Late one evening, Walt heard some strange noises outside. He peered out the back door and saw 2 or 3 guys stealing things out of his barn.
He stumbled in the dark to reach the phone and called the police. The dispatched asked, “Have they made an attempt to enter your house?”
Slightly miffed by the question, Walt replied, “No — But they aren’t done emptying my barn yet.” The dispatcher said all patrols were busy, but she would send the first one that was available.
Walt waited a minute and called the police again, “I called you a minute ago because there were people in my barn. Well, you don’t have to worry about them now because I’ve just shot them all!” Then he hung up.
Within five minutes, 3 police cars, a Swat team, and 2 ambulances showed up at Walt’s and caught the burglars red-handed. Accusingly, the officer in charge said to Walt “I thought you told the dispatcher you shot them.” Unconcerned, Walt replied, “I thought she said there weren’t any units available.”
Webster defines the word urgency as “a pressing necessity” and it was American entrepreneur, Jim Rohn that said “without a sense of urgency, desire loses its value.
Building a business is certainly analogous to a marathon, but sometimes you have to sprint. Sometimes you have to act with a sense of urgency. I am often amazed at what a sense of urgency can do.
Emil’s story is a great example. His story begins in 1859, when he was born on May 11 in one of the German towns named Schoenwald. In 1866, when Emil was seven years old, the family moved their six children to the United States, settling in Burlington in southeast Iowa.
After a failed business with a partner, Emil invested his entire savings ($1,000) in 1904 to open a small candy shop on North Avenue in Chicago’s largely German-American North Side. Frank (Emil’s son) would later describe the first few months as “touch and go,” recalling – “My mother got me up early every day when we just started out. She used to kiss me and say, ‘You’re going to be a wonderful business man.’ I couldn’t let her down, so I went to Y.M.C.A. night school and took English and bookkeeping”.
Unlike many immigrants who opened neighborhood candy shops and waited for customers to wander in. Emil had an urgency to build more than just a neighborhood shop. He began selling in bulk and undercutting his competition, selling candy on special sale days for twenty cents per pound, well below the typical retail price of up to fifty or sixty cents. An early photograph shows him standing outside his shop with a banner reading, “Why go downtown for candy when you can get it here 25 percent less.”
At the time of his death, his candy company would be the world’s largest maker of bulk candies, with a sprawling factory on Chicago’s west side believed to be the largest candy factory in the United States. For you see Emil was Emil Brach, yea that Brach.
So as you eat the Brach’s classic candy corn this Halloween remember Emil’s urgency to build something bigger instead of waiting for customers to just wander in. Isn’t it amazing what a sense of urgency can do?