Sample Chapter of 'If It's to Be: It's Up to Me . . . "

The Invisible Hand

I'm in the final stages of my book, 'If It's To Be: The Entrepreneur's Mindset' and I wanted to share a chapter with you just because. In fact, this is a chapter that is kind of 'iffy' to me, so please read and let me know what you think of it. Thank you.

The Invisible Hand or Start With 'Why' and a Shameless Rift on the Two

I was born in New York City, moved to Florida for my teens and early twenties, then back to NYC for a few years. While I was there I worked about 4 different jobs at the same time, sometimes working 24 hours straight. I was in my mid-twenties, so I could do that. And I liked the money.

Being up in the middle of the night in the ‘city that never sleeps’ I was amazed at how things got done. For instance, one job I had was catering video production shoots, like commercials, music videos, etc., and I had to be at the shop around 4 AM. On the way I’d see rock stars getting out of limos and into late night clubs, others dragging home from later night jobs or partying. I’d see the owners and workers of breakfast spots and newspapers kiosks setting up for the day. And one of the great pleasures was to be the first one at H&H Bagels on the upper West Side, getting supplies for the catering job, and sampling the fresh, hot bagels they’d bagged for us.

At that time I thought of something called ‘The Invisible Hand’ as those people who worked while I slept, who drove the trucks, stocked the shelves and made sure that the corner deli always had fresh supplies. I didn’t wonder about how it got done, because I saw the ‘elves’ at work all night long, driving, baking, delivering, sweeping the streets and I had nothing but respect for the people who did the work – whether they were the employee or the owner. Ask a baker what he or she is doing at 2AM while you’re sleeping!

Then I found out that Adam Smith, around late 18th Century, right about when America was fighting for its political and financial freedom, was describing an ‘invisible hand’ that guided a free economy. His theory, inexact brevity, is that starting a business or selling a product, for self gain or totally selfish aims, can’t but help to benefit the society in general – unintended consequences. It also says that prices will re-set and adjust according to circumstances and competition. I’m not here to argue the free market or regulation, but I mention this because you can only charge what you can charge in correlation to other products and competitors. If you think you’ll charge a high fee, make a million and your product or service is so great that the public will beat a path to your door . . . Unlikely. And as soon as you’re open to the public someone will knock you off, copy or undersell you. It’s called ‘making a buck’.

Now here’s where ‘Start With Why’ comes in. In one of the most popular TED talks of all time Simon Sinek explains this in about fifteen minutes. Look it up. Watch it. In fact, watch TED talks often and make them an ‘Island of Safety’ to inspire you when you’re feeling stuck. To save time though, I’ll explain it briefly.

If you are in touch with your WHY, the reason you’re in business, the reason your product helps people, you’ll be more motivated than if you sell the ‘what’. Which statement is more enrolling: ‘We sell really great refrigerators’ or ‘We bring good things to life’?

WHY would you put your time, your money, your life into a product. How will it benefit the world? What will it do for people? Do you know someone who is a police officer? Do people get involved and ask about their jobs? How about someone who says ‘I make it possible for people to sleep safely in their beds’? Now that would prompt you to say ‘tell me more’, wouldn’t it? 

Can you imagine yourself ‘resupplying the city’ as I originally understood the principal, as you contribute to the good of all, to the rest of society? Can you do that knowing that others will try to beat you, take your business, under-sell you, and it’s not because they’re ‘bad’? Can you put up with government input, interference, taxes and regulation as an expected part of success? Is your WHY you do this a big enough umbrella to shelter it all when it rains or pours?

Think about it before you commit.