Ideas Make the World Go Round

Services for Real Estate Pros with Marte Cliff Copywriting

Last night I had work to do in the kitchen that occupied my hands and not my mind, so I dug out an old set of casette tapes and began listening to Napoleon Hill.

On the tape he talks about the man who started the Piggley Wiggley stores. He worked in a grocery store, mostly delivering groceries. And he had ideas - lots and lots of ideas. His boss got so sick of hearing them that he told the young man that the next time he came up with an idea he would be fired. The boss was tired of this employee "wasting his time" with nonsense.

Not long after the boss issued this ultimatum, the young man ran across a new concept: A cafeteria where people could get in line and choose the food they wanted rather than sit at a table and order.

He got so excited about how that could apply to the grocery business that man with an ideahe ran back to tell his boss.

When the boss said "You're fired" he replied "No, I'm not. I resigned before I started to speak."

The idea was for a grocery store where customers could come in and choose the items they wanted, then take them to the counter to pay for them. The boss said it would never work.

Later he told someone that he figured every word he spoke when he fired the young man had cost him about a million dollars.

Piggley Wiggley was a huge success and the young man was soon a multi-millionaire.

That got me thinking about my former broker, and the reason that I opened my own agency.

I read about real estate all the time and I kept getting ideas. Every time I'd open my mouth to tell my broker he'd groan and say "Oh boy, so what's THIS going to cost me?" He didn't yell at me for wasting his time, but he didn't grab the ideas and run, either.

So... I did. I got a brokers license and opened my own agency in order to have the freedom to try new ideas.

A few years later my landlord accused me of being the reason why my former broker and a couple of other agencies were no longer around. He said "You ran them out of business."

I said "No - they ran themselves out of business by being unwilling to move forward."

It was the difference in perception between an expense and an investment.

All my former broker could see was the cost. A new idea to him was a way to spend money, not a way to invest in the business in order to make more money.

And some of those ideas were SO simple. I was suggesting things like monthly activity reports, brochure boxes, and "just listed" cards. When I think of it now it's hard to imagine there was a time when those things were new, unusual, and too expensive to consider.

Are you following through with your own ideas?

Granted, not every idea is a good one. And it's probably not smart to spend too much money testing something new. But if we don't keep changing and moving ahead...

I think we're sunk.

Go for the gold... explore your ideas!

Image courtesy of Dreamstine


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  1. Bobbie Smith 09/17/2011 12:31 AM
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David Shamansky
US Mortgages - David Shamansky - Highlands Ranch, CO
Creative, Aggressive & 560 FICO - OK, Colorado Mtg

Trial and error. Educated guesses on some points are a must as if we all had perfectly routed road maps then everyone would be successful and life easy. Unfortunately its not. We have to make choices and take risks and take action!

good post

Sep 16, 2011 08:57 PM #1
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Thanks David. Yes, risks are part of the equation. But since the world keeps chaning, if we don't go with new ideas now and then, we'll be left in the dust.

Sep 16, 2011 09:03 PM #2
Peter Preston-Thomas
Real Ottawa - Kanata, ON

Tom Peters calls that need to keep changing and adapting the "white collar revolution."  He says if you just stay still and stagnant, you'll be left in the dust.  Congratulations on demonstrating that point with your own brokerage.  It's great to hear.

Sep 16, 2011 09:43 PM #3
Debbie Gartner
The Flooring Girl - White Plains, NY
The Flooring Girl & Blog Stylist -Dynamo Marketers

What a super post, Marte.  You are so right.  We all need to be open to new ideas and evolve.  If we don't, we are stagnant and will never survive.  Good for you.

Sep 16, 2011 11:38 PM #4
Mimi Foster
Voted Colorado Springs Best Realtor

Excellent post, Marte.  We get so complacent with the 'it never worked before' mentality, or the 'this is the way we've always done it' train of thought.  I need to get better at my follow-thru :)

Sep 17, 2011 12:59 AM #5
Tammy Emineth
Personal SEO - Website SEO and Real Estate Marketing - Marysville, WA
Content Marketer, SEO Teacher, Website Fixer

Great blog, Marte, and yes, we have to constantly be moving forward with new ideas. Meet the Robinsons is one of my all-time favorite movies because it's all about "keep moving forward". Without a vision, the people perish. Always have new ideas, always have chances and opportunities to explore them. I always let my boys try and fail because it's in the failing that they are pushed to succeed. HAve a super weekend! :)

Sep 17, 2011 01:35 AM #6
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Peter - I do believe that - if we stand still we slide backward.

Debbie - Since we all want to earn a bit more, we need to remember what Joe Vitale says - "Money doesn't create ideas. ideas create money."

Mimi - Isn't it strange that intellectually we KNOW that - everyone should know it. But we STILL hear people say "..because this is the way we've always done it."

Tammy - Thanks. Your boys have a smart mom. If you meet someone who has never failed it means you met someone who has never done a darn thing.

Sep 17, 2011 06:04 AM #7
Ruthmarie Hicks
Keller Williams NY Realty - 120 Bloomingdale Road #101, White Plains NY 10605 - White Plains, NY

Its hard to decide what is a really great idea and what is just a passing fancy. I'm trying to act more on my ideas  - both in and out of the real estate industry.

Sep 18, 2011 07:51 AM #8
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Ruthmarie - Yes, it is. That's why it's good to test your ideas before you spend a lot of money on them. But good for you for acting on yours! Those ideas seem to be swirling in the universe, and if they're good, somebody will grab them and go for the gold. Might as well be you.

Sep 19, 2011 06:32 AM #9
Leslie Prest
Leslie Prest, Prest Realty, Sales and Rentals in Payson, AZ - Payson, AZ
Owner, Assoc. Broker, Prest Realty, Payson,

We, too, opened our own office, and the Broker who fired us (You can't fire us, we quit!) is no longer in business. Before she closed down she called us and asked if we would go partnership with her. My husband was nice, he didn't laugh ubtil after he hung up.

Isn't it nice to be able to do things the way you think they should be done?

Sep 20, 2011 09:45 AM #10
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