STARTING ON THE ROAD TO INDEPENDENCE—698-713
According to statistics, more than 16,000,000 new businesses have been born since 1900, and it has been estimated that every year from 300,000 to 400,000 persons start in business for themselves.
Like many ambitious people, you have doubtless considered developing a business of your own, realizing that nothing ventured nothing gained. Founding a fortune, to support oneself in the twilight of life, or to make things happier for those we love, is a worthy ambition.
It is the sincere wish of the publisher that you will find in the contents of this book a plan, method or idea that you can put to use in building your own enterprise, whether it be a full-time or spare-time proposition.
Let it be understood at the beginning that no-one is going to create a business for you. That is entirely up to your own initiative, but when you see how others have made the grade, the "going" should be infinitely easier for you and perhaps surer. The paths to success are many, but the way is not always smooth or satisfactory. Many there are who may misdirect us, and the sign boards are not always easy to read.
Yet if some have found a "short cut" or a better way through the tangle, is it not fair to point it out quickly to all who would follow? Especially to those who, bewildered and discouraged, have fallen among the barbed wires of "get-rich-quick" schemes and systems. This book aims to show you how others have achieved success. More important, it presents business-building ideas among which you should be able to find "the right one" to help you charter your course.
Nowadays there isn't such a thing as a "permanent" job or position. So why not try to make your dreams of today come true? Perhaps—who can tell?—in the next ten years or so you will be able to wink at financial worries. What others have achieved you can achieve also if you will set your mind to it and determine to succeed. Action and perseverance are two important "tools" that are necessary in your general equipment for building a lucrative business enterprise.
Opportunity today consists of supplying the buying demands of 139,000,000 of the world's freest spenders. The men who are doing that are still making money. These unsupplied buying demands are today's frontiers of industry.
There are seemingly unlimited money-making opportunities all around us. It is simply a matter of "seeing" them and developing them. Human nature is pretty much the same the world over, and some enterprise that is proving successful in one community can often be made to pay, all factors, equal, in another community — frequently with even more success when the enterprise is given a different "twist" or rides on new ideas. So it would be well to keep this fact in mind while you browse through the pages of this unusual book.
Bear in mind that these true experience successes as operated in other communities can be operated successfully in your own locality. Many of the varied opportunities described in this volume require a minimum of capital. The fact that you may not have a fat bankbook does not eliminate you from developing a full time or spare time business of your own. Sometimes one can have too much capital and thereby becomes careless with his expenditures to the extent he is "broke" before his business gets under way. Some of our most imposing business institutions today began in a small way, and it might surprise you to know just how small. Capital can seldom take the place of brains and perseverance.
With World War II behind us, the time is ripe for new business ventures, and many opportunists will take advantage of the favorable conditions that exist today. The opportunities are equally as great for women as they are for men, or for the ideal business partnerships of "man and wife" teams. The remarkable stories you will read in the following pages should substantiate these statements.
There may be a fortune right near you if you'll just take the trouble to look for it — "diamonds in your own backyard" so to speak. The man, for instance, who conceived the idea of rendering an alarm-clock service for war workers during the past worldwide war cashed-in on an opportunity he SAW. Alarm clocks were scarce, and shift workers needed to be awakened at certain times. Thousands subscribed to his service and he reaped the rewards of his ingenuity for three solid years—earning more money than he would have earned in fifteen years working for a boss in some factory or office.
Imagine how many others who were looking for opportunities during the war days read about the scarcity of alarm clocks, but didn't SEE the business opportunity the scarcity presented!
Consider the case of the farmer living in a southwestern state. One day he cut down a tamarisk tree on his place. He was impressed with its beautiful surface. Now the wood of the tamarisk tree is very hard, and it occurred to him that this particular wood might make excellent furniture. His "hunch" was right as future events proved. The present-day, blond wood furniture produced from the tamarisk trees is the result of this farmer having an inquiring-turn of mind. He realized a fortune. It pays to have vision. Many other people had seen and cut down tamarisk trees even long before this farmer, but the beauty of the blond wood, for utility purposes, escaped them. They lacked imagination-vision.
