association meeting for the Environmental Protection Agency’s Performance
Track conference. I wrote the first draft and then worked on my new novel. I left
the center with plenty of time and boarded my plane on time.
Unfortunately, before we took off, Newark Airport put a stop on us, and we
returned to the gate to wait for approval to leave. Happily, I had already stowed
my suit jacket and overcoat in my traveling bag which was now underneath the
plane so I only had walk around with my laptop case.
I did not have a lot to eat today, so I went looking for sustenance and ended
up with spaghetti and two small salads. Then it was back to the gate and turned
out the wait was less than anticipated. So I am now back on board, hoping to
land about 8:00 which means home by hopefully 8:45PM, not too bad.
I really don’t mind the delay since I have no connecting flight and am going
home. Besides, there is nothing I can do about it except be pleasant to everyone
else. I called my office and they contacted my house. All I need to do is get home
sometime tonight, so tomorrow will be a normal day.
Hopefully, I can see my family for at least a few minutes before I go to sleep.
Alex should be in the air by now, and I hope he has a great time. I am glad I got
the extra chance to say goodbye and tell him I loved him before he left. He is 15
years old, and in a few years, he will be off to college starting a new life. He is a
wonderful, young man, and I am very proud of him.
02/14/04 (Valentines Day)
I got home on Thursday at 8:45, almost two hours later than expected
because there was a problem in the Newark Airport area with a police chase. The
whole airport was shutdown as they apprehended a person who had allegedly
not taken his medicine for schizophrenia that day and went crazy. It is not often
a news event affects me so directly.
Speaking of which, there are now accounts of Bird Flu in New Jersey, but we
have been told it is not the virulent strain that has affected Asia. The last thing
I heard after I left Asia was that they had killed 50 million chickens in an effort
to stop the virus. Scary stuff. If the virus can move that quickly there it would
seem it could do the same thing here. I feel badly for the Asian countries, first
SARS and now the bird flu. Their economies have been hit hard enough not to
mention tourism; I hope these problems are eradicated soon.
Next stop is the Boston area, this time by car on 2/17/04, the day after my
48th birthday. It sounds so old but considering the aging of our population, I
guess it isn’t. Besides, there is no good alternative, therefore I will deal with it the
best I can and have as much fun in a productive way as possible. The proposed
trip to South American and Europe seems possible for May, but I won’t know
for a while. Alex called from France yesterday saying that the airline had lost
the group’s luggage. He has money and a charge card and seems to be holding
up well. I have great respect for him undertaking this adventure. At his age I
never would have done it. He called again today to let us know their luggage
was returned. There is nothing like getting back your stuff; I hope he enjoys the
journey like his dad.
We arrived at our vacation house in the Berkshire Mountains of
Massachusetts yesterday afternoon. Our small house is our gateway, an oasis,
a sanctuary from our busy, wonderful life in New Jersey. My wife says that this
is the only place where I can truly relax. Yesterday, Valentines Day, I got up early
and went biking with my best friend, Dave Williams, or Uncle Dave as we call
him. To meet him at our appointed hour, I had to get up at 4:32AM. By the time
I returned it was 7:45, and the house was crazy with activity with everyone
getting ready for the trip. I love our place here for many reasons, and one of
them is because I have all of my stuff duplicated in the Berkshire so I don’t have
to pack any clothes or sports equipment if I don’t feel like it.
Our dog, Bailey, the crazy Bijon, had to go to the kennel while we were
gone, and my wife asked me to take him there. Now going to the kennel with
Hershey, our previous dog, was an emotional nightmare. She hated going, and I
hated putting her in there. In fact, I was able to schedule most of her life without
going but it hurt my heart every time we did it. It was with some trepidation
that I took Bailey today. But he is a different dog and likes the people at the
kennel, so he went in willingly which made it much easier for me.
I still think about Hershey all of the time. She was my dog, and I still cry
when I think of her because I miss her so much. She loved me and I her, and I
still talk to her even though she is gone. I know that sounds ridiculous, but I still
want to believe she is with us, okay, safe, and warm. I hope when I die she is
there waiting for me and has the same feelings for me that I do for her.
When I got back home from taking Bailey, my older son’s girlfriend was
already there. This will be her second trip with us. We were ready to go. Since I
am going to make sales calls in the Boston area on Tuesday, we needed to take
two cars. My wife had the minivan with the VCR and my daughter, son, and his
girlfriend elected to go with her. Not feeling slighted in the least, I like to drive
alone; I made my way up the New York Thruway, and we all met at a rest stop
to make sure everyone was okay. We then finished the approximate three hour
long journey around 12:30PM. The others went off to lunch and to the mall,
while I chipped the ice on the pathway to the house and went for a short bike
The temperature was supposed to go to 0ºF the next day, so today was
probably my only chance for a bike ride before it got too cold.
The day ended well; the bike ride was wonderful as was dinner and the
companionship. I slept almost nine hours which is a very long time for me.
Today, I exercised here in the house in the morning then took a two-hour walk
into the town of Lenox and up to the old church on the hill. There is a scenic
view above it that I love, especially when the weather was crystal clear as it was
today. It was also very cold, so I only stayed a few minutes and then made my
way back to the house after stopping at the nearby supermarket for food for
I spent the afternoon taking a nap, watching TV, and doing a little work.
Then, after dinner, we went bowling. I am not a good bowler, and neither is
anyone else in my family, but we had a lot of fun anyway. We heard from Alex in
France, and he is having a great time.
It is now 11:51PM, and in another nine minutes, I will be 48 years old. My
birthday is February 16, 1956. It is hard to believe I am that old. I look in the
mirror, see my hair is a little grey, and have some lines on my face. In retrospect,
I have more aches and pains than I used to. Of course, I work out a lot harder so it
is to be expected. I always try to look back and see where I have been and where
I am headed to see if things are going well.
When I was in college I wanted to be head of the evening TV news, a
publisher, and President of the United States.
A lot has changed since then. I went into the family business, got married,
had three great kids and learned, I hope, a lot along the way. I no longer want to
be president; I have trouble being in any meetings lasting longer than an hour.
I am used implementing new decisions and plans immediately, something
anyone in politics can’t do.
I have no urge to be in network news and talking about what other people
have done. I am much happier trying to guide my own life and be responsible
for my own actions, as opposed to talking about the deeds of others. I publish
my own books and hopefully my newest play will have “legs” and actually be
performed. Then, I can move on from there.
My wife and children are healthy, happy, successful as good people, and I
am honored to be associated with them. Our family business has prospered and
a good percentage of the chances I have taken seem to have ended up on the
plus side. I have followed my instincts enough to have proven correct that I will
continue to do so.
What I haven’t been able to do is to let things go. It is a constant struggle
to let the little things that bother me drop from my conscience so they do not
become permanent, small-time baggage. Being slighted, or not treated the way
I prefer, can often result in an inordinate amount of reaction on my side and
does not serve me well. I can’t expect people to behave as I think they should,
even when I see it as is in their own best interest to do so. People are funny that
way and will often do what they wish no matter the consequences. I see many
on a road to destruction that I feel could be prevented if they could just look
long range.
Maybe I can see further than some people, and perhaps I can’t. I think I
know what is best for me and those around me, but I am never sure about others,
which is why I seldom offer advice and only comment when asked. The older
I get and the more experience I garner, the less sure I am of certain things and
the more I trust my first reactions to most situations, while trying to remember
I have been wrong many times before. Since I am far from right all of the time
it is better to watch others and see if I am correct, as opposed to influence the
direction they are headed. This allows me to be a participant in my life and to
be those close to me and a spectator for others unless engaged by them, the
best of all worlds.
But it is hard to stay quiet when I see what is happening, to have the
experience to know what will probably occur and be ignored by someone who
has not traveled the path before. The age old dilemma of people being forced
to walk the same road if they ignore the lessons offered on the first pass. I have
gained a lot by listening and keeping my mouth shut, probably the best advice
I can give to anyone.
The greatest things I have learned, I hope, are the rules of the game. The
playing field is much clearer to me now. I do not sit around hoping something
good will happen. Luck is nothing more than a culmination of percentages
of success. You can achieve anything if you are willing to pay the price of the
battle and have the raw materials necessary to wage the campaign. It is both
comforting and a little anti-climactic to know that it isn’t random. There are no
real accidents. Life is a giant playing board, the pieces move as you dictate if you
are able to join in the game. What appears to be chance is nothing more than a
result of the odds. You can’t base your life on single action but a culmination of
multiple attempts.
Do you want to be a millionaire? It is not a problem if you put out the effort
in the correct way. Do you want to be married, have a family, and a happy home
life? Then you have to seek the right (suitable) mate and pre-think everything,
so your chances of success are maximized. It is not romantic or impulsive but
gives you your best chance for success. The majority of the successful people are
there because they earned it. People are in charge because they usually are the
best ones for the job. Contrary to common belief, most bosses are not stupid,
and most people working for them could not handle the job themselves.
