Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Eyeballing The Competition

If I would have known that school was as much fun as the one I am attending now – when I was younger – who knows what might have happened!

We, as a class, are working towards constructing our first individual ‘Business Plan”. When it is complete it will become a guide or road map for what I begin doing and keep doing as the weeks unfold into months. It is absolutely amazing how many small details fit together to make the whole plan.

One of the bits of the plan is to know about your “Competition”. I have to create a profile of my competition and in so doing – know as much as I can about them. I have to know who “my adversary” is and how I will be different than he or she is to make a go of it. Sounds frightening doesn’t it? We had discussed in class different ways to make the connection and find out as much as possible about the top three competitors.

Well let me tell you if each step is as much fun as this one is – I will likely never stop.

Instead of secretly sneaking into the competitor’s place of business or maybe spying in some clandestine way… I called each of them last evening at their homes! Well you never….! You never call some one at home when you don’t know them… do you? I mean it was a COLD CALL – in sales terms.

The first competitor talked to me for a half hour – 30 minutes! He was very friendly. In fact he asked me to come and demonstrate my carving at his special carving demonstration/sale this Saturday and Sunday. He welcomed me! The word “Competition” means I compete with him doesn’t it? This guy wants to help me succeed.

The second competitor talked to me for 45 minutes! He gave me huge suggestions and ideas to make a go of my business. He was excited to meet some day soon. His suggestions will likely guide me for a long time in the practicality of setting up a business. This guy was as friendly as my next door neighbor.

The third competitor talked to me for one hour and twenty eight minutes!!!! Did you get that – 88 minutes! He was the most helpful of all. I not only got a complete idea of what to do next but also all kinds of suggestions. I heard the entire history of carving businesses in the area – who is doing what – who you should avoid – who will help and who will make it miserable for you. This competitor is now climbing quickly to the top level of my new friends list. We even planned how we can possibly make a huge carving show to give exposure to what we do…. We have common friends and interests. WOW!

Talk about hope rising!

One of my competitors explained how successful he had been in the past. On one day he sold $25,000 worth in one sale! Yep. You read that right a 25 with three zeros behind it. He laughed with me and told me his secret – he went out and immediately bought a very expensive sports car…(I think it was used).

He told me of another carver that makes about $3000 to $5000 a good day (just last week)… but there are many not so good days in between the lumps of cash that come.

One thing is for sure in these economic hard times – everyone is not hard up for cash. There are the “someones” that have the money that they spend wherever they can. They want to bless people like poor carvers. Whoopiieeee!

Now lest you think I have dropped all my marbles – I assure you that I have not. Wood Carvers can be the biggest and best story tellers that exist on the face of the earth. They have a charm about them that is simply fun. They are full blown personas in their own right!

You betcha I am scared silly at times when I think of what might be next. Is there any cash flow for me?… new car?… hokey mokey…. Pay bills off…? YES! The finances are in God’s hands for sure.

This past weekend we celebrated together the new beginning of our new ministry of Chaplain – which is at this stage voluntary. I am in the building stages as our close partners know. Money raised now is beginning to pay the expenses nicely. The start up costs are there and being taken care of day by day.

If I am careful and take as much time in placing the proper bits and pieces together in creating this ministry from the ground up – as I do in building a Wood carving business – the results will be amazing. The two are in parallel now and moving ahead.

My District Superintendent, Pastor Craig, called yesterday to encourage Alida and me. We talked a long time. He was thrilled by what he has heard and even more thrilled about the new Business Plan. He said something that is powerful for me to hear right now.

“Murray as I thought about the unique thing that you are doing, it is kind of like a rocket being launched. It takes a huge amount of energy to get it to start moving off the ground. That first few inches take more power than the remainder of the flight upward. It is like that with the beginnings of a new ministry and business.”

(Craig… these words are powerful. Thank you so much for taking time to call me.)

Gotta run again… homework is done… and I get to hand in some of it in today…

Oh and by the way… I love research… what I have found out about our community and about you is amazing!

Yikes… when you are in a hurry… you make spelling mistakes… yesterday I suggested “Three Thigs You Can Learn Today”… the ones that sent answers missed the “Thigs” thingie…. Too funny!

The answer to the Pop Quiz of yesterday (in order) was
How fat was Henry VIII?

New Question…
People identify other people by looking at faces… Chimpanzees can identify their acquaintances by looking at photos of their rear ends.
Question – what is the source of that goody?

~ Murray Lincoln ~

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