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Economic Development is . . . (increasing the flow) of capital through the community and reducing its leakage.

Can You Juggle?

A State trooper pulled a car over on I-80 about 2 miles east of Altoona. When the trooper asked the driver why he was speeding, the driver said he was a magician and juggler and was on his way to Des Moines to do a show at the Shrine Circus. He didn’t want to be late.

The trooper told the driver he was fascinated by juggling and said if the driver would do a little juggling for him then he wouldn’t give him a ticket. He told the trooper he had sent his equipment ahead and didn’t have anything to juggle.

The trooper said he had some flares in the trunk and asked if he could juggle them. The juggler said he could, so the trooper got 5 flares, lit them and handed them to him.

While the man was juggling, a car pulled in behind the patrol car. A man traveling home from a bar got out of his truck, watched the performance briefly, then went over to the patrol car, opened the rear door and got in. The trooper observed him and went over to the patrol car and opened the door, asking the man what he thought he was doing.

The man replied, “You might as well take me to jail, because there is no way I can pass that test.”

I don’t know about you but I’ve been there before. Not in a trooper’s car, but when my kids were smaller I spent many Christmas Eve’s re-building toys because I thought I could skip over details (step by step directions). One Barbie doll house for my daughter Bailey nearly drove me insane. I can remember thinking “it can’t be that hard, I’ll just look at the picture on the box”.  So ignoring the directions I made my own assumptions. Not good. I learned the hard way that the lack of detail can cost you a ton of TIME.

Later in business I again had to learn the importance of details. Taking the time to build accurate growth projections takes time (time I thought I didn’t have) so I skipped doing the “detailed” projections and gave it my best guess-timate. How bad could it be right? After all, I knew that the business model was going to grow and change. Looking back I regret not spending the time on the details since I would have avoided many costly expenses along the way. Lesson learned: the lack of detail can cost you a ton of MONEY. In fact the process of preparing quarterly updates to financial projections became extremely important. Doing them forced me to accurately predict what my goals mean to the company’s bottom line.

You hear this phrase a lot when people are considering starting or growing a business- “The devil’s in the details.” To me it expresses clearly the idea that whatever you do, you should do it thoroughly.

As we build our economy here in Tama County all of us need to dig into the details and of how we do what we do for if we don’t, trust me, it will cost you a lot of TIME and MONEY.


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