In the 1990s, investment firm Dean Witter used the slogan, ďMeasuring success one investor at a time.Ē How do I measure success?
I could steal their slogan and modify it slightly, ďMeasuring success one collector at a time.Ē That is how I feel. I learned a long time ago that I can never make everyone happy 100% of the time. But over time, I think Iíve made a lot more people happy than mad. Iím glad that I can help people build a wonderful stamp collection.
I measure success in myself differently. Overall, my sales continue to grow and Iím pleased with where my business is going. It took a few years to learn from some mistakes and find a clear direction. I feel like I have a path to success and Iím busy executing that vision. There are still improvements to be made. I hope I never feel ďcomfortableĒ because when you do that, thatís when you start making mistakes and the competition takes over. For example, look at Kodak. Years ago they were the king of cameras and photo processing. When digital cameras came along and changed the whole photography market, Kodak was comfortable with their market leader position and didnít respond to the threat of this new technology. Today, Kodak is a tiny shell of what they used to be.
I look at some things Iíve sold and Iím very pleased. I recently sold a #C3 plate block. When I started in the business, I was pleased to own a mint set of Graf Zeppelins (#C13-15) and sell them. Iíve sold some copies of Scott #122 and #293 which are the key values to the 1869 Pictorial and Trans-Mississippi sets, respectively. And there are other interesting things Iíve sold over the years.
I hope to one day sell a copy of the Orangeburg coil (#389). I probably canít afford a top-notch copy. But there are some off center copies or copies with small faults that are still attractive and within my range. It would give me a lot of satisfaction to know that I once owned and sold such a stamp. Itís a lofty goal I hope to someday achieve.
I donít measure success in myself by a single parameter. Increasing sales, satisfied customers, combined with new and unusual material are all things that go into how I measure success. As I look in the mirror, Iím satisfied with what I see so far but I would like to do more. Will I continue to make mistakes? Sure. The key is to learn from my mistakes and improve. No one is perfect.
Having a large base of satisfied customers is one measure of my success. Iím pleased with where Iím at and where Iím headed. And I think you for being a customer. You are a component of my success. Thanks!