I’m a great fan of author Harvey McKay (Swim with the Sharks). He ran an envelope factory and couldn’t seem to make a profit. So he went to an industry meeting and one evening found an old successful envelope printer from another part of the country sitting at a bar smoking a cigar. Harvey approached him and said, “I gotta ask you. How do you make any money in this business?”
The guy took a swig of his drink, drew in a good puff on the stogie and asked, “What do you get for your scrap?”
To which Harvey replied, “Excuse me?”
“Scrap, scrap; what do you get per ton for your scrap paper?”
Harvey explained that he paid to have his scrap hauled away. He suddenly had an AH-HA moment, realizing there was an over-looked profit center in the scrap paper. He finished his story by saying he returned home and was able to undercut his competitors’ deals because he had a new profit center in the company.
There are two morals to this story: Find ways to turn a liability into an asset. And, learn from other successful people in your industry. If you travel long distances to find a mentor, like at a national convention, it likely means you won’t be geographic competitors, and a successful person is usually more than happy to tell you how they became so successful.
Add to the blog and tell us how you’ve learned from other successful people in your industry.