Thursday, May 7, 2009

We're making this too hard.

I think we can all picture the young man walking down the dirt path, dog at his side, cane pole over his shoulder and a stringer of fish in his other hand. I can imagine that there are worms in the tobacco can in his pocket. I know he has a pocket folding knife, 'cause whittlin' time and fishing time kinda go together. I'm pretty sure there's a peanut butter and jelly sandwich somewhere in the picture. Those were simpler times. The boy grew up, the dirt path became a paved highway. They even filled in the skinny dipping hole(I'm saving that for another blog) The boy stills goes fishing, only now he pulls his Bass Tracker behind his Hummer. His cane pole has been replaced with a pole and reel that would cost many people a weeks wages. We'll never see his stringer of fish. Now he practices catch and release.. His tackle box has replaced the can of worms. Fish must prefer plastic and feathers these days.. So when my grand kids asked me to take them fishing I stood in wonder. Which concept did they have in mind? Did I need to refi the house or we going to have fish for supper courtesy of simpler times?
I asked an older craft-er just how he created his craft business, How did he get started..His answer reminded me of those simpler times. He said.. " Make ten things you like. Take them to the market, sell some. Come home make the ones you sold again." I must have looked amused.
'cause he said "Pay attention." I waited for more to follow my scolding. It became apparent to me, as he got his pocket knife out of his pocket. That " paying attention" had been part of the original instructions... I asked a test question "Why ten items?" "I hate figurin fractions".. As he whittled a little. "See this little note book? There's a reason it says Brain on the cover. That's where I do my 'figurin'. I guess my eyes asked figuring what. "I count the number of people that go by my booth. I count the number of people that stop, and the number of sales. I note the weather and if anything big is going on. " he grinned. I was beginning to catch on. "Oh Ten items so that when you sell 3 items you have sold thirty percent." Brain held lots of other information. About the customers... Which colors sold best. "See", he said, " there's lots of people that could make the things I make, some of them better than I do...They don't know which things to make, when. You have to pay attention. " This old gentleman had just given me the basics of market research. He was every bit a master of it as Radio Shack, Wall Mart or any large grocery store. He didn't know the fancy terms.. But he did know his market. Pay attention, in deed! I noticed a cane pole over in a corner. Maybe we're making this too hard?

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