Over the years I have discovered that most people fail in business simply because they give up too soon. It doesn’t require anything to give up and quit, but it does require some courage and stamina to “keep a-goin’”. I don’t know if you’ve ever heard the story of Charlie Lubin or not, but perhaps more than any other, it exemplifies the point of this Tip.
Charlie made a great cheesecake. In fact, it was so good that he decided to open a cheesecake store on the north side of Chicago. The store was so successful that in time, he decided to open a second store on the south side of the city. Unfortunately that store did not do well and because of overwhelming expenses, he eventually lost both stores.
One night he sat in his room eating some of the great cheesecake that he made and thought, “I know this is good cheesecake!” He decided to try again. He opened his original store on the north side of Chicago and decided to just stick with one store. However, after a while, he opened a second store and once again, fate struck. He ended up losing both stores again because of the financial drain that the additional store was on the entire business operation.
Still convinced that he had a great product, a few months later he opened shop for a third time, and guess what? It did extremely well. Business was booming! So, for the third time he opened a second store and for the third time, it failed! Good grief!
I know this sounds ridiculous and without driving you crazy as you read this story, believe it or not, it happened a fourth time! That’s right, four different times Charlie opened a store that succeeded and a second one that failed, causing him to lose them both. After the fourth time, he was really ready to give up and quit trying!
However, Charlie was certain that he made a great cheesecake and that everyone would love it, so, he decided to open a store – one more time. Only this time, he changed the name of his store and named his cheesecake and bakery after his daughter, Sarah Lee. And the rest, as they say, is history. It became one of the world’s largest bakeries.
What amazed me about that story is not that Charlie failed four different times, but that he failed in the same way four different times. You would think after one or two times, he would have learned his lesson. But, because he was convinced that he had a good product, he decided that he would keep a-goin’.
I think Charlie must have memorized the poem that I was forced to memorize in the sixth grade called, Keep A-Goin’, by Frank L. Stanton. His life certainly demonstrated it!
If you strike a thorn or rose,
If it hails or if it snows,
‘Taint no use to sit an’ whine
When the fish ain’t on your line;
Bait your hook an’ keep a-tryin’–
When the weather kills your crop,
Though ’tis work to reach the top,
S’pose you’re out o’ ev’ry dime,
Gittin’ broke ain’t any crime;
Tell the world you’re feelin’ prime–
When it looks like all is up,
Drain the sweetness from the cup,
See the wild birds on the wing,
Hear the bells that sweetly ring,
When you feel like singin’, sing–
Last month my company, Personality Insights, Inc., completed twenty-eight years of being in business. We incorporated in 1991. I can hardly believe it! Have there ever been times I wanted to throw in the towel and quit? You bet! There have been some huge challenges along the way and it has not always been easy. However, running a business has done more to mature me than just about anything else that has transpired in my life.
I plan on continuing to be an encouragement and a blessing to as many people as I can until the end comes. I have come too far to turn back now, so I guess, like Charlie, I’ll just keep a-goin’! And whatever your endeavor, I hope you will keep a-goin’ with me!
Tip: Keep a-goin’!
Have a great week! God bless you!
Dr. Robert A. Rohm
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