Business Acumen

A young man was very very poor. He had no money at all. One day he found a dead rat lying on the road side. He sold it to the owner of a pet cat.

A storm was brewing and the young man took shelter in the corner of the king’s garden. When the storm let up, the garden was littered with leaves and branches. The gardener was looking at the mess and wondering how he would manage to clear it up. The young man told the gardener, “I shall sweep the garden clean for you, if you let me keep the wood and the leaves.” The gardener was happy. He wouldn’t have to do the work and he wouldn’t have to pay anything for getting the work done too! The gardener decided to take a nap while the boy would slog! Meanwhile, the young fellow rounded up all the children playing in the street and told them, “If you clear up all the litter in this garden and pile it up in that corner, I shall treat you to hot jalebis and milk.”

The children quickly got to work and in practically no time, the garden was spic and span. The young man sold all the branches as fire wood at the sweet shop and got a reasonable sum of money and some hot jalebis and milk too, to treat his troop of street urchins.

He further sold all the leaves as fodder for cattle, to a rich cattle owner. On his way home he found the poor grass cutters of the city, sitting on the road side. He felt sorry for them, seeing that they were tired and hungry. He offered them some water and bought them a frugal meal from a part of his day’s earnings. The poor grass cutters said, “We have nothing to give you, dear friend, but if ever you need anything do let us know!”

Some days later, the man came to know that a horse trader was going to visit the city after two days. He was bringing 300 horses to sell to the King. The young man hurried to his grass cutter friends and said, “Give me all the grass that you can cut in the next two days. I shall pay you on the third day, but you must promise me that you shall not sell any grass to anyone else, till I have paid you.” The grass cutters agreed; happy to be able to return the man’s favour as also to be able to sell so much grass at a fairly good price.

When the horse trader came, he couldn’t manage to buy grass anywhere because the grass-cutters were bound by their promise! So the horse trader had to buy grass for his tired and hungry horses from that man who charged a neat sum of money for it! The smart fellow soon paid off the grass cutters and gleefully pocketed the profits from his deal.

That was business acumen! A keen eye and a fertile mind are needed to catch a business opportunity. Opportunity stands at the cross roads many times in our life. Only some people make friends with it and walk hand in hand with it. Most of us turn the other way!