Here’s What I Think About ‘Acres Of Diamonds’

Here’s what I think about ‘Acres Of Diamonds’

Have you read Russell H Conwell’s classic talk, ‘Acres Of Diamonds?’ Are there acres of unmined diamonds in your business right now, but you’re too busy or blinkered to recognise it? How do you know you’re not sitting on an invisible million dollar business revolution? How many business trends have you recognised as obvious…. with hindsight?

I see many businesses that are facing hardship, where I can immediately see invisible opportunities which can transform into instant profitability.  A retired multi-millionaire I worked for years ago loved to tell the story of how he acquired his fortune.

He’d had acres of diamonds embedded in his labour-intensive-barely-making-ends-meet business…., that was until his wife made two simple suggestions that, in hindsight, were obvious.

Her ideas were to create bundled packages and charge cash-up front. He was opposed and reluctant. “It’s not industry standard” and ” the customers won’t pay” were his initial responses.

After many arguments and much protesting he did as his wife suggested… and yes, you guessed it! It proved to be dynamite for their cash-flow. The fact that no-one in their industry had ever done it before wound up being their greatest edge.

As it turned out, their paying customers didn’t give a hoot about the change, and the plan worked brilliantly. And by the way, the market was the school and sports photo market.

Prior to this fellow implementing his wife’s ideas, the school and sports club photo industry fundraiser payment system was based on every child in the school, or every sports player in the club, being photographed first. The photos were produced and sent home for parents to keep on the condition that they sent the payment back to the school.

If the parents didn’t like or want the photos they were expected to return the photos to the sports club or school, and there was no charge.

The problem was that some parents not only didn’t pay, many also didn’t return the photos either.

This resulted in a huge amount of waste and loss for the photographer. And as he said to me, he had no use for any of the returned photos anyway. His labour, production and waste costs were through the roof prior to implementing his wife’s ideas.

If we look at what he did, he really didn’t make any great changes to his business or system. Actually, his staff wound up doing less work, and there was zero waste as all photos were already pre-paid.

The changes didn’t require having to buy anything, lease any more space, and yet it added multiple 000’s to his bottom line. All he had to do was face the market with determination, and then put his plan into action. Another positive spin-off was that the schools and sports clubs found it easier to deal with his business because they were no longer caught in a cross-fire between the shortfall in monies owed by parents to the photography company over non-returned photos. And the phographer knew that he’d received all payments for his photos from the school.

As you can imagine, it didn’t take long for all the other players in his industry to follow his lead.

His business became so wildly successful that he dominated the market for decades and eventually sold for it for millions of dollars. He was able to retire early, build his dream home, pursue all of hobbies and live happily ever after.

My question for you is: what small, simple ideas have you been thinking about but are reluctant to implement for fear of the market kicking back? My suggestion to you is: if you want to try something new but are somewhat fearful then test in on a small market segment first.

Or, if you’re short on ideas of how to mine for possible Acres of Diamonds in your business why not have a wild and fun-filled brain-storming bbq or supper with some friends where you jointly plumb the depths of your mutual creativity with a no-holds barred, any-ideas-a-good-idea attitude? You may be happily surprised with what you’ll unearth.

For those who haven’t read Russell H Conwell’s classic talk, ‘Acres Of Diamonds’ click here to read the full text which will help you explore the idea in detail. I hope you enjoy the read.

Have you ever read ‘Acres Of Diamonds’? Have you ever discovered an opportunity that had been lying dormant in your business  – one that you’d never noticed previously? Were you looking for it when you found? How did you find it? Have you ever known anyone who walked away from a project or business because it seemed to have no potential, and who regretted it later?

I’d love to you to share your experiences and thoughts.
Thank you,

12 Comments on “Here’s What I Think About ‘Acres Of Diamonds’”

  1. Gregory Jackson says:

    Very nice read Gaye. Thank you for sharing your insights and wisdom.



  2. peter radzio says:

    Limitations exist when we take our eyes off the prize!

  3. Great blog post! I think that is a great idea for photogs, plus with G+ or social media now, you could save even more!

  4. Christian says:

    Hi Gaye,

    good read! “Face the market with determination”, I think, that’s one of the main points to remember.

  5. sallykwitt says:

    Excellent post. Isn’t life amazing when we open our horizons?

  6. Hi Gaye

    Excellent story, I’ve never read the book however it was one of the books in the Amway training system when I was in that organization.

  7. Gaye, this blog post offers some really terrific advice. I think it’s difficult for people to see things with a fresh eye when they are in the middle of it. Adriel Hampton (e)Adriel @adrielhampton posted a Kurt Vonnegut quote that read: “Out on the edge you see all the kinds of things you can’t see from the center.” This is a great example of looking at things from the edge.

  8. I loved this little book, and delighted to report I’m acting on my ideas at present.

    Not always the case, but I’m returning to a big idea I began working on a couple of years ago, which includes my photography.

    My new website will reveal all, which has taken longer than anticipated. But like all good ideas, they take a little time to germinate, and when they bud, it can be quite a flourish.

    Lovely blog

    • Gaye Crispin says:

      Hi Catherine, thank you or your feedback and glad you enjoyed the read.

      You said, “Not always the case, but I’m returning to a big idea I began working on a couple of years ago, which includes my photography. My new website will reveal all..”

      Oh, that sounds very exciting. Great projects can need to stay in the incubator for quite a while. One guy I met this week took 2 years to hatch his idea successfully and it’s a beauty. I think any website you create will be a stunner. Hope I get to see it.

      I love your work.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s