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Black History Month

“Madam’s Calling Cards” by Langston Hughes and 3 Lessons for Entrepreneurs.

There is more to business than simply dollars and cents. Not every lesson is found in a textbook. Life of full of other things worth pursuing. Some of those things are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

So, sit back read the beautiful words, enjoy my video presentation of the poetry, then check out the analysis. Stay with us for the entire month and feel free to share your own video interpretation in the comments. Today’s poem is: “Madam’s Calling Cards.”

I had some cards printed

The other day.

They cost me more

Than I wanted to pay.

I told the man

I wasn’t no mint,

But I hankered to see

My name in print

MADAM JOHNSON,

ALBERTA K.

He said, Your name looks good

Madam’d that way.

Shall I use Old English

Or a Roman letter?

I said, Use American.

American’s better.

When I read this poem, the first thing that came to mind is that Madam is quite fancy. I enjoyed the idea of her enjoying her name in print and discussing the font. Ever since I learned to write I have enjoyed seeing my name in print. I like it in print, cursive, and in dozens of different fonts.

This poem has three lessons for entrepreneurs. These lessons are:

  1. Quality may cost more.
  2. A little ego-stroking is fine.
  3. Ask for what you want.

An entrepreneur who understands and appreciates these lessons will be more successful than one who ignores them.

Quality may cost more.

I had some cards printed

The other day.

They cost me more

Than I wanted to pay.

Sometimes you have to pay more to get a good quality product.  A few years ago I went to a conference where one of the speakers talked to us about fashion. Her advice was to spend a lot for your everyday tote bag and go cheap ln the one-time evening bag. Her logic was that the everyday bag was going to be used a lot. It was not going to be treated nicely all the time. So, if you purchased a good quality everyday bag, it would last longer. If it lasted longer, you actually save money and the cost per use would end up being much less than if you continually repurchased lower quality bags that would not last. Quality may cost more, but it is worth it!

A little ego-stroking is fine.

But I hankered to see

My name in print

MADAM JOHNSON,

ALBERTA K.

He said, Your name looks goodMadam’d that way.

A little ego stroking will not hurt an entrepreneur. Sometimes, the entrepreneur must do that stroking herself. In order to succeed as an entrepreneur, you must believe that who you are and what you have to offer is excellent and worthy of the price you command. Sometimes props and encouraging words are needed to strengthen that belief.  A nice business card can actually do wonders to help an entrepreneur’s self-esteem get a little bump up.

Ask for what you want.

Shall I use Old English

Or a Roman letter?

I said, Use American.

American’s better.

I believe that if you want something you should ask for it.  I know that everyone says “beggars can’t be choosers.” That is simply not true. I say if you are going to beg, beg for what you want.  If your business needs computers, ask for computers. Do not ask for pencils of you need dollars. Ask for what you want and then take steps to get it.