As a result of this kind of management, the final accounting showed the liabilities of the concern to be in the neighborhood of four hundred thousand dollars and its assets only about forty-five thousand. No one could be found to take the business, even as a gift, and assume its obligations. The owner himself had his capital so tightly involved in other ventures that he was unable to save this concern, and it was therefore sold under the hammer. The creditors received their little eleven cents on the dollar. The owner’s capital investment was, of course, a total and complete loss.
This man made his mistake in placing a business in which there is a multitude of detail and a necessity for the closest possible scrutiny of every cent of expenditure—a business which must be done upon the smallest possible margin in order to be successful—in the hands of a man who could look only outward and forward and upward. The young man was, indeed, a splendid business getter. He was a natural-born advertiser, salesman, and promoter. His personality was forceful, pleasing, and magnetic. In his intentions and principles he was honest and highly honorable. He was keen, positive, quick in thought, quick in action, progressive, eager, buoyant; he had a splendid grasp of large affairs, principles, and generalities. But he had no mind for details; he rather scorned them. He was perfectly willing to leave the details to someone else, and even then did not care to hear any more about them himself. He never ought to have been placed in charge of a business involving such minute carefulness as the mail-order business. He was dangerous in any position of responsibility without a partner or an auditor and treasurer competent to look after the finances and all of the details of the accounting and administration. This young man’s function was getting in the business, but he was not equipped by nature or by training to take care of the business after it came into the house or to administer the funds which came in with it. The capitalist would have known, if he had exercised one-half the care in choosing a general manager that he did in selecting a driving horse, that the young man was unfitted for the work he was expected to do.
He would have known that anyone as blonde in coloring and as round-headed as this young man was unfit for a position which required the minutest and most careful scrutiny of every detail of administration. He would also have noticed his wide-open, credulous, and generous eye; the narrowness of his head just behind the ears, indicating his inclination to side-step anything in the nature of a disagreeable contest or combat. The high dome of his head just above the temple and the turned up tip of his nose, both indicating extreme optimism; his very short fingers, indicating dislike of detail and the inability to handle it; his rather soft-elastic consistency of hand, showing inability to bear down hard and firm in cutting expenses and holding down salaries.