A fertile mind required The world of Entrepreneurship
By Judette Coward
Stabroek News
August 3, 2003

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“Why on earth for?” my sister, Judy exclaimed this week, her eyes widened into two perfect asterisks of mascara. Having gotten wind of my latest idea, she wanted to know if I had lost my marbles. The current plan? To join the organisation of chartered accountants. Okay, so you have to ask.

“No, I am not an accountant.”

“No, I am not familiar with their rules of membership.”

“And really no, I don’t plan on taking any of the myriad accounting courses which these days seem to appear more popular than hops bread.”

What seems like madness to my sister, really has a method behind it.

“I’m managing my creativity,” I say in a matter-of-fact tone.

She sighed in exasperation and left the topic alone. My sister - bless her soul - has heard her fair share of my ideas to grow my business. But this time, I swear the managing your creativity concept is a valid one, especially after you hear the story of one woman and how her business evolved when she learnt to grow a business using the tools of creativity.

This woman, an accountant, was invited to a meeting by her friend, a real estate agent.

The guest speaker, sharing his vision on ‘Real Estate Over The Next Twenty Years,’ predicted that the city limits would expand out to the surrounding countryside where the demand would be high for five-acre estates, especially by successful, professional families who needed room for their pools and large gardens. This got the accountant thinking big! Once while driving, she decided that she would buy a large property and divide it into lots.

Three months later and some fifteen miles from the centre of the city the accountant bought a fifty-acre plot for $500,000, (this was more than twenty years ago). Working out a mortgage deal with the owner she was able to pay a third down.

Her next step was to start planting trees, because in the seminar the guest speaker had mentioned that people loved trees, and she wanted her prospective buyers to know that in a few years their estates would be covered with spawning, shady greenery. Then she divided the land into ten, five-acre lots and started selling.

Not having a big advertising budget the accountant created her own brochures, got a list of professional families from scouring the phone book and contacted the prospective families.

She pointed out the benefits, how for the price of $250,000 - the same you would pay for a small city lot - you could get five acres of land to build a country home; she advertised the country air as being priceless. In three months, working only on weekends she sold all ten lots making a tidy profit in the process.

Entrepreneurial ideas are like that. They percolate best in a fertile mind. To be successful I’ve learnt never to freeze them. There is need and room when running your own business for second thoughts and ‘ideas management.’ Had this accountant not gone to a meeting with a group of people completely foreign to her occupation then she would never have evolved into the successful land developer that she is today.

The entrepreneurial magazines advise us to join and rub shoulders with people who share a kindred profession, but perhaps they should also tell us to participate in other organisations completely alien to our immediate line of business where the professional language may sound like a secret code in an exclusive lodge. The real secret though is not to be daunted.

There are things to help harness the entrepreneurial mind, like writing down all your ideas, reviewing them and discarding those that don’t make sense and ‘boy-oh-boy’ all entrepreneurs have had plenty of those. But like the accountant, we must cultivate our ideas, as we would a plant, and eventually the time will be ripe to put the ideas to work.

So forgive me Judy, if you see me toiling over my numbers when I next come to visit. Joining an accounting group can only provide me with good brain food, and you never know, I just might meet an accountant or two who need my services.

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