What do I want for my 48th year?
I would like my eldest son to go to college within the year, do well, and
be happy. I would like my middle son and daughter to get along better and
continue to be healthy, happy, and enjoy the remaining years we have together
under one roof. I would like my wife to find something that she would like to
do as the kids need her less and be happy doing it. I would like my parents
and in-laws to be happy, healthy, get along better with each other, and if they
become ill to not suffer over the long term. I hope our business continues to
prosper and grow. I still like being on the road and come back here as much as
possible so I can “truly” relax. I hope I can continue to hire more people and
promote them to better jobs than they ever thought they would have. I hope
I don’t stop dreaming of what could be or don’t stop playing it safe because
then life would become mundane and boring which would surely be a waste.
It is 12:20 - officially my birthday. Time for sleep and new dreams; I can’t wait to
start a new year!
Just a reminder regarding the above, whenever anyone thinks they have
things figured out, especially life, then that person is often dealt a curve ball.
Hopefully, I will never think that I know anything well enough where I am
not ready for a “quirk” that can always happen or for a general change in the
landscape. For instance, in the printing business when the computer was
invented, it lead the way to desktop publishing and digital printing which
sounded the death knell to a great percentage of the offset printers throughout
the world. Or, as that famous axiom states (and I wish I knew who to attribute
it too), just when you think you are getting ahead in the rat race, they bring
in bigger rats. Solution: it is okay to think things are going well but absolutely
never, ever slow down in your efforts and dedication, unless you are retiring
tomorrow with plenty of money in numerous places.
3/20/04 (I just realized I forgot to finish this log.)
On 2/17/04, I left our house in Lenox, and it was about -3ºF – mighty cold.
All of sales calls that day went well, and it warmed up to a toasty mid-20s during
the day. I made it home to New Jersey about 7:30PM that night after having
driven over 11 hours. I tell myself that it is too many miles for one day but I
still might do it again. As always, it was great to actually see the customers, the
people are really nice; and there is nothing like personal contact to bring all of
the relationships to a higher level. I got up the next morning as usual, back to
my daily regimen and the life I love.
Chapter 
The Trip To Salt Lake City
5:09AM EST
This is the second to last trip of this current sales swing. I will hopefully
arrive in Salt Lake City, a five-hour flight, in the late morning (three hour time
change). I am scheduled to speak at an OSHA (Occupational Health and Safety
Administration) Conference for all those groups involved with their voluntary
programs, SHARP and VPP. My job is to tell people why the SHARP program
has been important to my company, why we wanted to be in it, and lastly (as
a motivational speaker) to get the audience excited about the good work they
are doing.
I know it sounds strange that I will be motivating them about the
importance of their own programs, but OSHA personnel are constantly being
treated like IRS auditors as opposed to the agents they are, fighting for better
working conditions. More importantly for me, however, is plugging the holes of
inefficiency which lead to higher profits and the ability to compete worldwide.
One of their people is actually meeting me at the airport, which means I do
not have to either get a cab or drive and certainly get lost. I always get messed
up even with directions, so this is one little stress point I do not have to deal
with. I checked this hotel; it even has a pool so I am carrying my bathing suit and
goggles. I will hopefully get a chance to get into the water. Since I trained for
a triathlon a few years ago (where swimming was involved), I have missed not
frequently being in the water. By the way, although I trained for that triathlon, I
got the flu the week it was to occur so I never actually participated in the race.
In retrospect, and at that point also, I was not sorry that I did not do it. I would
have probably severely have strained my body and possibly caused permanent
damage. I am incredibly grateful for the body I have and try not to abuse it,
except, of course, for not enough sleep. Being stupid by training for that
triathlon taxed my system badly, and I will hopefully never do anything that
dumb again. I work out a lot as it is and do not need a cause to work towards to
make myself exercise more.
Airports are not so bad in the morning, but they can get pretty lonely
at night. The airport club for this section opens at 5:30AM, and I think my
Continental Airlines card will get me in (it is a Deltas Airlines Club). That means, I
hope, clean bathrooms, free water, and an easy place to charge my laptop. I got
here extra early this morning, so I will probably have at least 45 minutes in there;
a place of peace in a crazy environment sounds good to me.
The first three months of this year were excellent, and so far April has
been good so I am traveling with relative peace of mind as far as business is
concerned. We hired a few more people over the last few months including two
part timers, and if things go well, we may make them permanent. The overhead
is growing. Our new press line should be up and running within the next month
,and I am continually nervous that we are expanding too quickly. But we have to
keep our level of service high. I would rather have the worry of having too much
capacity than too little. In the meantime, we are making money and moving
ahead. It is 5:30AM. I hope the club is open and will let me in.
7:37AM EST
The lounge worked out well, except I forgot to top off the charge on my
laptop battery. I have a spare so I should be fine anyway. I am now listening to
Clannad, an Irish group that I love. My family does not, so I listen to them when
I am alone. Ireland has always been a place of fascination for me, from watching
John Wayne in The Quiet Man, to listening to Celtic music to watching Michael
Flatley dance; it seems like a place of wonderment. My six-hour stay there last
time, I was in the United Kingdom and it did nothing to diminish its appeal. I
hope to one day get back there and maybe take a few Irish clogging (dance)
lessons. Again, my family thinks I am crazy, but we are all used to that.
I like going to see groups of people and talk to them about health and
safety, environmental systems and how the better they are, the more money a
company will make. They are usually surprised when I do not say they should
reduce their enforcement efforts. In fact, I feel the opposite. If people are
polluting or are allowing potential hazardous areas in their workplaces, I think
they should be persuaded/forced to fix them. Hazards affect everyone, and I
never understood why people in management felt it wasn’t worth the effort or
expense to make things better especially when they are as much as risk as the
people on the shop floor.
My wonderful wife, Wendy, got me a pair of the new BOES headphones
that block out some sound while the music is on. They are amazing and stop a
lot of the airplane/train noise from invading my space.
I try to be prepared, but for some reason I keep forgetting to bring
napkins. My breakfast of oatmeal, water, raisins, cinnamon, and a banana is
mixed and ready to go, but I am waiting until I can get some napkins from the
flight attendant. This mixture can get messy, and I would rather not use my
handkerchief for the purpose.
I will either to practice my speech on this flight or wait until later and do it
while working out. I will probably do it two more times before I am scheduled
to speak tomorrow morning. Hopefully one of them will be in the actual room
where it will be delivered. I usually get nervous the day before and sometimes
start writing notes about what I am going to say. Except for thanking the people
who invited me, I now rarely use any notes when giving this speech. If you use
slides or anything other device where the room is darkened, most people,
especially men, start to fall asleep right away. I know it is an automatic reflex for
me, and you can’t get a message across to people if they are dozing. You have to
look them in the eyes and hold their attention. I find it is much more interesting
for me when people are talking to me versus reading from notes and since I
normally give a variation on the same speech I can usually do this.
I almost have my napkins - time for breakfast.
4: 47AM MST
I am sitting in the bathroom of my hotel room in the Marriot Hotel in
downtown Salt Lake City. I needed to recharge my laptop and the only unused
plug was in here. So my laptop is on the counter, and I am sitting on top of the
toilet. I must say this is the first time I have ever typed in this position. I got to
the hotel yesterday, courtesy of one of the really nice OSHA people from my
region back home. Michael is a great guy, and we spoke about the conference
on the way over. I also found out that his parents have a part-interest in a bed
and breakfast in Ireland. I find people fascinating and how their lives spread so
far either through their work or relatives.
After getting to the hotel, the meeting was in progress so I spent part of the
afternoon visiting the new OSHA laboratory in town. It is a new, state-of-the-art
facility that can test for virtually anything involving health and safety, things
like checking why a rope or wire broke, causing sometimes some very serious
Last night I had dinner with some of the heads of the SHARP program. The
conversation got around to how to let other small business people know about
this program and the incredible, free benefits they offer. It is a tough thing trying
to change the previous image of “OSHA, the enforcement people who want to
fine and put you in jail” to those who want to help you to be better.
I offered all of the resources of my company, including the actual statistics
of how health and safety have made major contribution to my bottom line. If
we all work together, the message can be sent and understood that voluntary
compliance and improvement is the only way toward higher profits in the future
and to actual survival in the coming years.
I will give my speech at 8:30 this morning, and they are supposed to
videotape it and then use parts to send to their higher-ups at OSHA to help
modify their programs as to how to market SHARP. Not too much pressure to
do a great job - hah! I will now work out, go downstairs, and run through my
speech, eat breakfast, and meet the boss Tyna at 8:00AM. Interestingly, my
philosophy regarding systems has actually gone through a radical change.
