A young man with zeal decided to stop making excuses and get into business. He started a used shoe business because he liked shoes and that’s all he could afford.
He bought 20 pairs of shoes and set them up on a table in the town square. After weeks of trying, he couldn’t sell a single pair. Frustrated and demoralized, he spoke to one of the successful merchants. After listening to his predicament, the merchant told him:
“People are not buying from you for three reasons:
- They do not want what you are selling
- They cannot afford what you are selling
- They do not believe you
You have to figure out which one it is and fix it.”
“But how?” the young man asked.
“The market has all the answers you need.”
The next day, the young man setup his table of shoes and began walking around the square. He stopped a passerby and asked:
“Excuse me, I’m an entrepreneur. I started a business and I’d like to get your advice. You don’t have to buy anything.”
The man relaxed, became curious and they began talking. He spoke to a few other people that day. He learned that most of the people at the square really like Italian shoes. So he put up a sign the next day — “Italian Shoes”
Finally, he started getting some sales. But it wasn’t enough. He needed to sell 100 pairs a week but was selling only 2 pairs a week. He decided to try the old trick again. A lady stopped by his table and was about to leave. He asked her:
“Miss, you stopped to take a look but decided not to buy. Tell me what makes you hesitate?”
“Your shoes look old. And the prices seem high.”
The next day he removed all the old looking shoes. He spent an extra 20 minutes dusting off the best ones and put a sticker next to one:
“Was $50, now $5”
He sold a lot of shoes that day. He was making enough money to start selling new shoes. Soon he discovered a problem with the shoe business – people don’t buy shoes often. He kept talking to his customers.
One of his frequent customers had suddenly stopped buying. He called the guy and find out what happened. It turns out that the customer is a school principle and was buying shoes for the poor kids from his paycheck. But the principle was hard up and couldn’t afford to buy any more shoes.
Touched, he offered free shoes for the poor kids for one year. The story about his goodwill was featured in the town newspaper. Soon parents were buying shoes from him. He had found a sweet spot – kids shoes. Turns out that kids buy a lot of shoes.
Our young entrepreneur was soon on his way.
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