During the gold rush of 1849, a gentleman called Sam Brannan became the first millionaire in San Francisco’s history. Sam was an entrepreneur and an extremely smart person.
So not a complete surprise that he became rich then you might think, given all the gold that was around at that time. What you may not know though, is he did it without finding a single piece of gold.
So how did he do it?
Well, he knew that hundreds of people were moving to San Francisco each month, as the lure of ‘gold fever’ was becoming infectious. And so Sam had an idea. Instead of joining the huge crowds of hungry gold-seekers, he did things a little differently.
He went out and bought all the shovels that he could.
He Didn’t Dig for Gold, He Sold the Shovel
As more and more people came to look for gold, the only store around that had shovels to sell was Sam’s, and so he made a killing. Pretty much everyone looking for gold who needed a shovel came to his store.
And so there’s a valuable lesson to be learned from this example of entrepreneurship, one we could all follow.
The lesson is that there is often more money and opportunity in selling the tools (information and tools) needed to do the ‘thing’, rather than just doing ’it’ for clients. Let’s look at a practical example of how this could work…
Imagine you’re an accountant who does a really good job at generating referrals and new customers from recommendations and by using social media. Do you think that this ‘skill’ could be packaged up in to an information product, such as a dvd or set of videos, and sold to other accountants?
You bet it could.
The Possibilities are Endless
You could produce ebooks, audio cd’s, and have them available on your site to sell. You could even hold seminars, and do Joint Ventures with other businesses. You see, there is more opportunity in teaching how to do something, than actually doing that something yourself.
And whilst to many this may sound very difficult to do, you’d be surprised. Do you have a blog for example? Do you write helpful, informative posts about your particular business? If you do, you’re half-way there.
And its nowhere near as expensive as you’d think either. A decent video can be professionally shot pretty inexpensively (even cheaper if you have your own camcorder). Putting that video on dvd is also not the expensive and arduous task it once was.
The ability to solve problems is a tried and tested formula for success, and by helping people to do this, you could create a useful additional income stream for your business.
Contributed by special guest writer Simon Thurston
Simon Thurston is a business consultant, marketing expert and author of “The Death of Traditional Marketing – A New Revolution is Here“. He lives in the beautiful Cotswolds, in the South West of the UK.
He specialises in results generated direct response marketing, helping traditional “bricks and mortar” service businesses to improve their revenue, gain more clients, as well as very often reducing their marketing costs in the process.