Advice For Today From Ben Franklin
Surviving Any Economy
Business-Building Ideas From Terry L. Brock
We’re hearing about the economy, job losses, etc.; on a daily basis. One day the stock market is up, the next day we hear the pundits tell us things are dismal. This roller-coaster ride of economic news can be quite depressing and make us distraught — if we let it.
You can’t take the ostrich approach. Funny, I don’t hear people spouting that trite “We’ve heard there is a recession but we’re not going to be part of it” any more today. I’ve never believed that taking the ostrich approach is the way to success. I also firmly believe that being depressed is not the answer.
So what is the solution?
Well, I gained some wisdom and insight from a great book I read again yesterday. You might have read it also. If you haven’t, write this down immediately to buy it today. It is called, “The Way to Wealth,” by that sage philosopher and wise man Benjamin Franklin. Yep! That Founding Father of the US had a lot of wisdom. His words are truer today than ever. I think ole Ben has some profoundly accurate advice in this “Twitter-Facebook-YouTube and all-things-social-media” obsessed world which can help us.
Ben Franklin created a character he called “Father Abraham” who listened to a crowd and then dispensed wisdom.
The crowd asked, “Pray, Father Abraham, what think you of the times? Won’t these heavy taxes quite ruin the country? How shall we be ever able to pay them? What would you advise us to do?”
“Father Abraham” agreed that the taxes were high. However, he said we have many others, and much more grievous to some of us. “We are taxed twice as much by our idleness, three times as much by our pride and four times as much by our folly.” In other words, yes the taxes were then, and are today, onerous and should be abated. However, as bad as the taxes — and the economy — we inflict ourselves with even greater pain by our own idleness, pride and folly.
You’ve got to read (or re-read) this very short book by Ben Franklin. He goes on to have “Father Abraham” tell us that most of our problems are our own doing. We have to work hard and not engage in being idle. We have to avoid laziness and embrace leisure (read the book for his definition of the important difference).
When I read that, I was taken aback by the wisdom of this great Founding Father. It was as if he were speaking to me directly — and smiling with that charming, legendary Ben Franklin grin.
Yes, times are tough. Yes, we recognize — and are aware of what is going on. We don’t take the ostrich approach. However, in the midst of that, we know that our success is largely up to us. Yes, taxes are high and should be lower. Yes, there are specific steps that should be taken in the broad macroeconomic and political picture.
But all of these are insignificant compared to what you and I can do today in our own businesses and our personal lives. Pick up the phone (remember that?) and call that client you haven’t chatted with for a while. Just say hello and don’t try to sell anything. Be there and reconnect with them. This is what Relationship Marketing is all about. Find out the problems they are going through and help them.
I’ve seen smart, well-meaning businesspeople become obsessed with the nightly cable news and politics. If that same amount of time, money and effort had been devoted to reading good books (like Ben Franklin!!) perhaps they would have generated more income regardless of the crisis of the moment.
Take charge of your life and your business during tough times. Don’t be obsessed with the news of the moment. Don’t shut it all out either. Focus on what matters — building quality, profitable business relationships. Focus on Relationship Marketing.
Find the pain your prospects and clients are going through and come up with unique, creative ways to help them. This will be the way to get out of any problem. To paraphrase Jim Ziegler, a noted sales trainer in the auto industry whom I recently interviewed, “There is no problem in business you can’t sell your way out of.” Focus on doing what you can, with what you’ve got, right where you are (as Teddy Roosevelt advised us long ago).
This is a best way to take matters into your own hands.
And for starters, bounce over to your favorite online bookstore and purchase The Way of Wealth by Benjamin Franklin. It is a very short read and one that can change your life as it has millions of others through the years.
Sure, times are more challenging. But that will actually help us become better if we handle it right.
Somehow I can see Ben Franklin, beaming with a big toothy grin and giving us a “thumbs-up” signal!
Copyright © 2009, Terry Brock and Achievement Systems, Inc. Terry Brock is an international marketing coach and professional speaker who helps businesses generate profitable results. He can be reached by e-mail at [email protected] or through his website at www.terrybrock.com. Join the Twitter adventure with Terry through his Twitter address: @ TerryBrock