“I’ve completed my examination,” remarked Socratic.
“Why, how’s that?” gasped Brainerd. “When did you do it?”
“The day you were in my office. What I have seen and heard on my two visits here only confirms the diagnosis of your case I made then. But the real purpose of the two calls was to endeavor to make you see your troubles as I see them.”
“I don’t know what you mean, sir,” said Brainerd, piqued by the unmistakable trend of Socratic’s remarks.
“I rather think you do, but I’ll take no chances. Your business is desperately ill, isn’t it?”
“Yes, I guess it is,” reluctantly.
“Then it needs a heroic remedy, doesn’t it?”
“And that remedy must be applied to the source of the trouble. Not so?”
And that source is none other than Mr. James H. Brainerd. No, don’t blow up with a loud report. Listen to me. You are really too good a business man to go to the wall for the want of a little teachableness. You have foresight, initiative, energy, and perseverance. These are success-qualities of a high order. But you have fallen into some very costly bad habits.
Let me give you the names of six old-fashioned virtues that you are going to start right in to cultivate. When you have developed them, your profits will take care of themselves.
The first is Order. You waste seventy-five per cent of your time and nervous energy because you let your work push you instead of planning your work and then pushing your plan.
The second is Punctuality. You lose time, money, friends, temper, and will-power because you are vague and careless about making appointments and slipshod about keeping them.
The third is Courtesy. This has its source in consideration for others and is closely allied to tact. When you ask me to come and help you, and then tell me you are sorry you can do nothing for me, or sorry to disappoint me, that’s patronizing. When you ignore a caller and go to reading papers on your desk, that’s rudeness. And you can’t afford them in your business.
The fourth is Economy. Your time is worth more to this business than that of all the help put together. And when you spend it doing what a ten-dollar-a-week girl could do just as well, it is sinful extravagance. It wastes not only your time, but hers. Worst of all, it undermines your self-respect and her respect for you.
The fifth is Honesty. When you rush away to wait on some customer yourself because that customer has connived with you for some special cut rates, you may not intend it, but you are dishonest. Business must be done at a profit and all those who share in the privileges of buying from this store should share proportionately in paying you your profit. If anyone doesn’t pay his share, the others have to make up for it Give everybody a square, equal deal. That will build confidence and increase trade. And then you can leave your salespeople to wait on all customers, giving you more time for real management—generalship.