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Thursday, August 8, 2013

Understanding Success

The goose that laid the golden egg
 The Goose that laid the Golden Egg is a lesson to be learned and/or taught about greed, often repeated as the killing of the goose that lays the golden egg.
  • Avianus and Caxton tell different stories of a goose that lays a golden egg, where other versions have a hen, as in Townsend: "A cottager and his wife had a Hen that laid a golden egg every day. They supposed that the Hen must contain a great lump of gold in its inside, and in order to get the gold they killed it. Having done so, they found to their surprise that the Hen differed in no respect from their other hens. The foolish pair, thus hoping to become rich all at once, deprived themselves of the gain of which they were assured day by day."
  • In early telling, there is sometimes a commentary warning against greed rather than a pithy moral. This is so in Jean de La Fontaine's fable which begins with the sentiment that 'Greed loses all by striving all to gain' and comments at the end that the story can be applied to those who become poor by trying to outreach themselves.
The English idiom, sometimes shortened to "Killing the golden goose", derives from this fable. It is generally used to point to a short-sighted action that destroys the profitability of an asset. From a very young age I was taught that in fact you must protect the Goose that lays the golden eggs.  In real life and real business, you must first analyze and come to realize to what you owe your success and profitability; that then becomes that special object of profits production (golden eggs).
I like to brag that when I first learned to make my first twenty dollars, the second twenty came even easier, and so it follows up the line; the first ten thousand, the first one hundred thousand etc., I am now working on the second million (I gave up on the first). Now, for the reason for writing this post.
The first thing that got me going in the work world, was when I learned that no one was doing me any favors.  I needed something they (employers) had (money), and I had something they wanted (labor, and a strong back).  This lesson came early while I was still living on the farm and attending Junior High School.  Later on, I also learned that you could do more things with a trained (educated) mind than you could with a strong back (for a lot longer anyway).
It also follows that you only have so much daylight in a day, and you can only trade so much of your personal hours of labor for money.  So the lesson here is to organize a team that is willing to work for you, on a project or assignment that you have access (contract) to.  You then must charge an adequate amount of money, so you can pay your help and overhead costs including all necessary expenses (taxes and permits included), and make a reasonable profit in order to maintain the drive to keep your interest in the business.
Now for the lesson of the day; you need to stay aware of source of success and keep it happy.  Your work force must be maintained happy, and properly compensated.  So you achieve that in one of two ways: 
  • You increase the cost of providing the service for your contract or,
  • You lower your profit margin and increase the labor rate.
If your profit goes too low you will lose the incentive to stay in business, and if your labor costs cause unrest in the labor force and they walk, you won’t have any business profits anyway.  Therein lies the secret to business success.  In this case the goose that lays the golden egg is the labor force.  Every situation is different and that is why you must analyze and determine what is at the center of your success.  The best is yet to come…

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