Wednesday, September 26, 2018

The value of a penny

I stole this, but it was so good I needed to share.

From Matthew Chappell

 My grandfather never passed a penny laying on the ground that he didn't pick up. I'd like to say I didn't either, but I've been known to when I'm in a hurry. I was recently conducting a Cooperative Extension program and had a group of nursery folks all standing in a cold frame with black landscape fabric covering the floor. I noticed a shiny penny sitting right there in plain view. Do you think anyone picked up the penny? Nope … until I walked back in and did so.

But first, we exited the cold frame and I stopped them and asked, "Who saw the penny on the floor?" Of 16 participants, 12 said they had. I asked why didn't they pick it up? I received two responses: "It's only a penny" and "I didn't want to interrupt you."

Both of these, while interesting and valid, were also quite disturbing. First, a penny is equal to a 1% profit laying right there on the floor. If your contracting firm or nursery has a gross profit of $100,000, that penny on the floor is now equal to $1,000. Is it still unimportant? I certainly hope not.

Second, sometimes a business needs to disturb the peace to make that extra 1% profit. No business has ever grown market share without disturbing (negatively) a competitor. If someone wants to leave that 1% on the floor, you better believe someone is going to see the value in it and bend over, regardless of who's watching. I'd hope that person is you. At some point in the life of a business, it will separate failure and success. 


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