I no longer feel that quality=money and environmental health and safety
betterment. Now I feel you can’t get to maximize your profits without the best
in environmental health and safety. It is no longer cause and effect, you have to
have the systems already in place for any chance at the maximization of making
the most money.
2:33MST - Salt Lake City Airport
I went on as scheduled this morning, and judging by the response, the
people seemed to like what I said and how I did it. One of the heads of the
SHARP program was in the audience and asked me how SHARP could convince
other small companies to be willing to act as case studies and release some
data about their companies. I said I would call them for her, and she seemed
very pleased as was my main contact there. I am hopeful that OSHA SHARP can
have an immediate impact out in the field, reaching out to small businesses
across the country because they seem to have a lot more communication and
cooperation between the local, state, and federal groups than EPA.
We got an unexpected award as Employer of the Year for OSHA SHARP. This
is a big deal, and I am very happy as is my staff since they will now have “Pizza
Day” as is our custom whenever we win awards. Actually, it might be barbecue
day, but someone is going to have to cook, so we will have to see when I get
It was a great group to be in front of and I enjoyed it a lot. After I was done,
I gave out copies of my book and talked to a lot of people. For lunch, I ventured
into the massive foot court area that was part of the mall attached to the hotel
and found a Greek restaurant. After sampling their vegetarian falafel I bought
two more for my dinner so they are in my bag. I also bought some new DVDs
to watch on my travels, or in the office while exercising and I am ready for my
trek home. A few months ago, I joined the Continental President’s club to get
into their airport lounges. Happily, Delta is one of their partners; I am sitting in
their facility as I write. I just called home, and my daughter Kayla answered. She
had a great day, although one test did not go well. I said not to worry that she
can make it better later. All of my children brought home great report cards
last week, so I am confident they are all handling school well. I have about an
hour and 20 minutes until I get to the gate and will soon have to make the
momentous decision about whether to eat before the plane or while in flight.
Since it is two hours later in New Jersey, it is actually 4:40PM there now. With
luck, I will be home by 12:00 tonight and asleep by 1:00AM. I fully plan to be up
at 4:00AM and have a normal day with a nap in the early afternoon.
I offered my services to a lot of people at this meeting and hopefully
some of them will contact me. I like spreading the word about the monetary
advantages and necessity of great health, safety, and environmental systems.
Besides, it is wonderful exposure for our company and great advertising for
getting business. As it is now, I only have one more trip after tonight in this sales
swing and then I am clear until September. I am looking forward to a bunch of
weekends at our house in the Berkshires this summer.
I spoke to Gary, our accountant, yesterday; he was in our office making sure
everything was in order. So far this year has been very good for sales and profits,
and I will endeavor to keep them that way as much as I can. As I have said, it is
much easier being on the road when business is good and I am not pressured
to close sales immediately. I would much rather work on long-term pieces of
business which have a much greater chance of return.
9:39PM EST
We should be back at Newark Airport in about 90 minutes. I called home
before and Ben answered. It turns out he has a jazz band concert tonight and
will be home late, which means I might get a chance to see him before he goes
to sleep. I am pretty sure everyone else will be asleep, except maybe my crazy
Bijon, Bailey, who may want a final pit stop in our backyard before calling it a
night. I don’t know why I call him crazy; he is no more nutty than I am. Perhaps
they are right when they say the dog takes on the characteristics of the owner,
or is it the other way around?
I met a woman today at the conference, gave her a copy of my book. and
After reading it for a while, she engaged me in a conversation about spirituality
and the various roads that people take to arrive at the same conclusion. We both
wondered why we all had to fight about the path when the final destination was
so close as to be the same. As my dad always said to me regarding sales, he did
not care how I did it, as long as the road was a moral one and the results were as
desired. It also reminds me of the deal we made with our children with studying.
Do it any way you like, we told them. They can have the television blaring in their
face as long as their grades were good; it was their business how they did it.
As life goes on, I become more convinced that there is no one right way
to do anything, especially going from person to person. No one sells quite the
same way I do nor exercises the same way either. I should not be judgmental as
to the method employed only to the results that occur. Perhaps it is being the
third child in my family, or the son of an extremely strong man, I have always
tried to negotiate when wars around me erupted, not wanting to see the pain
of conflict and the energy lost from wasted effort. But it does drive me crazy
when I see the people I care about going down roads I know will not lead to the
cause they seek and will not listen to me. Why do people have to learn all the
hard stuff themselves? Why can’t they take counsel from people who have done
it before them and failed? I like to think I have avoided a great deal of trouble by
taking the advice of those before me; but to do that, you first have to admit you
don’t know something and want to learn from someone else.
I used to be much better at wanting to learn from others. The older I get,
the more impatient and the more unwilling I am in trusting that people have
knowledge in an area I seek. Perhaps, that is sad or a sign of the hardening of my
learning arteries. I spent too many years taking in information coming in a very
harsh manner. It hurt as it was absorbed in, and even though I was able to use
it to my betterment, the pain of the infusion became increasingly hard to take.
The more successful I have become, the less I am willing to endure the process.
It is a war within myself to stay open. I need to stay able to see areas where I
can learn much faster through the experience of others then going through it
Knowing the pain that it causes, I try to pass on knowledge in a kinder,
gentler manner. I am sure I am not successful all the time, but I do try. At this
point with my children, the main things I try to convey is a strong feeling of
morality, dedication, kindness and working as hard as they can for the chance to
get what they want. The best and only way I can do that is through my actions.
They watch me all the time as a source of consistency and strength. Just in case
I do something out of character, they can point it out and question my resolve.
It is natural to think that people will take the easy way out and go for the quick
feeling of success. My kids are always checking to make sure things are the way
they seem. It is the most awesome responsibility I have, the trust of my wife and
my children; I would never do anything to shake their belief in who I am. I try
never to forget that I live not just for me but as a standard for those in my life. If
it is okay for me to cheat, be negative, unkind, unfeeling, immoral, or untrusting,
then everything else I have ever stood for is also suspect.
Those who say “do as I say and not as I do” are fools. A double standard works
for no one, and the person preaching it loses the most. You can’t speak from a
false pulpit or lead, if you are selfish and don’t care for the people following you.
If you want to be the boss and or the dad, and I do, then you have to take the
good with the bad. You can’t do some of the things you might have done had
you been on your own. I don’t care; I would rather have the chance to spread
some good that could exponentially pass onto others than a momentary lapse
that would be regretted the second after it was done. It is now 10:10PM and
time for sleep; I hope I get home soon and someone is up.
I am after a new piece of business. It involves a group of relatively simple
polycarbonate labels and is for a division of one our customers that we have not
yet broken. I first went to see the potential customer in Chicago a few months
ago, and he mentioned he might have some business. I offered to make free
prototypes. Even though he had no drawings, artwork or any documentation,
we created a new product from his old samples. It is very difficult to match
the colors exactly when you are going from an old product, especially when it
various across the old samples but we came close and the customer was very
happy that we made the effort, but it wasn’t good enough. We have to take
this business from another supplier, however; the buyer said that he needed a
100% match of the old samples before he persuaded his people that a switch
to us would be seamless. We have been paid nothing so far, I have not asked
for money, but it is well worth the risks for the possible benefits. If I want the
chance at the business, then we were going to have to do more, we have to
satisfy everyone involved and convince them that they can trust us to supply
them in the future. We are going back to press now; new samples will be ready
Ever since I was a little kid, I loved the way clocks glowed in the dark. The
green paint seemed to have a life of its own and just kept glowing all night
as I watched in horror, realizing I wasn’t sleeping again. So. few months ago
a man contacted us regarding photoluminescent labeling. Actually, he called
us because of our experience with Braille labeling. He supplies glow-in-thedark evacuation signs for buildings. He was being asked for signs with Braille
and wanted to know if we could add it to his existing product. After looking
at his samples, I realized that we could add Braille labels to them but offered
the option of making the whole signs from scratch. He was interested, as he
was now getting most of his product from a company outside the U.S. and was
looking for a lower cost, faster, and domestic supplier.
We started research on the photoluminescent pigment and began a
worldwide search for high quality powder. After a bunch of false starts and
unsuccessful tests, we have finally arrived at a point that we are producing our
first small job that will be ready at the end of this week. If it works, it could
mean a great deal of business. But his switch to us as a supplier, again, has to be
seamless. We have not asked for any money. If we are successful, then we will
make our money later.
You can ask a potential customer for a chance at his/her business, but you
can’t ask him/her to pay you for your efforts. You are asking someone to trust
that you can become him/her prime vendor without causing any problems in
price, delivery, or service. You are asking for a great deal of trust to try you in the
first place, asking him/her to pay also will generally not happen and shows you
don’t understand the reality of the situation.
