Small business survival lessons from a cherry

It’s difficult to imagine a more succulent image than a bowl of cherries. Indeed, if you had to choose one flavor that all things had to taste like, wouldn’t you choose the sweet cherry?

And every parent knows that the active ingredient of bad-tasting medicine has more chance of getting inside a child if it’s delivered with the motivating ingredient of cherry flavor.

Even the most earnest plea known, “Pretty please?” can still be raised one more notch on the pleading scale by adding, “…with a cherry on top?”

But there is something about this vermilion varietal that begs a closer look because everything about it is not sublime. Alas, the cherry’s single blemish is its pit - that tiny little seed that you can’t, or at least shouldn’t, eat.

This dense little kernel is so potentially dangerous that some restaurants no longer sell cherry pies because if just one seed is not removed, teeth can get broken and a lawsuit could ensue.

So with that much potential danger to be found in a whole bowl of cherries, if such an offer were made to you, why would you still smile with sweet anticipation? Why wouldn’t you think first of the pits? Aren’t you afraid of them?

Well, the answer is yes; you are wary of cherry pits. But the fruit is so sweet you think of that first, which helps you overcome pit-o-phobia. Plus, you’ve learned that if you take the time to remove the pits properly, a wonderful and safe experience will result.

What would happen if you thought of challenges in your small business like you do cherries: a sweet opportunity to be had if you can first remove the potential danger? Perhaps the Chinese said this first because their word for crisis is spelled with two characters that mean danger and opportunity.

What if you saw the fruit of an opportunity first, instead of the potentially dangerous seed of a problem? How would your world change if you could learn how to do this?

The Blasingame Cherry Principle (BCP) proposes that finding opportunities among small business challenges is like eating cherries: Step one - remove pits; Step two - eat fruit. But how does the BCP reconcile with the worst recession since the Great Depression? Actually, in at least two ways:

1. While there are plenty of ugly things about the economy actually in evidence, one could argue that the really bad stuff is found more between our ears than in front of our noses.

2. Experience teaches that the crucible of tough times often produces the most creative work. Don’t waste this crisis!

No one wants this recession, but we have it. Look past the pits and seize whatever sweet opportunity is possible.

Write this on a rock… When dealing with a crisis, focus on the cherry, not the pit.

Recently I talked about the BCP on my small business radio program, The Small Business Advocate Show. Take a few minutes to listen; and, of course, it’s always great if when you leave a comment.

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