Grob1o61's Blog

October 14, 2009

Entrepreneurship from Ben Franklin

Filed under: Uncategorized — grob1o61 @ 1:12 am

Hello everybody, it’s that time. Papa DonderVogel is going to chat about business again. Today, the Great American Businessman, Benjamin Franklin. That’s right, not Billy Gates.    BlogGold

     Ben Franklin was the youngest son of fifteenth children. He had a working-class father and only attended school for two years. While educating himself, he was able to make enough money as a printer, to retire by the age of 42.This is the epitome of the American entrepreneur.

       So how did he do it? Everyone knows that Ben was a scientist and inventor. He must have patented an invention and grown rich off of the profits, right? Well, you know how I work, so no that’s probably wrong. Ben Franklin never patented anything. He didn’t believe in it. Old Ben felt that everyone should be able to freely profit from scientific advances. Wow, that sounds a little like Linux and the opensource movement. Sorry, but the geek is going to keep sneaking in here every once in a while.

     Ben started a printing business. In colonial times, as now, printing was a business with high capital startup costs and cut throat competitiveness. One of Ben’s greatest accomplishments was a book called “The Way to Wealth”. Amazingly, this book is still in print. It is basically a book of ‘wise sayings’, such as “A penny saved is a penny earned”. No, that isn’t Ben’s secret to getting rich. He was humble enough to admit that he was never able to cultivate a habit of thriftiness. However, he was wise enough to surround himself, in the persons of his friends, family and business contacts, with people who did have the habits he admired. He also knew the importance of not only working hard and doing things for yourself to cut corners, but making sure that others knew you were working hard and willing to do things for yourself to save costs and make sure that everything is done right.  By doing this, he put the existing competition out of business and started cleaning up.

   In other words, it may not be enough to know your business, work hard and long hours, be certain that everything your customer wants is exactly so and then some, cut costs and beat the competition’s prices. It is at least as important to promote yourself, make sure that everyone, your customers, suppliers, and anybody else you can reach knows that you are willing and able to do whatever it takes. Old Ben’s wisest moves were in promoting himself. One of his best tactics was to do something that people may admire him for, and then not ever admit that he had done so. Instead, the information just sort of leaked out until everyone knew that Ben was the good guy, and also that he was too humble ever to come out and say so. Very smart marketing indeed.

     So, in conclusion for this week, if you are thinking of starting your own business, take a few tips from Ben Franklin. It would be worth your while to read a few of the biographies out on Ben. He was a wily old dog and there’s a lot there that modern entrepreneurs can learn from. Come up with some ideas on marketing yourself without appearing to do so. Nobody seems to like the good guy who is always telling what a good guy he is. Learn to be subtle. That’s it, the whole secret. Say ‘Thank you Papa DonderVogel’ and I will try to find some more business wisdom for next week. So, until then, Dag!!

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