Unless you are sitting in an astronomy class, you probably don’t hear the word “trillion” in too many conversations. Unless, of course, you are talking about our national debt. Our federal government’s total debt is almost $19 trillion, which is about equal to all the goods and services we Americans produce in an entire year. In other words, if the government were to confiscate every company’s production (and I’m not talking about their earnings, but everything that rolls off the production line), they would only be able to pay down the debt, and not have anything left over to pay for government services like national defense, medicare, social security, and the like. So, how will the government ever make a dent in this enormous number, much less pay it back? The same way governments have been doing it for years – they will just print the money, making it worth less each year.
So, the next time your customer asks you, “Hey, where do you think the price of gold is going?” you can remind him or her that our government owes almost $19 trillion, and ask him which he’d rather have five years from now, an ounce of gold or $1200 cash!
The other word I can live without is “entrepreneur”. When I meet jewelry business owners around the country, I often ask them how they got into this business. None of them ever said they wanted to be an entrepreneur. It is always something along the lines of:
“I was a rock hound as a kid, and owning a gem shop was just a grown up way to continue my passion.”
“My first job as a teenager was polishing castings after school, and I just never left the bench.”
“From the time I designed my first macaroni necklace, I knew I needed a place to offer my own designs.”
“I worked as a store manager for twenty years and decided it was time to see if my own ideas for running a store really were better.”
None of the successful business owners I’ve met ever talked about changing the world or disrupting the way business was done. They didn’t dream of a life without boundaries. They simply followed the path that their interests and skill sets led them and built a business from there. They provide jobs, goods and services for their customers, support their vendors, and pay taxes that help their local communities.
Today, schools offer courses in entrepreneurship. And, while there is some value in learning how to raise capital and bring your idea to the market, the schools have it backwards. You really need a skill, a passion, and a working idea to be successful. So, when we meet, and I ask how your kids are doing, please don’t tell me your daughter is an entrepreneur. Tell me she is a designer, a store manager, or whatever. Just don’t tell me she is an entrepreneur.
This month, The 24 Karat Club will announce its Jeweler of the Year for 2015. The Jeweler of the Year is the most prestigious award The 24 Karat Club bestows, and the winner is announced at a black tie gala attended by close to 300 members and guests of The Club. The winner is selected for his or her contribution to the community and service to the jewelry industry.
At the dinner, the Jeweler of the Year is announced, and in the introductory remarks, we’ll hear the many inspirational reasons why this person was so honored. And, then we get to hear from the winning jeweler. Past winners have talked about personal sacrifices they’ve made, or special efforts they’ve made to serve their communities. It is always one of the highlights of the year, and everyone is eagerly looking forward to learning who this year’s winner will be.
One thing is for certain. The winner’s speech will bring tears to our eyes, will make us want to do better things in our own lives, and will not utter the words trillion or entrepreneur.
Howard Kelrick is President of Finger Mate and a board member of The 24 Karat Club, SEUS. Finger Mate manufactures and installs expandable ring shanks and sells to retail jewelers throughout North America. Contact Howard at 954-458-2700 or e-mail Howard@FingerMate.com.