Selling is like a mating dance. Both sides need to see that possibilities for
a fruitful, lasting union. You can’t ask or expect anything when you are getting
the chance to get what you want. If the other person is willing to give you a try,
then it is up to you to give them everything necessary to make his/her decision
easy. You need to take away all of the roadblocks so you can get onto the playing
field and take command. All you need, all you can reasonably ask for is a chance
to show what you can do, and your actions will show your potential customer
the rest. But being patient is a tough thing especially when you have already
put out a lot of time, energy, and money. You know the odds are against your
success in any new area. It is tough to keep trying as your expenses mount up,
and satisfaction still seems to be in the future.
In both of the examples above, many people would have given up, but we
will persevere until we find the business we are after. Unless the potential sales
are not there or the customer deems us unworthy. It will not be a matter of us
not going all the way in terms of our efforts. I will always take these kinds of
chances, money, time, and effort are what we bring to the table. To be the last
supplier standing, all I need is someone to give us a chance.
Chapter 
Log for The Netherlands
10:17PM EST
Like my other logs this one started days before the actual journey. When I
got into my office last Monday, I opened an email from the wife of an old friend.
My good buddy, Dino Lambros, had passed away the previous weekend after
an extended illness. He had been fighting for his health and life for years. I guess
he just got too tired and his body finally gave out.
I knew how hard things had been for him and his wife, Jeannie, but I still was
stunned to think it had finally happened: my friend, Dino, had died. Yesterday
was the viewing and today the funeral. As it turned out, I was going to be down
in South Jersey to see a new potential customer yesterday morning anyway, so I
decided to go to the viewing, (also in South Jersey), as opposed to the funeral.
All of Monday, there were emails going back and forth amongst Dino’s
friends and colleagues remembering what a wonderful person he was and how
much we would all miss him. I alternated between almost crying and thinking
happy thoughts about how great he was and how much I already missed him.
After I saw to the customer yesterday morning, it was only 11:10AM. The
viewing was not until 2:00PM and close by, so I decided to do something I had
been contemplating for a long time. I was near the Jersey shore and the place
where my family used to spend our summers. It was during the late 1960s, I was
in my early teens and just starting to discover not only the opposite sex but how
to communicate with them. It has been a long journey, and I am still learning my
way around them but it all began there. I decided I wanted to go back to see the
place where I first spoke to a girl and actually lived to tell about it. Truthfully, I
only said good morning, and she said the same thing back, but it still counts.
I started my journey through Asbury Park, home of the boardwalk where
we used to go during the summers. I remember it as a wonderful combination
of the smells of tar, the ocean, and chocolate. It was a great place full of booths,
games, food and girls; we kids loved going there. Unfortunately, much of
Asbury Park has fallen on hard times but the boardwalk is still there as are my
memories. I drove through the town of Deal and then Elboran, the site of many
elegant summer mansions of the wealthy people of past generations.
I kept driving and was suddenly at the entrance to the swim club where we
used to stay. The red church was still across the street exactly as I remembered
it. I drove into the parking lot, which basically looked the same only much
smaller. Of course, in 1968, I was smaller so it is probably the same size. I parked
the car and walked past the no trespassing signs. I had on a tie so I did not look
like an intruder. I saw some men painting the buildings. I told one of them I used
to come here as a boy and asked if I could look around. He waved me through
with a smile. I went back in time, suddenly swimming back in my memories.
The two swimming pools were as I remembered them as was the beach
front, although somewhat smaller. The ocean was just as beautiful as were the
waves in the surf. The snack bar where I used to buy hot dogs, cokes and frozen
candy bars looked also familiar. The awning to one of the buildings that we had
accidentally burned a hole through with a lit sparkler 40 years before was not
there but the apartments where we stayed had not changed. I remember Holly
Sklar, an older woman; she must have been 15 standing at the top of the steps
looking gorgeous and was so unattainable. I kept walking to the other side and
stopped at that fateful spot where I first spoke to the girl. It looked the same as
it had back then. Sometimes things do not change.
Even with the breeze, it was still very hot, and since I was dressed for work,
I wanted to get back to my air-conditioned car. I then drove around the lake
across the street, where I spent so much time fishing and trying to exercise off
the weight that cursed me until I started heavily working out a few years later.
A lot of memories are in that place, adolescence, the yearning to be different
than I was and slowly learning that it might be within my own power to change
myself. Only later did I realize how much effort it would take and how happy I
would be if I paid the price.
It was time to go to the viewing, but first I needed to get lunch. I was not
looking forward to the afternoon, but it was something I had to do, I owed it to
Dino to say goodbye, and it was not an option to leave. I got lost looking for the
Garden State Parkway, as usual, stopped at a McDonald’s, bought some iced tea,
then went into a delicatessen and got a sandwich. From there I made it to the
funeral home with a half hour to spare. I took a quick nap in my car and when I
woke up, there was another car next to me. I got out to talk to the people. I was
still 15 minutes early and it turned out it was Dino’s brother and his family. Then
another car came with Dino’s wife and more relatives. They were a little early
so they could have some time alone with Dino. I said that I would wait outside.
They seemed very happy I was there and asked me to come in with them.
Certain religions have closed caskets at their viewings; others have open.
In this case, it was open but I rarely go up to see the body. In cases like this, I
found myself in line waiting to pay my respects. It was very sad. Dino had been
a great guy, and everyone was heartbroken both by how much he suffered and
the fact he was gone. As I made my way up to him I forced myself to actually
look. It wasn’t Dino; I mean, it was his body but you could see the life force was
gone. He had already gone to a different place, his soul had moved on, and I felt
much better thinking the transition had already been made. I said farewell to
my friend and figured we would meet again some day. I turned, said goodbye
to his brother, and left feeling much better.
I always heard the tradition of the open casket was from the olden days
to prove the body was really there but after yesterday I think there might be
another reason. Looking at Dino was final, he was definitely gone and it put
closure on a lot of feelings I was having before I went in.
I drove back up to my office and got ready for last nights softball game, a
very welcome end to a tough day. It was almost 90º out, and our girls, including
my daughter, were not anxious to play. In fact, we did not have enough players
to start and were considering a forfeit, but a few more players came. My head
coach said that I could “call” the game, which meant I picked all of the positions
for the girls each inning. We were playing a team that was better than us, at
least last night they were, and we got beaten 18 to 1. Not one of our greatest
efforts, and I don’t think pro baseball will be calling me to coach anytime soon.
But it still was enjoyable just to be out there.
This morning, I was due to play tennis with my instructor, Paul, but he called
me at 6:00AM in my office. To say he wanted me to play with another man
instead of him. Jack, the other player, is really good, and I call him the “human
backboard.” He is known for never, ever giving up on a point and running like a
maniac. Besides that, he has great ball control and is very tough mentally. I first
did not want to play him, but he is such a nice guy that I decided to make sure
he got a chance play since his partner could not come.
We started playing, and after 15 minutes of continuous running I was
already really tired. But I kept going and almost won two games, which is the
best I have done against him. He is easily three or four levels better than I am,
but I got a fantastic workout, which meant traveling tonight should be calm.
The rest of the day went well. Happily, business has been good. I got to the
airport with plenty of time for my 7:05AM flight to Amsterdam. Only problem
was a row of thunderstorms that followed me and we ended up delayed. I
ventured to the Continental Airlines lounge and I met Rich. Rich told me he
was in pharmaceutical testing for new drugs, and I figured he was a technician.
Sometimes I am not a very good judge of things; it turns out he is a PhD and MD
and helps run the whole program for his company in a large part of the country.
After talking with him, I could easily tell he was intelligent and loved his work.
He was currently testing for new cancer drugs, and you could tell he was doing
very important work.
He also travels like a maniac. His record is 20 flights in one week. I could
also see the first signs of burnout. Not because of the pace and the flights, but
because he has the urge to work for himself and has not been ready to take
the plunge. Working for other people is great as long as it is something you
want. But when you think you can do it better on your own, it is only a matter
of time before you have to try or end up unfulfilled. The moment of truth will
come and he will have to decide where his destiny will lead. He is obviously very
competent, and I feel good knowning that he is charge of the drug testing that
could one day help us all. Rich was on his way to Orlando, Florida. I hope his
delayed flight took off in a timely manner.
It is now 10:48PM and we are over the Atlantic Ocean past Labrador. We
have about four hours to go, and if all works well I might get an hour of sleep
before we land. I also will try to shave, if it is not too bumpy. A car and driver
should be at the airport to meet me, and I will change in the backseat. I hope
it is not a female driver. However, it is Amsterdam so who cares about that
anyway? If I have any energy left I will try and workout and maybe take a walk
before tomorrow night’s dinner. I have been told the Red Light District should
not be missed, if nothing else just to see it. Being germ-phobic, anti-drug and
loving my wife there is nothing I would do there anyway, but it would still be
interesting to look around.
