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Secrets of Success

Lessons from the Hot Dog Vendor

If you have access to a radio, television, newspapers, magazines or the Internet, by now you’ve heard—real estate is in free fall; the dollar continues to drop in value; and energy prices are going through the roof.

We’re headed toward something—a downturn, a correction or even the dreaded “R” word—recession.

What will you and the people you employ and/or work with do? Read on and learn one way to approach the coming storm.

The Old Man and the Hot Dog Stand

There once was an old man who sold hot dogs on a street corner. He was hard of hearing so he had no radio. He also had vision problems, so he read no newspapers. But he sold really good hot dogs.

He sold so many hot dogs that he soon had to increase his meat and bun orders. He bought a bigger grill to take care of his growing enterprise. Business was so good he needed assistance so he asked his son to come home from college to help out.

Upon arriving home from school his son became somewhat alarmed: “Dad, haven’t you been listening to the radio or reading the newspaper? The economic news is terrible. People are cutting back; others are losing their jobs. This is no time to be spending money on expansion–we’re heading into a depression.”

The father thought to himself, “Well, my son’s been to college. He’s much more educated than I am. He reads the newspaper and he listens to the radio. I guess he would know.”

So the father cut down his meat and bun orders, took down his signs, and only ordered what he thought he absolutely needed. Because he kept running out of food, many of his customers became frustrated and stopped buying from him. As a result, his hot dog sales plummeted. Almost overnight he was struggling to stay in business.

Within a few months he had sold off his remaining equipment and one day he simply closed down his stand. Upon returning home the last day of work, the father called his son and remarked, “You were right, we are in the middle of a great depression.”

The Lessons

How do you see the world? Through the eyes of the old man or the son? The son was correct. The economy really was in trouble. But the old man was also correct. People were buying hot dogs.

So what happened? Was the son being pessimistic or realistic? In his mind he was simply reporting “facts.” The problem occurred when his father decided to accept only his son’s view of reality thus creating a self-fulfilling prophecy.

He acted as if business was bad, so that is the reality he created.

What are you doing in your industry? Are you listening to the Chicken Littles who are telling you: “The sky is falling” and functioning like the son? Or are you taking the old man’s original glass half-full point of view and focusing on customer needs?

What We Know

No one has repealed the business cycle.

In some sectors the sky is certainly “cloudy” but that does not mean it’s “falling.”

Some people are choosing to worry. Some people are even choosing to panic. Others are choosing to get busy and get creative.

There are always going to be customers and they are always going to have needs.

The Choice is Yours

There is one thing that can be said with certainty about pessimists.

If people are negative often enough they will eventually be right.

There is also something that can be said about optimists. They will create opportunities during difficult times that will not only sustain them during the rough patches but will also continue to serve them when the good times return.

Who will you and the members of your organization choose to emulate – the son or the old man?

Think carefully.

There are a lot of “hot dogs” riding on your choice.

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CTS Consulting, Inc

3126 Berkshire Road

Baltimore, Maryland 21214

phone 410-444-5857

cell 443-286-2488