The foregoing two illustrations (just samples of the hundreds you are yet to read about) indicate, I believe, that it pays to be alert, ever on the lookout for business-building ideas. Yes, there are fortunes, unmined all around us. If you don't discover some of them, others will.
Take an inventory around you. Look for the "diamonds in your own backyard." If you can, for instance, provide the public with a better service, regardless of what it may be, you may have Dame Fortune right in your hand. They say that nothing yet developed is 100 per cent perfect, and this means that there are thousands of things waiting to be improved.
Should you desire to start your own business on the proverbial shoestring, you had best begin as a one-man "institution." "But", you may interject, "how is this possible?" Well, my good reader, thousands of others have done it and thousands more will do it. One way is to cash in on your hobby or hobbies by putting them to work for you. There's the story of one woman who liked to make patterns (dressmaking) and she was so good at it she was encouraged to create a simplified, easy-to-follow course of instructions. She did. Pattern-making was her hobby and she loved it, and with a little help and her own ingenuity she created an excellent course of instructions, profusely illustrated. She called her course "Cut Up and Like It."
Big manufacturers find it difficult to compete with individuals who produce handicraft articles and who are skilled in the creative arts.
Now there's a young man who has a recording machine. He intends to develop a recording business, making records chiefly for children. Ah! there's an idea—a money-in-the-bank idea! Imagine, if you can, how receptive the average mother will be to his plan to have recordings made of youngster's voice at different periods. The chances are that this fellow will develop a successful business.
Then we have another fellow whose hobby is skiing. He fully realizes the fact that the war forced out of business more than a half million small concerns. You've guessed it—he intends to render a needed service to other skiers by building a ski lodge in a community that is ideally situated for good skiing.
If you feel that you are handicapped by lack of capital, take heart. There are countless opportunities available for small capital. Remember that it doesn't always take a lot of money to test an idea or to start something…and once it clicks, if more money is needed, it is usually available from banks or others. Making the start is the thing—proving to yourself and others that your idea or plan is sound. Moreover, any person can have a little side-line local or mail-order business and watch it expand without jeopardizing his other business activities or occupation, eventually becoming the "whole business."
One writer contends that the men and women having the best chance of success will be those who operate on a man-and-wife partnership basis, referred to elsewhere herein. Other experts agree that the opportunities opening up ahead of us will be made to order for married couples. There are several reasons for this: Two heads are better than one, and by doing their own work a man and wife can keep in the family the money that otherwise would be paid to outsiders. Further, a wife who is her husband's partner is sure to put more enthusiasm into a commercial enterprise than any disinterested employee.
Discoveries and developments of the war years have created brand-new fields for enterprise, many of them just suited for two. You win find many types of businesses in this book that are being operated by couples or that could be so worked. You can operate many of the businesses outlined in later pages right from your own home and enjoy the warmth and comfort and convenience of your own home without paying extra rent. It is surprising how much more harmony exists in a home when there are no secrets and all members of the family work together for the mutual interest of all concerned.
Success is almost assured where one can originate new methods, new designs, and particularly, new ideas, or improvements over the old. Nearly all of the fine success stories in this volume began with an IDEA. Sometimes the business enterprise was, founded on an old idea, renewed with a different angle or improvement. It is important, however, to note that the ideas did not lack initiative. Ideas without action are meaningless. No matter how excellent your plan or idea may be, what good is it if you do not back it up with action?
As general thing, the best ideas are simple ones, and it is the obvious that many of us overlook. To illustrate this why not take a good survey around you-in your community, your home, where you work. See if there isn't some product or service that could stand improvement. Think of the problems of others, their worries, their discomforts. How could YOU help? You might generate a worthwhile idea. How can you help people to enjoy their leisure or show them how they can put that leisure to profitable use? How about doing something for people who can't find time to do all their tasks? Examples of such ideas arc found in the pages of this book. They should help you generate other ideas. Some of the businesses you will read about herein have been operated by clever youngsters. Perhaps some of them can be converted into full-time-adult-size businesses. Use your imagination—feed it—urge it on!