Friday morning I have nothing planned as of yet but I have to be at the
airport by 11:00AM. I do not have a lot of time for anything so I’ll see what
happens. My gosh! An unplanned two hours for Friday morning, how unlike
me! My plane is supposed to arrive back at Newark on Friday at 3:30PM. I only
have carry-on luggage. If everything works perfectly, I will go by the office, not
even stop in, pick-up my car, and try to make my normal 5:00PM Friday tennis
game with my brother. I know it sounds crazy, but I love trying for the seemingly
impossible. Just getting on the court will be a triumph. Besides, it will feel good
to loosen up. By then, hopefully, I will have had some sleep.
Speaking of sleep, I guess drinking the tea I just had with caffeine may not
have been too smart. But I am on “traveling time,” which means if I get four hours
out of every 24, then I should be able to function. I will doze in the car between
meetings and dinner. The worst thing you can do is try to force yourself to relax.
I may take two anti-nausea pills; they usually make me drowsy; an hour or two
of sleep would be a good thing.
It is now 11:25PM. I have been up since 4:00AM and have had one nap; time
to try for sleep, right after I brush my teeth.
5:45AM EST /11:49AM Netherlands Time
Did you know that Holland was part of the Netherlands? I did not know
that. I am in Holland - land of tulips, windmills, and I think chocolate which is
great news for my people at the plant as I will bring them some. We landed at
the airport in Amsterdam at about 8:45AM Netherlands time; I actually got a
few hours sleep on the plane.
I was met by my driver for the day, Johann, who happily seems to know
where everything is. I fixed my breakfast: cereal and water in the car. It leaked a
little, but I had plenty of paper towels, given to me by Johann, so it was no big
This morning I met with a few people from Aimsys systems, with whom
we have been doing a small amount of business. My goals were two-fold. First
,to meet my main contact, a man named Theo, and secondly to try and make
sure all conditions were right for doing more business. My timing was good as
they were just starting to manufacture their own products. We have a chance at
some more work over the next few years. I like to think we offer our customers
everything, including free artwork, tooling, stocking, website tracking, fast
deliveries, good quality, and being ISO 9001-2000 and 14001 registered. But I
still have to get them over their resistance of dealing with a supplier who is
from America. Thankfully, they agreed with our advantages and seemed very
pleased with us. Since they were going into mass production for some of their
parts, I will also be able to offer some very substantial discounts on their labels,
based on annual projections. Hopefully we will be doing business together for
a long time.
I am now on my way to see a designer who does some work for the
customers I just left. I hope to take him to lunch and talk about doing business
together. As for now Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young are on the CD player, and I
am going to sleep for a while.
10:06 AM EST / 4:06 PM Netherlands Time
My trusty guide and driver, Johann took me to the second destination, which
was Lencom, a design firm whose chief members used to work for Lucent. Both
of the two higher-ups I met with were anxious to join forces with my company
to try to gain a niche hold in various areas of China. They too were skeptical of
how a printer from New Jersey could compete in the world marketplace but
after talking for a while I showed the advantages in the special areas where we
excel. They agreed that we had something great to offer.
We decided that they would help me through their contacts in design, and
I would do the same for them with ours in labeling. After we spoke for a while, I
got really hungry so they took me to a local restaurant, which was definitely not
a tourist place. The menus were in Dutch and the place itself was a converted
house. It was beautiful. The food was interesting, but the strangest thing was
suddenly hearing Barry White singing on the radio. Who would have thought
that the Dutch liked Barry White, but then again, why not?
I have been trying to get more business in China and helping each other
is just one other way it might happen. Often one avenue will not work. It takes
multiple positions and attempts before any initial sales can be made. The more
we try, the better our chances in multiple areas; the odds never fail. However,
I would like to start this relationship with my helping them so I do not feel
beholding. I will use my contacts lead the way to new business for them.
After lunch, Johann dropped me off at my hotel. After having passed out
every time I sat in his car, I am finally awake. I am supposed to have dinner
tonight with a former Lucent industrial designer named Daniela; she now has
her own design firm here in the Netherlands. It will be good to see her again.
4:31 EST Time / 10:31 PM Netherlands Time
Dinner with Daniela was an experience. She is one of the most international
women I have ever met. By that I mean, her experience in life has been so
global that the world’s borders do not seem vast enough to contain her. She
used to work for Lucent Technologies in the U.S. and also in the Netherlands,
but now she has her own design company. I found it fascinating talking to her
about design big companies, world politics, life, and everything else. A global
viewpoint is not only refreshing but also extremely rare in the United States so
I had a very good time.
After dinner, she took me on a tour of the famous Red Light District in
Amsterdam. Picture an uptight, conservative 48-year-old American whose right
hand rarely leaves his pocket, due to wildly clutching his passport to make sure
it has not been stolen. Now picture a beautiful dark-haired 30-year-old designer
leading me around some of the wildest sites I had ever seen. Prostitution, as
well as drugs, is legal here and the women (all shapes, sizes, and nationalities)
stand in front of windows. They try to make eye contact with the people going
by and entice them into their rooms. When successful, they close the curtains
and turn off the red light above their door showing they are “busy.”
It must have been comical watching an uneasy American (that would be
me), being taken to all of the “best spots” by a woman and constantly looking
around to see who was watching. It was a group of moments I will never forget;
I will probably never go back again, but it is sure was fun and interesting,
especially with a free-spirited guide who knew the best places to go.
After my tour ended, I bade Daniela thanks and farewell and went in search
of a store to buy some fresh fruit. Unfortunately, my quest was not successful,
but I am now eating one of my nonfat chocolate muffins and it is very good. I will
watch some TV and then try to sleep. I need to leave for the airport tomorrow
morning at 10:45AM which gives me lots of time to workout and have breakfast.
I will relax when I am on the plane. I called home before and spoke to my wife,
I am homesick already.
5:51 AM EST / 11:51 AM Amsterdam Time
I had set my new telephone alarm clock to wake me at 7:00AM. Unfortunately
as tech-recessive as I am nothing happened. I woke up around 9:30. Obviously, I
needed the sleep. Yesterday was a great but really tiring day. Foregoing my free
breakfast with the hotel, I went for a walk, came back, and checked out. I had
a taxi for the airport, and the man said it would cost 40-45 Euros. I had 55 and
change left so I thought I was okay. As we drove to the airport, I got the feeling
this driver was more than just a worker. Sure enough, he was a young man
who owned the whole company. He was upset with the Euro cutting into the
profits of his business, as opposed to a few years ago when Holland had their
own currency. This, combined with the aftermath of 9/11 and the slow down of
American tourist trade, had caused a decline in his profits.
We began talking about business and politics and agreed that we had high
hopes for the next few years, if another new disaster does not befall the world.
As I watched the meter, I realized I was just going to make the cab fare. Then
we hit traffic; but as we stopped I calculated that if I gave him everything I had
I would be fine. So with a sigh of relief and a wave of farewell, I left him, the city
of Amsterdam, and entered into the airport.
What a place this, it is KLM Airlines’ Hub and it is gigantic. It took me about
ten minutes just to walk to the place to check in. Once there I met a group of
crazy Americans who were on their way back from spending a week here. They
seemed like a lively bunch. We were sitting in the same section, so the trip back
should be entertaining.
As it turned, out my room last night, was fine and the best part was it was
quiet. It actually had a window that opened so I could get in fresh air. Maybe that
is one reason I slept so long but in actuality I got up at 3:30AM US time which is
only half hour earlier than usual. I am hoping to catch the office by telephone
before I get on the plane because once I land and get through customs I will
have very little time before tennis.
Tomorrow morning I will get up early to bike with my best friend Dave
Williams. Then I go to our local synagogue where the daughter of good friends
is being Bat Mitzvahed. I am scheduled to usher and help keep order. My good
friend, the Rabbi, there is very pleased that I will be working, as there will
probably be over 100 twelve to thirteen year olds all sitting together, ready to
make noise.
I am somewhat famous at my temple for ushering. Last year, a young man
was causing trouble, so I threw him out of the service and made him sit in a
wheelchair outside in the main hall until it was over. Then I threw out another
boy and did the same thing to him. Apparently, their parents were not enthused
at my tactics for keeping order, but that is their problem. If their kids were better
behaved, I would not have had to do it. I treat my own children the same way,
as they will readily tell you. This service is very important for the young people
involved, they have been working years for this day and I am not going to let
some loudmouthed kids cause a disruption.
After the Bat Mitzvah, there is a big party. Then tomorrow night, we are
scheduled to go to another function at our temple. Sunday morning I am
supposed to play tennis with my brother again and if I have any energy left I will
go biking or a walk. After that I will probably collapse and do nothing. Monday
morning will come soon enough, and I have to follow up on the contacts and
information from my trip, not to mention everything else that happened while
I was gone.
