What Can We Learn from a Hot Dog Vendor?
I've been talking with several people from around the country about the business environment these days. Some are doing great. Some are struggling. Everyone agrees these are challenging times. A few folks have confided they are a bit depressed and scared about these uncertain economic times. I understand that. We are living through an interesting season.
A discussion about fear brings to mind a classic story of timely relevance. It is about a hot dog vendor who could have made it big. He almost did, but then he lost his nerve. This man, let's call him Fred, suffered from poor eyesight, so he didn't watch television or read the newspapers. He was also hard of hearing, so he didn't listen to the radio either. But he made good hot dogs.
Every morning, at the crack of dawn, Fred visited the market where he stocked up with the best-quality sausages and the freshest rolls available. And before office commuters hit the streets on their way to work, he took up his position at a busy intersection. "Lovely morning, Sir, don't you want to buy a hot dog?" he would say when a man passed by. "You look especially lovely today, Madam, don't you want to buy a hot dog?" he would call out to passing females. And because his stall looked clean and inviting and the smells that emanated from his sausage cooker were seductive, few passers-by could not resist.
Business was brisk, but Fred wanted more. He had a banner made that advertised his hot dogs and put it up between two street poles every morning. This meant that he had to get out of bed even earlier each day, but he didn't mind because it drove sales upwards.
Incredible as it may sound, Fred made enough money from his hot dog stand that he could put his son through university followed by an MBA. When the boy had completed his studies, father and son set down to discuss the future. "You know, son," Fred said, "I have never told anyone this but it has always been my dream to set up a chain of hot dog stands across the city, and perhaps even in cities and towns around the country. There could even be teams of part-timers to cover sporting events.