Saturday, January 31, 2009

Friday night, my family and I went to the local high school basketball game. My daughter was dancing at half time of the varsity game (she did great). It was a heck of a game. Harrison High School has been struggling all season. In this game they looked good and had the lead the whole game. But Westfield kept it close and in the 4th quarter mounted a comeback and actually took the lead with about a minute to go. Things looked grim. The feel in the gym was that Harrison, despite a good game, was going to let one slip away.

Then two things happened.

1) Westfield missed the front end of 3, 1 and 1 free throw attempts in the last 2 minutes.

2) Harrison had possession of the ball with less than 7 seconds to go, dribbled the length of the court and scored a lay up at the buzzer to win by 1 point!

As we walked to the car, I couldn't help but think about how the game encapsulated 2 key lessons in life. Those keys are: Its the little things that make the difference and never give up.

We started the Lafayette Puzzle Factory less than a year ago. In that time, we have had to do a lot of little things. The big things are easy to identify. I have a good friend who does real estate development. The difference between himself and people who think they can do real estate development is his ability to handle the millions of little details involved in developing a piece of land. Anyone can look at an empty corner lot at a busy intersection and know that it would be good location for a real estate development. What separates those who do their profession well is someone like my friend knows how to plow through the million of obstacles to actually making that piece of real estate work.

The same is true with my company. We work on the little stuff far more than the big stuff everyday. Bringing a product to market involves making our free throws more than three pointers and half court shots. And what I am finding is that the more we focus on the little stuff the better the product or initiative we are introducing turns out to be.

And we do not give up. Being he new guy on the block, we have lots of opportunity to just give up. Its hard to get appointments sometimes with licensors or retailers. I have written before how we spend a lot of time introducing ourselves to buyers. Buyers at retailers are constantly inundated with companies wanting to sell them stuff. There are not enough hours in the day to meet with everyone who wants a meeting. We understand this. But they do meet with some new potential vendors. And we are happy that they meet with us. And they meet with us, I think, because we try not to waste their time or be annoying. We just simply keep telling our story in as brief and direct an approach as possible. We are respectful of their time.

The bottom line:whether it is school, business, or sports, you need to work on the small things and not let obstacles get in your way Take care of the small stuff and the big stuff (winning, grades, sales) will follow.


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