I am not scheduled to travel for business again until the fall, so this summer
will be dedicated to normal work and a lot of play. I can’t wait to get up to our
house in the Berkshires (Massachusetts) to be with my wife, to ride my bike, and
to relax, yes I did say relax.
Note to self: I really have to start double bagging my cereal for traveling.
Once again, I am wearing some of the oatmeal I had for breakfast and it really
does not add to my personal power by walking around in lightly stained khaki
8:39AM EST - Back on New Jersey Time!
On of the greatest fears of my life is missing a plane. There I was in the
airport lounge happily writing about my Uncle Nate when I looked at my ticket
and realized that the plane might be boarding. Upon checking I found out it
was and, in a panic start to walk-run to the gate. Happily I was there in time and
I am now flying towards New Jersey! Ah I love the sound of that, going home. It
has been a great trip but nothing beats going back to my family and work.
Seated next to me on this flight is a really nice woman named Amy. She
works for a Pharmaceutical company and is in charge of launching the marketing
for a brand new product which she says it should be a blockbuster. If her energy
has any bearing on the project then the drug will be a superstar. She travels so
much that in comparison I barely leave home. She is also incredibly positive
which means there are two similar people sitting next to each other which
combined should make both our creative levels soar. In my case I am going to
finish a story about my Great Uncle Nate who is turning 85 years old soon. He is
a really good man who I have not only been very fond of but also admired since
we were introduced right after my wife and I got engaged.
We are schedule to land at 3:30PM-I hope they are right.
Sunday afternoon in New Jersey is 77º, the sun is shining with low humidity.
I am sitting on my porch; it is absolutely gorgeous, calm and tranquil. Bailey
normally sits with me when I am out here but I think he is napping with my wife
upstairs and my daughter, Kayla, is in the basement watching television.
I did indeed land on schedule on Friday, got to my office where I had a
quick call with a customer that could lead to a new piece of business, and then
drove to the tennis courts. My brother was waiting for me there, and we played
for about 50 minutes before I was too tired to lift the racquet. After a quick
shower, I went to my son’s surprise graduation party, which it turned out he
already knew about. We all had a great time. So will the guys from my office
when they get to eat the leftover cake tomorrow morning.
From there, it was home to bed and up at 4:32AM to go biking with my best
friend, Dave. The weather was cool, perfect for biking, and we had a lot of fun.
He is now in commercial real estate and has been looking for a building for my
company to buy, because we will soon need bigger quarters. He might have
found one in the neighboring town. We have plans to see it on Tuesday.
On the way back home my bicycle chain broke and I ended up walking part
of the last mile home. It was mostly downhill, so it was fun even without pedaling.
After a quick breakfast and shower, I went to our local temple and there helped
usher for our friend’s Bat Miztvah. There must have been 500 people there, a
giant crowd and at least 200 teenagers. Keeping them in line was a challenge,
but everyone did well. It was a great time for all. After the service, I stopped off
at the bike store for a chain to install myself. After hearing what was needed to
put it on, I decided to bring the bike in later instead.
The Bat Mitzvah party was big celebration. For part of the dessert, there
was a box of various pastries and chocolate-dipped fruits for each table. The
container itself was also made of chocolate. I know that because the lid at our
table had broken and I started eating it. It tasted great and was hard to stop from
finishing all of it. I was able to force myself not to take it home, so my chocolate
intake did not take go to Olympic levels. Once outside, the valet parking people
lost my car for a half hour. As I pulled the manager into the lot I was prepared to
sue the hotel or worse. But once down in the parking area, I did find my Volvo.
The hotel better find my spare key that they were keeping (I always carry two
keys in case I lock one inside the car) or there will be a lot of trouble when I talk
to them tomorrow.
If I had gotten home on time, meaning my car had not been misplaced,
then there would have been plenty to go get my bicycle fixed before my next
commitment. As it was, I only had ten minutes to spare before the store closed.
I had to drive my bike there still in my suit. It was very hot; I was extremely
uncomfortable and not in a great mood, but I wanted the bike for a ride today
so I did it. As I was driving to the shop – I had borrowed my son’s SUV, much
easier to transport a bicycle in than a Volvo sedan – I noticed it had almost no
gas. So after the chain was fixed, I got him fuel and then went home. After a half
hour, we took my daughter and her friend to a party. Then my wife and I went to
another function back at our temple.
When that was finished, we had not had dinner so we ordered turkey
burgers from a local restaurant, ate them in the car, and then picked up my
middle son about 9:45PM last night. Then I took a very hot bath and went to
bed during a thunderstorm. I heard nothing after I fell asleep.
This morning I played tennis with my brother again, went biking again,
dropped off my clothes for the week at my office, picked up my middle son again
(this time from work), and then dropped him off in town. It has been a heck of a
week, filled with a lot of good things, and I am happy to say I have no traveling
scheduled for this week. We do have a new press coming in for the plant in the
morning. It might be a tight squeeze, so it could be an interesting day. Worst
case is that we will have to dismantle some of it but I am sure it will be resolved.
For the rest of tonight, it is writing, eating, relaxing, taking a bath again, and
getting ready for a new week. I can’t wait to see what happens next.
If one way doesn’t work, then try another. If your customers say you have
to do something you can either accommodate them, find an alternative, or give
up your position. No one is forcing you to do anything, but keep in mind that if
others are willing and you are not, then there is small possibility for long term
future success. It is not impossible if someone else is willing to do it. The power
and decision always rests with you.
Chapter 
Journey To Germany And France
4:25PM EST
As with all of my other trips, this one started before today, actually last
Monday. I had just finished playing tennis in the early morning with one of my
buddies, Mark. He had beaten me soundly as usual but this was normal. I was
back at my desk and feeling more sore than usual. Until it occurred to me that I
was sick. A virus, the flu or a cold is something to live with, and I did not give it
much though, except to worry that I was traveling on Sunday (today) and the
Jewish High Holy Days started last Friday night.
Things got steadily worse as the week went on but by Friday morning I
was slowly starting to feel better and optimistic for the holiday and my trip.
I left work to play tennis with my brother that afternoon and then on to our
synagogue after dinner.
For the last ten years or so, I have been in charge of the ushers for the two
holidays that fall in September. They are called the High Holy Days because they
encompass the New Year and then eight days later Yom Kippur, which is our
holiday of atonement (to apologize for the bad things we do). For both sets of
holidays, I am normally in charge to make sure that thousands of people move
in and out of our facility with ease, safety, and the minimum of stress and fuss,
along with the help of our security group. About 3,000 people came and all
went well.
There are usually more people for Yom Kippur. It often becomes really
crazy, so my troops and I have to be on high alert. As people began to come
in Friday night, I lost my voice entirely. I could not speak and had to direct my
people with hand signals and smiling. It was a good exercise for me to see how
well I could lead without a voice, my people did really well. The night went on
without a hitch. I was hoping that by Saturday morning, the really big day, my
voice would be back but it was not to be. I had no voice (except a whisper) for
the day, and we had over 4,000 people coming and going. Happily again, my
people and security did really well, and the whole thing went on schedule and
with no problems. I was very proud of all of them.
I learned I could lead with no voice but had to do it differently with
gestures and facial expressions. By Saturday night I was starting to see a little
improvement in my voice. This morning thankfully, it started to come back. I
was also really worried about trying to see customers with no voice. The Jewish
holidays were one thing, but I have never met the people I was going to see in
Germany and France. Not being able to speak would be causing a great deal of
trouble. Hopefully, I will avoid that possibility. I have never been to either country
and am excited to see them and the new people. As usual for me, the trip will be
fast. I am leaving tonight (Sunday) and will arrive in Germany tomorrow. From
there I go to France Monday night, back to Germany on Tuesday, and leave for
home Wednesday morning.
Hopefully, it will be a lot of fun and the business will be good. I just spoke
to Alice, my second-in-command, a half hour ago. Yes, she was in the office on
Sunday afternoon, and things are fine there. It is so much easier to travel when
your mind is at ease with great people, both at home and at the office. It was
hard leaving my wife today. I miss my family a lot while I’m gone, even for a
few days, and especially traveling on a Sunday night when it is a very lonely
I had a really nice encounter with a woman from Germany in the waiting
room at Newark Airport. I had been walking for a while, heavily laden with my
“stuff.” When I sat down, she looked at my disheveled state and offered me a
toilette to “refresh” myself. What a wonderfully nice gesture; we spoke for a
moment, but I had to move on. A very nice start to the trip, sometimes it is those
unexpected moments that really can make your day.