The thoughtful reader will or should get many good ideas from the success stories in this book. One does not necessarily have to use the same plan. Perhaps a new plan will occur to you, or some improvement. For example, if you were to start in business with a drug store, it would pay you to alternate a study of other successful drug stores with a study of retail outlets in entirely unrelated lines. You may find more useable new ideas—unusual ideas—for your drug store from a study of filling stations or millinery stores than you could get from your fellow druggist.
Giving your business a different "personality" may make it more noticeable and talked-about. Again you can specialize on some one service or product, and become known for just that. Like the one-man manufacturer who makes rustic fences and no other kind.
To increase your chances of success; regardless of the type of business you enter, endeavor to stay away from the conventional or ordinary way of doing business, if possible. By being different and doing things differently your business is more apt to create favorable attention, and bear in mind that this is an age of specialization. By specializing you have less competition.
There is that man, Max, for instance who is just about the only fellow in the country making fingernails. Imagine that! This is indeed an odd business but certainly a profitable one for Max. Yes, people lose their fingernails, sometimes through illness and at other times through accidents. Then there are people employed in certain institutions, such as banks, for instance, who need special fingernails in connection with their work. Long fingernails are helpful in counting cash—currency and coins. Stores are also good customers of Max as they use his artificial fingernails for mannikins.
Some housewives have cashed-in on their ability to make certain products in the kitchen that are above average in quality and taste, by offering them to the public. Good, homemade products can be sold if properly handled through sound merchandising methods.
Services can always be worked into a business if they utilize any special talent you have or perhaps any equipment you own which can perform a unique service.
In entering the business field, your first thoughts should be concerned with why the public should patronize you. That should be answered by the fact that your service will be better or different . . . or that they will experience difficulty getting equally good products elsewhere. Consider the reasons why people should patronize your business, and "think up" ideas to make them want to deal with you. It is generally not profitable to duplicate some similar service nearby. Today there are too many "run-of-the-mill" stores and whatnot, all common place. You want yours to be better, and perhaps different.
If the product or service you have in mind has never been previously "promoted," that should not deter you from proceeding. All factors equal, you should be encouraged to go ahead. The unusual often produces a gold mine. It takes imagination to create something different. Imagination has repeatedly opened the road to wealth and satisfaction or people without capital or formal education or apparent special ability. They made their business grow through new ideas which have often been surprisingly simple. No one is entirely without imagination. Nearly anyone can enlarge his or her ability to think creatively, and it is hoped that this book will help you to develop your imagination.
Should some of the true experiences you read herein appear to be "old stories" to you, remember that to many other readers they will be new. Among the hundreds of "case histories" set forth in the following pages—true experiences of other little fellows (imaginative little fellows) perhaps you will find something that will help you to formulate a good idea of your own.
If you seek the one BIG idea by which you may acquire riches, wealth, fortune try exploring the great untapped realm of the unusual. Concentrated thought and imagination will help you. Don't choke the budding plants of your mentality through non-use of your powers of imagination. After all, your imagination is not a foul weed, but a strong, vigorous, healthy plant in the garden of life, bearing more fruit than all your combined abilities. Consistent use of your imagination will fill your "mental plates" with wholesome, nourishing food that will create ideas and new ways of doing things.
There is the case of another imaginative fellow who realized the value of the unusual and what it can do combined with an idea. He was looking for a job one day and approached an advertising agency executive. After a brief introduction he handed his prospective employer an impressive-looking manual, loose-leaf, with binders. In it were a number of specially arranged advertisements about the applicant and his qualifications. Here was a job-seeker using the same means of getting a hearing that the advertising agency used in promoting its own business and the business of its clients. Certainly this was different, unusual and all that, but it landed the job for our aggressive applicant! You begin to see now that there are ways—better ways—different ways in going about the task or getting a position.
Bear in mind, that in adopting that which is different or unusual, judgment must be used. You can become silly or appear to be silly if there isn't something substantial back of your unusual idea. Use discrimination and tact.
