Who doesn’t dream of owning their very own business? John is a successful small business owner, making a tidy profit off of ownership of a chain of restaurants in Chicago. He is living the American dream, you might say, but getting to that point was like a nightmare.
It’s been a tradition in his family to own small businesses – or at least to try. His uncle ran a small construction company, another uncle ran a furniture store, but when John started his business, times were so lean that neither of them had any work for his cousin who was looking for a summer job. His cousin was in high school, but there wasn’t much for him to do but follow the mind-numbing American tradition of flipping burgers that summer – that is, until John called him.
At the time, John showed off, pretending he had charmed the money to start the business out of a bunch of wealthy investors. Now his cousin know that he probably just got a small business license, but he was so taken by his finesse growing up, that he believed him. The first month of work was just getting the shack he rented up to health code. There were birds nesting in the walls and rats in the floor, but finally it was sparkling clean and ready for business.
The first week, nothing worked out. Opening day was deserted, the fryer broke, the power even went out once for six hours! It seemed John’s small business had a small run. All summer was spent just trying to get the place on its feet. Finally, his cousin had to go back to school.
So what worked for John? Plain old persistence. He worked day and night, posted flyers all over town, sent out circulars, and made connections everywhere he went. There was never a “big break”, but rather, a series of little ones which added up to success. He was featured once in the entertainment section of the local newspaper. He sponsored a little league team, and found his place soon patronized not only by them, but by several of their rivals every week after practice. Soon he was opening up a second restaurant on the other side of town, and then a third. It took him years of hard work, and twice he almost went under. But he’s always told his counsin that hard work just made the success that much sweeter.