7:02PM EST / 2:02PM Zurich, Switzerland Time
We are passing over Halifax, Canada on our way out to the Atlantic Ocean. It
is a pretty eerie feeling to know that we are going out over this giant void with
just a plane to keep us safe. But I will try not to dwell on that and think more of
what awaits me on the other end. This flight is about seven hours long, which
means I will arrive in Zurich around 2:00AM and then on to Nuremberg where
my first meeting will be at about 4:30AM EST. The best I can hope for is a few
hours sleep, but that will hopefully be enough to get me through tomorrow’s
meeting. I am going to Lucent Technologies and see people I have never met
before. I have found that nothing is better than meeting people in person, it
gives an added dimension to the relationship to match a face with an email
address; that it is worthwhile to go almost anywhere.
I had a big thing happen last Friday, right before my voice went out
completely. We deal a lot with our customers internationally, but I always felt
that we would be able to service our customers quite well from our single
location in New Jersey. Since we have been designated a world supplier by one
of them, it has become evident that we will need a “presence” in other parts
of the world. I never wanted to do this both for the expense and the problems
with trying to retain control when dealing with plants outside the United States
but as always if the need arises, we will find a way to deal with it. As soon as
that happened, my company started negotiations with one of our electronic
assembly suppliers based in China to initially start a distribution center for our
products but to then grow it into a full-scale printing operation.
As much as I have tried, and as efficient as we run, the cost differential of
trying to produce and distribute to the Far East has made it almost impossible
to compete. The only way to increase our presence and take market share is
to actually begin operating there on a full-scale basis. This, of course, creates
all types of opportunities and potential problems. This alliance with either this
supplier or a different prospect will hopefully supply the building, manpower,
and ability to deal with the Chinese government that would allow us to launch
this new venture. Our company would provide the equipment and expertise. We
will still handle all of the artmaster generation from the U.S. and then email over
files for production. This will give us the infrastructure necessary to compete
with anyone in the Pacific Rim, which, when added to our production capability
here, should give us the chance to take large chunks of the market.
If this works out well, then we will “template” the formula and do the same
thing in an Eastern Block, in a country like the Czech Republic, and then on to
South America. This is not something I planned on, but I believe it is the next
logical step in our growth as a company. Talks will begin as soon as I return from
this trip, and I am excited at the prospect of what can be.
I am listening to a CD that my Daughter Kayla made for me: Louis Armstrong
singing, “What A Wonderful World” and I am homesick. Time to edit my book; I
am behind and a lot needs to be done.
11:54 PM / EST 7:05PM Zurich Time
The drugs I brought that I thought would help my cough are not working,
and I have not been able to sleep. I even had cough medicine in my hand before
I left for the airport but decided against bringing it. So it goes; I learn from my
mistakes and will try to buy some cough medicine when we get to the next
airport. I should have about 90 minutes before my flight to Nuremberg. It will
allow me time to get to a drugstore, confirm my next flight, and re-ticket the
last part of my journey, which was changed. I am no longer going to Milan, Italy.
I haven’t decided whether to change into my suit before getting on the next
plane; airports tend to be very hot. I shaved right before leaving home so I do
not have to worry about that before Tuesday morning.
I am hoping that the signs in Zurich are both in English and German; it will
make things a lot easier. My son, Alex, has an affinity for languages; he loves
learning them. Within a month he will be studying three at one time. Alas, it
is an ability and a love that I do not share. I think that it is wonderful that so
many people in the world speak English. At the same time, in comparison, my
smattering of Spanish makes me feel inferior. What I do try is to make sure to
treat everyone with the utmost respect and manners, which in itself shows an
aim to please and get along.
1:49AM EST / 7:49AM Zurich Time
Zurich Airport is hot and smoky. I am really glad that I did not put on my suit
yet. The women who work here are beautiful, a true testament to the wonders
of Switzerland. I should be on my plane to Nuremberg by 9:00AM, with a car
waiting for me as soon as I land. Hopefully, the driver won’t mind if I change
clothes in his backseat. There was no place to hook into the airplane for my
computer - I forgot the special outlet, and this battery pack is almost drained. I
have a spare, which should easily last me until I get to my hotel room in France
tonight. I promised my friend, Mark, I would try to get some German newspapers
for him. He belongs to a local theatre company, and they are putting on the play,
Cabaret. He was very excited to learn that I would be coming to some German
speaking countries, so I could take care of his need for reading props. I hope
the airport shops take American dollars or credit cards, because I still have not
found a cash machine.
2:21AM EST / 8:21 AM Zurich Time
My hunt for snow globes for my daughter was in vain. I did, however, get
the newspapers for Mark. I will re-establish the search for those elusive globes
in the near future.
10:01AM EST / 4:01PM Nuremberg Time
We got into Nuremberg early this morning. My driver for the next few hours,
Michael, was there to meet me. After getting some Euros in case I was buying
lunch, I went downstairs to the men’s room to change. The janitor’s office was
open, and dark so I used the front of it to change to the consternation of the
lady janitor who came upon me just as I was finishing. It would not have looked
good to be arrested for indecent exposure so I am glad I was mostly finished.
We went to the Lucent Nuremberg location. It turned out to be within ten
minutes of the airport, so I arrived right on schedule. Once there I met with
six different Lucent people who were from their engineering, procurement,
and design areas. To see that many people all at once was more than I could
have hoped for. My voice held up just long enough to get through the meeting
and lunch. The people were wonderful, and I am hopeful that we can build
on the already growing business both with Lucent and their various contract
manufacturers (CMs). As per my previous intentions, I still plan to visit as many of
the CMs as possible both to make sure they have the most current information,
regarding label requirements, and a chance to get their business.
I am now back in Nuremberg Airport waiting for my next flight to Munich.
From there, it is on to Bordeaux, France. I have now been up for about 27 hours
but have been able to catch a few naps. If sleep does not come quickly tonight, I
will help it along with an anti-nausea/sleeping pill. I really like being out meeting
people, and the traveling is a small price to pay to do it.
11:25AM EST / 5:26AM Munich Time
I am on my way to Munich and about to get a Diet Coke with lemon and
ice. Now how good is that?! I have been thinking about the new China venture
and have come up with a few additional areas I would like to pursue. If my
supplier does buy a new building and has lots of extra space, I may want to
try to put more than just my new company in there. One of Lucent’s other
suppliers, whom I know from The Netherlands, is an industrial design firm. They
have been talking about opening an office in China. Another of my customers
is in the same boat I am and has been told that in order to hold their global
market share, they too must open a facility and might consider coming with
me. In other words, I am thinking of setting up a “business condominium” as my
father called it many years ago, a place where customers can shop a multitude
of products and services under one roof. Although I am getting more excited
about this idea all the time, I have to reign myself in until I can be sure of exactly
what is available there and what kind of deal we can work out.
A new venture, a new horizon, a possible multiple set of challenges for
around the world, I love this business!
1:42 PM EST / 7:42 PM Bordeaux Time
I am on my way to France, my first time. Alice, from my office, mentioned
the irony that I would be going to one of the premiere wine-producing places
on Earth, and I almost never drink alcohol. I am naturally more interested to see
if the hotel has a pool. I brought my swim-suit and goggles. I also hope to find
out if I am getting decent food on the flight tonight. I am a simple man, well
simple may not be the right word. I want what I want, but nevertheless, I still
have a great time. With luck, I will be at my hotel by 10:30PM and maybe asleep
by 12:00. I want to be up by 6:00AM so I can work-out; I will catch up on my
sleep when I get back home.
4:48AM EST / 10:45 AM Bordeaux Time
I got in on schedule last night and went directly to my hotel which was
about 10:00PM. It was a nice place, but I was getting hungry and decided against
room service to try and find a salad and some fruit in the city. I got directions to
a local supermarket and I went into the cool French night. As I walked past the
aged buildings it looked so different than the U.S. Back home a building 100
years old is something to notice. Here, 500 years is the norm. I made my way
into the center of town and walked into what looked like a massive outdoor
shopping mall with many streets of shops, restaurants, and hotels. It was a
strange mixture of the old and new, a very interesting walk and a look quite
different than I had seen before. I never did find the market. I proceeded to get
a pizza at one of the places on the way back to the hotel. I walked in and the
people there did not speak much English. Between a mixture of hand signs,
pointing to the menu, me speaking very slowly, and a lot of good intentions,
I ended up getting a great dinner of pasta and salad. When I got back to the
hotel, I ordered some fruit, and my banquet was complete.
I eventually got to sleep about 12:30AM and got up at 5:00AM. It was really
hard waking up, but I made it, then worked out a little, and went on my way
to visit the company, Solectron, with a new driver. The people were extremely
nice, and we have a chance for more business. They too were very interested in
our quest for a new location in Asia, which just reinforces my efforts.
I am now in the Bordeaux Airport waiting for my flight back to Munich
,where I will spend the night and get up early to start my way back home. So far,
the trip has been wonderful; the people are great; and I am very pleased.
