Sitting around the table at a restaurant was a group of jewelers enjoying good food and fellowship together after a long day at a jewelry trade show. I couldn’t help but overhear their conversation as my wife and I were sitting at the table next to them. One jeweler told another, “If only I were in a bigger city like you are, I could really be doing so much more business. All of the furniture factories and mills where I’m at have shut down and jobs are scarce and money is so tight.”
This is too often the conversation when jewelry store owners gather to socialize. Don’t get me wrong, I’m in a small furniture/textile town myself and admittedly we’ve felt the one-two punch that the “Great Recession” has dealt us as well. However, all the grumbling and complaining in the world isn’t going to help the matter - and what’s more, hearing yourself talk about it to others only poisons your attitude.
Many of you have probably read the story of Russell Conwell and how in raising money for Temple University, he gave a speech entitled “Acres of Diamonds.” If you haven’t heard it before, you should Google the story on the internet, it’s a definite pick me upper!! The synopsis of the story is we are all sitting right in the middle of our very own “Acres of Diamonds” if we will just take the time to think about it, look around, observe and discover them on our own!
Earl Nightingale once said, “If we were to ask many folks to speak up and tell what was on their minds, they would be speechless!” So I ask you, how many times in the past week have you taken the time to think about your business and the opportunities that lie within your own jewelry store? How many have taken the time to discover the opportunities in your own city or area?
Yes friends, wonderful opportunities still abound even in the aftermath of recession and right in your very own area. Perhaps if each of us were to use just a little more of the brains that God has given us, we could discover our own “Acre of Diamonds.” Let me give you an example.
Several years ago, here in North Carolina, a law was passed requiring anyone over the age of 18 and working to have a GED or high school diploma. Many of the people working in our local factories didn’t meet this qualification and had never finished high school. This presented a dilemma for many because if they didn’t soon get their GED, they would lose their job.
In one of my early morning brainstorming sessions, I came up with the idea to offer these companies a way to give their employees an incentive to get their GED’s and thereby keep their jobs. Working with one of my class ring vendors, we developed a GED class ring for each company that could be offered at a reasonable price ($199 I believe at that time).
How this worked was, if the employee agreed to finish the appropriate classes and earn their GED, the company they worked for would purchase and give the employee one of these beautiful class rings. It really was a win/win for everyone. The company kept valued employees and didn’t have to go thru the expense of training new people, and the employee got their GED (many had always wanted to do so), plus a beautiful class ring, and needless to say, they kept their jobs!
How did this benefit our store? The employees of each company had to come in the store to order their class ring (increasing store traffic) plus we were able to make many new clients who later came back to buy other things from us. Oh, did I mention just one company alone purchased over 80 class rings for their employees? Not too bad for an idea that I came up with over the breakfast table!
This is just one example of how you may “Bloom Where You Are Planted.” What ideas can you come up with? I challenge you to do so. Don’t worry about the jeweler you met at the convention who’s in a bigger town - you have every bit as much opportunity right where you are if you’ll take the time to simply think about it!
Now get those creative juices flowing, and as my friend Bill Thunberg (who I worked with many years ago) used to say, “Cook With Gas and Take No Prisoners!”