For instance, Tea Rooms and Lunch Counters may be started in the home and become successful if there is an unusual homey atmosphere and the food out of the ordinary, cleverly presented—different from the usual restaurant food. It is recorded that the owner of one home-restaurant became unusually successful by providing meals in her comfortable and well-arranged home. Folks liked her specially-prepared, home-cooked meals which were served on beautiful china and distinctive, old-fashioned flatware. She had been saving her fine china and heirloom flatware for years, seldom using it for the family. You know how it is with some women folks; When they have something extra good they just want to keep it, but here was a business situation that provided exceptional use for it. The homey and festive manner of serving brought the customers back again and again!
What about big business competition? Experts say that in most businesses, an enterprising man will have an edge on his big rivals. The big store may be able to buy merchandise a bit cheaper, but its rental, labor and other operating costs are higher. Further, the little fellow can handle creative merchandise, new items; can offer unusual services, unique selling plans, clever conveniences, warm and human salesmanship and even friendship. There is always the chance that he can obtain something unusual and make a fortune out of it while it is still new and before the big fellow can start handling it.
Advertising per se isn't sufficient to sustain any business. Sales promotion must work hand-in-hand with advertising. Advertising is PUBLICITY, getting favorable attention—sales promotion embraces methods and ideas of promoting sales. We hear much about "showmanship" in business these days which merely means dramatizing business—making certain angles of it unusually interesting and fascinating to the public. Huge sums of money are not always necessary to put "showmanship" in your business. A few ingenious ideas—an unusual plan—will help to do the trick at minimum expense.
Never sell your product—but sell the product of your product. This is another way of saying you should sell the benefits or advantages the buyer will receive in buying your wares. Remember, too, that people like to feel important—they like attention and like to know their patronage is deserved. Big business today is for the most part too cold—the "human element" is lacking…but you as a one-man institution can put warmth and enthusiasm into your enterprise.
Showmanship in your business, properly handled, can carry you far. Simply by doing things differently, or in the reverse, is a form of showmanship. It doesn't always have to be on the dramatic side. One western firm offered prizes for letters of criticism, rather than letters of praise. The response was instantaneous. Here was an opportunity for the public to tell the store what it thought…and sales for the store increased materially.
One real estate operator decided to put curtains and drapes in a few of his unoccupied houses that were for sale. Sales were stimulated. The owner of a large store experimented with a still window display and a moving display; the former attracted but few passerbys, but the latter arrested the attention of hundreds. A retail fur merchant attracted the attention of thousands of people and cluttered up the street. In the windows were moths eating into furs and they were all having a delightful banquet. The Moth Banquet went over big.
Then there's the apple-shaped jug on the market containing cider, which is certainly a novel way to offer it to the public. Out west one company utilized an old transport plane for—imagine—a filling station! The special neon lights with the propeller in motion riveted the attention of motorists.
One shop wrapped sheer stockings in valentines, or on the backs of toy animals, and sales were boosted immediately. They also put them in novel cocktail glasses, little flower pots, tiny footballs and so forth. Showmanship!
The restaurant operator who put a "wine cellar" in the front window of his place was using showmanship as results proved. Many people passing by would stop and look and some of them followed the impulse to go inside and eat…and they were all new customers. Windows that really attract people will pull an incredible amount of interest—and sales.
Nearly any type of service or product can employ the power of showmanship. Intelligent use of it in your business can prove highly profitable. The use of showmanship will bring you business when ordinary means fail.
The lack of imagination in selling is costing business men millions of dollars in lost business! America is a land of mass production . . . everyone seems to be production minded. That is all right as far as it goes, but it doesn't go far enough. It takes salesmanship to move goods…and the more goods sold, the greater mass production can be. With increased showmanship, the public will buy more . . . and buy countless things they do not need.
When all is said and, done showmanship means using the right tactics to get favorable attention—to put the public in a receptive, buying mood…to make the commonplace seem important and outstanding…to magnify the benefits one will receive in buying the article or service offered. Showmanship doesn't necessarily have to be bizarre, and it is created out of imagination. Even a simple idea with a different "twist" can be showmanship.