4:00PM EST / 10:00PM Munich Time
I got into Munich this afternoon. After a crazy ride in a taxi, I don’t think
the driver knew where my hotel was because he dropped me near a taxi stand
in Freising (next to Munich), and told me to get another ride. I will never know
for sure since he spoke no English and I no German. But the second taxi ride
was pleasant. After a short time I was at the Marriot Hotel, and it is beautiful. I
changed my clothes and ventured forth out to see the town of Freising, both to
get some exercise and find some food for dinner. Since all of the menus are in
German, I have a much better chance of finding what I want to eat face-to-face,
as opposed to trying to order it off a menu. The town is quaint, well-maintained,
picturesque, and full of nice people. I am still in search of snow globes as
souvenirs for my kids, so far I continue to have no luck. I did, however, find a
store with lots of German candy, and a banana for me, so my guys back home
are in for a treat when I return. It appears that Germans eat a lot of red meat and
sausage, but roast turkey is not common. Finally I went into one store and spoke
some English and the woman behind the counter yelled for Bernie. A young
man came over fluent in English, and I was finally able to ask for what I wanted,
which unfortunately they did not have. I do not think a turkey sandwich of my
type is available in this town, which is no fault of theirs. But then I spotted some
smoked salmon along with a salad, bread, fruit, and the food I was carrying, and
so was now a done deal.
I went back to the hotel and then took a two-hour nap, which helped a little
as I have been working on and off since I got here. I am scheduled for a 9:05AM
flight out tomorrow, so I will get up at 5:00AM, work out, have breakfast, and
then it’s back to the airport. Everything at the office seems to be going fine,
and I will have a lot to do when I return. I spoke to my wife and my middle son
a few minutes ago so I am getting homesick again, but the good news is that I
should be home for dinner tomorrow night. Then my regular tennis game is on
for early Thursday morning. I am playing Mark, the guy I got the German papers
for. Since I will not have played since last Sunday, I probably will have some jet
lag, and I am not as good as he is anyway; the chances of getting slaughtered
are quite good. I don’t care as it will be great to just get out there and try to hit
the ball hard. I am getting tired, so I will work on draft two of my new book for
a little while longer and then call it a night.
1:49AM EST / 7:49AM Munich Time
I managed to get up this morning on schedule at 4:45AM, did some
exercises, and then went off for a walk in the pre-dawn light of this beautiful
town. It was still dark, and the old buildings gave off an eerie feel as I crossed
the streets to the center of town. I knew this area from my walk yesterday, and
it was amazing how different it seemed without many people and in the dark.
As I passed the town square, I noticed there were vendors set up to sell fruits,
vegetables, and flowers. I bought a pear and banana from a very nice woman
whose English was excellent, and then I made my way back to the hotel.
The cab ride was pleasant and uneventful as was check-in at the airport. I
am now sitting in the waiting area, waiting for my flight to Copenhagen, and
then to home. If I am fortunate, I will be either at my house to pick up my car or
directly to the office by 3:00PM, which will still allow me a few hours to catch
I have a lot to do as to follow-ups, as well as getting ready for our Quarterly
ISO Quality, Environmental, Safety, and Health meeting. It will be interesting to
see the effects of this trip and how life will be different since I met these people
in person.
As for Germany and France, I would not hesitate to come back to either. The
people I have met overall have been pleasant and easy to work with, as I hope I
have been for them. I would not like to be thought of as a bad representative of
my country. I have tried to go out of my way to be respectful and appreciative
to everyone I have met. I heard some worrisome news regarding the bird flu
today from Asia. It seems they may have their first case of person-to-person
transmission of the disease which could cause serious trouble for the region
which I will visit twice over the next few months. I hope for everyone’s sake that
it is an isolated incident and does not become a full-blown epidemic; the results
could be disastrous.
One final note, I finally found snow globes for my daughter and middle son.
One of my major missions is now completed, and I can go home!
10:19AM EST
We are now passing over Greenland and are due to arrive around
2:00PM. I am sitting next to a man who has traveled the world and has set up
a manufacturing site in the former Eastern Block. Since I may want to do this
one day, this is a good man to know. I gave him a copy of my current book on
my life in sales. He seems very pleasant. I have been editing my new book on
starting and running your own business. I am hopeful most of it will be done
by the end of the month. If so, then we move onto galley proofs and final proof
reading. After that I need to get the actual course together, based on it, for
teaching in the spring at a local university. I also need to start practicing my
speech for the Delaware Department of Labor meeting next month. The month
ends tomorrow, and I will be very interested to see how much business we have
billed. With oil hitting $50 per barrel, business in many sectors has slowed down
but appears to be improving again. I have no feel as to what is happening in
the world marketplace but plan to continue with my plans unless something
happens to mandate a directional shift.
12:08PM EST
12:08 and I am once again lying on a chaise lounge on my porch in our
house in Short Hills, New Jersey. It is supposed to rain and thunderstorm this
afternoon, which is okay because all I have planned is to write, edit, and take
a nap. My trusty dog, Bailey, is at my feet. I have green tea and honey cooling
in the kitchen, which will soon become iced tea. I got home on Wednesday
about 4:00PM and I did not make it out on my bike, but instead went directly
to the office. Everything there was handled well. As usual, by my people and I
eventually left and came back home for dinner. Last Thursday was the end of the
month and it turned out better than I thought, always a good thing. If all goes
well ,negotiations will now start early next week for the new plant in China. If
it doesn’t work with this group, I will move to another. I need to have this new
facility up and running by September 2005.
And so it goes for my life right now. I am scheduled to be in Arizona in
two weeks, Asia the week after that, Asia again three weeks later, and probably
Ireland and the Czech Republic in early December, all interspersed with day trips
and maybe back to the Midwest. As long as I am on the road, things seem to go
well so I will happily continue with that in mind. This is where I am best for right
now and is where I will stay.
That’s it, we are done for now. If there are more things you want to read
about or you have comments, then email me at [email protected] If you do
decide to start your own company, let me know how it goes and if I have been
any help. If you think I am wrong about anything, which I am sure will happen,
you can also let me know but not before you have been at it long enough where
I think your opinion will mean something. Remember, I am not responsible for
the individual success or failure of your endeavours. This book is only a guide;
use it as such. If you are in business long enough, you will know when your
opinion is worth something. Best of luck in the hunt, and remember you will
decide the success level you deserve.
This book was prepared using Adobe InDesign CS on an Apple PowerMac
G4 machine running OS X Panther. The original text was supplied from the
author as individual MS Word files and was imported into InDesign CS.
The body text is set in 10 point Myriad Roman. The chapter headings and
section breaks are in 14 point Trajan Pro Bold. All body fonts are PostScript
Type 1 fonts.
All interior artwork was created by Michael Valentine using Adobe Illustrator
CS on a G5 Macintosh running OS X Jaguar.
The front and back cover designs were created using Adobe Illustrator CS
on a G4 Macintosh running OS X Panther. The cover was designed by Scott
Teske and illustrated by Michael Valentine.
The portrait of the author on the back cover was photographed by Michael
Valentine using a Nikon CoolPix 990 digital camera. The image was cropped
and retouched using Adobe PhotoShop CS by Scott Teske. The resulting
image was scaled and embedded into the Adobe Illustrator CS cover file.
Layout and formatting were done by Richard Green III.
Proofreading was preformed by Richard Green III, Kriste A. Matrisch, Scott
Teske and Michael Valentine.
The finished layout was exported from InDesign CS in Adobe Acrobat
version 6 format. The resulting PDF file was used to transfer the volume to
the print facility for imposition, set-up and printing.
Also By Andrew Jacobs
A Sales Warrior’s Global Excursions
Have you ever wondered what goes through the mind of
a salesman when he is going after new customers, fixing
trouble, and clawing his way to fame and/or fortune? Okay
even if you haven’t, you will still hopefully like A Sales Warrior’s
Global Excursions because it also has my novel (fiction) about
being the first “embedded” printer in Iraq. Finally, if none of
that is of interest, you can also read about how I try to pursue
business and function in foreign countries with no sleep, try
to carry a mountain of supplies, and try not to get lost.
Memoirs of a Sales Warrior: My Life, My Way
Memoirs of a Sales Warrior covers many of Andrew Jacobs’
life experiences and offers advice for dealing with the trials
and tribulations that we all encounter during our journey
through life. It also provides a blueprint for success, both
within the working world and in our personal lives.
Say Yes, Or I’ll Keep Calling
A quick reference for navigating the world of sales, Say Yes or
I’ll Keep Calling provides insight into every step of the process
of selling, as well as some advice on maintaining one’s
personal stability with a mental and physical fortitude.
Visit Ideal Jacobs On The Web
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