The single hardest part of owning a business is attracting and retaining customers. I know firsthand the difficulty of getting people to invest in you. Sometimes with the best product it is still a daunting task to get people to rally behind you. People are stubborn in their habits. Getting someone, anyone to change their behavior takes time. If they say yes to you, they have said no to someone else in that transaction. Every single day we say yes or no a few hundred times. Commerce is a fickled business and some of the best ideas never get off the ground simply because time ran out, resources ran out and spirits got crushed in the pursuit of standing it up.
I wonder what would happen if we took more time with each other? If we learned the story behind our presentation. Then that basket of peaches on the back of his truck takes on new meaning. Its importance becomes rooted in something. I come to know that Mr. Brown has been selling peaches off the back of his truck since 5 AM because he wants to be home before it gets dark. See his wife, Elma has dementia and she gets scared and sometimes wanders off. So Mr. Brown sells a basket of peaches for $2, with a profit margin of next to nothing, just so he can be home in time to comfort and see after his queen before dusk sets in. Now when I hand Mr. Brown $2, I receive my blessing. I walk away with my face turned up to the sky. I savor its taste and the labor behind it. I think of all the baskets of peaches Mr. Brown must sell in order to take care of his bride. I think of the gas it takes to bring that small basket of peaches to my doorstep. I think of the pesticide, the seeds, the packaging, the back bending it took to deliver me that sweet moment. I think of all those times before that I passed by Mr. Brown with his calloused hands and single glove sitting on the bench of his truck with no customers in sight.
I crossed the street headed into that national grocery store to buy my peaches that came from who knows where. Commerce can be a fickled business, I wish we invested more time in making it a heart business too!