Essay on The Way Of Wealth By Benjamin Franklin

Essay on The Way Of Wealth By Benjamin Franklin

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In “The Way to Wealth,” the 1758 essay included in Poor Richard’s Almanac during its first few years of publication, Benjamin Franklin recounts a story whereby locals were gathered outside a merchant auction and complaining of “the badness of the times” to Father Abraham, an elderly man. “‘…[W]hat think you of the times? Will not these heavy taxes quite ruin the country? How shall we ever be able to pay them?”

Father Abraham acknowledges their plight: “The taxes are indeed very heavy, and, if those laid on by the government were the only ones we had to pay, we might more easily discharge them; but we have many others, and much more grievous to some of us.” And with that, he implored them to take personal control of their situation: “…[L]et us hearken to good advice, and something may be done for us …”

Through the elderly man, Franklin offers a number of practical suggestions that can help mitigate the rising costs facing the townspeople, dispelling proverbs have that have retained their wisdom over time: “Beware of little expenses; A small leak will sink a great ship”; and “fools make feasts, and wise men eat them,” among others.

The advice offers relevant insights for convenience retailers, in light of sharply rising direct store operating expenses (DSOE), a primary industry “watch out” cited at last year’s State of the Industry Summit (SOI) in Chicago. Encompassing wages, payroll taxes, healthcare insurance, card fees, utilities, repairs and supplies, the category is growing quickly and on pace to surpass swipe fees.

While government mandates make some of these expenses unavoidable, there are proactive measures you can take to mitigate their impact on your business. Borrowing from Father Abraham: “If you would have my advi...


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...a result, you spend more time and effort trying to find out that the savings is just pennies. So we’ve taken utilities as-is and moved on.”

Odeh credits his approach to the nimbleness that comes with being a small retailer. “Remember, we’re just seven locations and it’s easier for me to manage these things.”

Conclusion
Whether yours is a focus on employees, corporate structure, or just plain common sense, the successful approach to mitigating DSOE must incorporate a health dose of Old English common sense. In the words of Poor Richard:

“So much for industry, my friends, and attention to one’s own business; but to these we must add frugality, if we would make our industry more certainly successful. A man may, if he knows not how to save as he gets, keep his nose all his life to the grindstone, and die not worth a groat at last.

“A fat kitchen makes a lean will.”

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