Simplicity is generally most effective. You will find much of this kind of showmanship—all types, for that matter—in nearly all of the stories appearing in the following pages.
Many hotels capitalize on simple "showmanship" merely by putting the morning or evening newspaper under the door of a guest's room. This thoughtful gesture pleases the guest, which is understandable, and he remembers that hotel. His wife, if he is married, will especially remember the hotel when she finds a few flowers in the room "with the compliments of the management." These "little things" constitute a form of showmanship. You can call it courtesy if you wish, but the results accomplished are the same.
In Chicago the manager of one hotel sends a basket of fruit with his personal card to the guest. One famous business man, the head of a large corporation, used to say, "learn the principles of success from a successful man, exactly as you would study music under a master musician." That's the best way to learn all about showmanship.
There's scarcely an idea in this book that cannot be twisted about to apply profitably to your own business or contemplated business, if you will take the time to dig into the principle beneath the stunt.
Many of the businesses mentioned in the stories you are about to read are MAIL ORDER. As the mail-order business itself is a specialized business today—it is quite unusual to the average layman. Therefore, we have included many such interesting enterprises.
It is believed that anyone can succeed in the mail-order business if one has the same qualities needed for starting a local business. And these are: Normal intelligence, a capacity to learn, willingness to work plus IDEAS. Perhaps you will have numerous such ideas after you have finished browsing through the many true experience mail-order stories to be found throughout this book.
Remember that a mail-order business can be located nearly anywhere. Can be operated from your home or premises without the use of expensive fixtures. Unlike a retail business, the mail-order business is not restricted to a few hundred or few thousand prospects. You have the entire country as your market, so to speak. You can begin by soliciting either a few hundred, or a few thousand, prospects according to your capital.
A good idea to keep in mind, generally, is to "look before you leap"; that is to say, test before you plunge. If you are using direct-mail methods (mailing your literature directly to "prospects" from lists) you would not want to circularize a million names without ascertaining first if your idea or product had a favorable chance of "making the grade." By testing a list of say 5,000, you would, all factors equal, be able to get a fair idea if it would be profitable to "work" the entire list. Fortunately, there are Mail Sales Specialists whom you can contact for competent advice before undertaking any mail order venture.
There is a law of averages in making sales by mail as indicated in the foregoing. By mailing out a few thousand pieces of literature you can determine what the net results should be on hundreds of thousands of mailing pieces. To repeat, test before you plunge. Gradually the business grows bigger and bigger as you reinvest your profits and reach out to thousands of new prospects in your own State and 47 others. However, it is a "tricky" business and needs much study by those wishing to enter the field of operation.
The advice is to stay with some local business if you cannot adapt yourself to the odd mail order business. However, as a low-capital enterprise, mail order takes the lead. In this field of business activity, or any other line of business, the wholesaler is your best friend. Tell him your whole story. How much you have and what you know. Especially ask his advice and counsel. He will be glad to give you the benefit of his experience.
The best way to determine the activity that is best suited to your ability and temperament is to read all the numerous suggestions in this book. Then study the one that appeals to you. Reading about the true experiences of others may suggest other profitable plans based on your own natural ability and background.
Sweep out from the chambers of your mind all those miserable negative thoughts like "I can't"—"I'm not suited to run a business, etc." Avoiding all theories on the subject, the author holds the general principle that a person's mental attitude acts as a magnet. If we think success firmly and hold it properly before us, it tends to build up a constant mental attitude which invariably attracts to us the things conductive to its attainment and materialization.
And, now that you have been told of the feast of good things ahead of you in this book, draw up your chair to the table and partake of the nourishing, mental food herein provided. After all, you know "the proof of the pudding lies in the eating", and so fall to and taste that which has been gathered together for your benefit.
Now, while you are filling your plate, the author proposes the opening toast, "Here's to you…may you find within these pages the idea or stimulus that will start you on your journey towards financial independence in a business of your own!"
Note: To account for inflation, multiply prices by 8 to 10.