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“Sliver” by Langston Hughes and 3 Lessons for Entrepreneurs

Today we are examining “Sliver”  by Langston Hughes and its 3 Lessons for entrepreneurs. Poetry is a great way to learn lessons in a more relaxed way than traditional learning methods.

 Let’s start by checking out the poem.

“Sliver”  by Langston Hughes

Cheap little rhymes

A cheap little tune

Are sometimes as dangerous

As a sliver of the moon.

A cheap little tune

To cheap little rhymes

Can cut a man’s

Throat sometimes.

As stated above, this great poem has 3 lessons for entrepreneurs. These lessons are:

  1. Wasted pennies lead to wasted dollars.
  2. Pay attention to the small things.
  3. Small mistakes can lead to huge problems.

Wasted pennies lead to wasted dollars.

In the poem, the narrator talks about cheap little things. There are words about how dangerous small little things can be. When I was a child, one of my elementary school teachers taught us the expression, “don’t be penny wise and pound foolish.” The idea behind this expression was that it is a mistake to be so careful of little sums of money that you waste big sums. `

Entrepreneurs must be really careful when it comes to the business’ money. There are some entrepreneurs who spend a great deal of time-pinching pennies and nitpicking employee spending. For example,. they watch how many napkins the employees take from the cafeteria. They pay attention to how many pens the employees take from the supply closet. These things cost money and need to be monitored of course.

However, if the entrepreneur is paying attention to these small items and ignoring the cost of  decreased productivity, there is a problem. An entrepreneur who insults and browbeats her employees over these small things misses the big picture. Employees who are not likely are more likely to steal. They are more likely to take extra time off from work. They are more likely to be less productive when they are at work. Finally, they are also more likely to give poor customer service.


Check out – “Mother to Son” by Langston Hughes and 3 Lessons for Entrepreneurs


 In all these ways, the employees are costing the entrepreneur big dollars. Dollars are worth much more than napkin and pen money. By wasting time over worrying about napkins and ballpoint pens, the entrepreneurs are wasting real dollars. Wasted pennies leading to wasted dollars is an important lesson to be learned from Langston Hughes’ poem “Sliver.”

Pay attention to the small things.

When you are an entrepreneur, it is important to pay attention to the small things.  When you are the owner of a business there are almost countless small things that must be paid attention to.   For example, is there enough paper in the printer? Does the bathroom have enough toilet paper and paper towels? Is the vacuum cleaner working? These things are important if you are a Fortune 500 company and they are important if you are working alone at home. These small things must be taken care of so that you can work efficiently and effectively.

Some other small things you need to pay attention to are:

  1. Office supplies
  2. Desk organization
  3. Handling of daily paper mail

These things are very small and one could seemingly ignore them with no problem. However, this is not the case. If you do not adequately maintain office supplies, you will not be able to handle the big tasks you have to do for yourself and for clients. When your desk is not properly organized you cannot work as efficiently as possible. A disorganized desk makes it take longer to do tasks. Even in paperless offices, paper mail gets delivered several times per week. If this paper mail is not properly handled things are lost, deadlines are missed, and the office is sloppy and unorganized.  Paying attention to the small things is an important lesson from the poem “Sliver.”

Small mistakes can lead to huge problems.

It is important for an entrepreneur to understand that small mistakes can lead to big problems. Let’s take the office supply item from above. If you make a mistake and do not properly manage your office supplies, you may run out of pens and paper. A lack of pens and paper will keep you from writing down notes about your phone call with a client. If you don’t write down notes based on the phone conversation, you may not have a record of all the tasks you need to do in order to satisfy the client.

When the client is not satisfied, you may lose the client and a lot of money. Loss of money can lead to the loss of many things and can be a huge problem. In other words, small mistakes can lead to huge problems as the poem “Sliver” by Langston Hughes teaches us.


Entrepreneur, Suck it Up and Move


The poem “Sliver” by Langston Hughes has three lessons for entrepreneurs. These lessons are wasted pennies lead to wasted dollars, pay attention to the small things, and small mistakes can lead to huge problems. Take a moment now to reflect on these lessons. How can you put them into play in your business? Be sure to share your ideas in the comment section. You may help someone find a breakthrough.

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