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When I was in college, I took World Lit 101, and among the books we had to read was Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy. We had a few choices, but I went with Anna because the back cover said it had to do with adultery and I was an eighteen-year-old boy, so I hoped for some hot parts. I have two things to report. Although it is a terrific story, there are no hot parts. And secondly, I urge you to consider the opening lines. "All unhappy families are the same, each unhappy family has a different tale to tell."
That may be true for families, but not for business. In my experience, all unhappy businesses are the same: they go out of business. But every successful business is a thing unto itself. If I hadn't seen an ad for a flower franchise while wolfing down a baloney sandwich one afternoon in Queens, I might today be the proud operator of a carwash on Lefferts Boulevard, or maybe a McDonalds somewhere on Long Island. A lot of things had to happen just right before my desire to be a businessman turned into a successful enterprise. The original 1-800-FLOWERS guys in Dallas had run out of time with their big idea so they would need to unload the company. Bernie Lynch had to front me three months' worth of flowers because my cash flow was basically minus. And on and on. So, yes, there are lessons to draw from my experience, and I am not going to let you finish this book without laying my deeply considered wisdom on you (again). But before I do that, remember that businesses, like people, have lives. And life is a one-time event....
Or, to put it another way, opportunity never announces in advance when it is going to come knocking. Make sure you're not hanging around in your underwear. Put some jeans on. Answer the door.