December 2005

You Position Yourself

Just about everyone in America comes across a little money at some time or another. I always say that such events likely don’t happen more than five or six times in a lifetime. They might win a lottery; they might inherit a sum; they might cash in some old stock that was passed on to them. Maybe they just received a modest refund on their taxes. Perhaps they had an insurance settlement from a loss or an injury in the past. We see it all the time.

What do most Americans do with a cash windfall when it comes their way?

Most spend it on something they’ve wanted or dreamt about for a long time. Many actually put themselves into debt by using it as a down payment toward something that locks them up with monthly payments.

Few put their windfall to work to grow it. So after a time, long or short, it’s gone.

If money comes your way in any form, don’t throw it away flamboyantly. Invest it in what you are doing or in something that will likely ensure its growth. Use it to position yourself. Use it to meet new business contacts. I believe that there are only a few such opportunities in a person’s lifetime. Some people use money opportunities wisely; some don’t. I call these opportunities “monetary crossroads.” You should take them when you cross the junction.

Very few people recognize these life-changing opportunities. When I was fresh out of high school, my dad passed away and left me an old VW to drive. I went into business working on cars, opening a little VW repair shop. But I soon learned it was a tough way to make a living. In 1973, two years after I started, a check showed up in his mail for $2,000. It was the balance leftover from $4,000 my father had left me for college. As I had stopped going to college, my father’s executor sent me the remaining balance.

I decided I wanted to deal in cars as well, so I bought a used ‘71 VW Bug with the money and sold it for $2500, taking a ‘71 Ford Pinto in trade on the deal. I had made more in those two transactions in one week than I had working on cars for two years, so I decided I wanted more of that action. Within six months, while still working on cars for a month, I had a $10,000 financing floorplan at my bank and was regularly buying and selling cars.

That one check for $2,000 completely changed my life. I had recalibrated my financial ambitions and was moving into a new area of business life. You position yourself for success. Nobody does it for you.

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Ron Sturgeon is past owner of AAA Small Car World. In 1999, he sold his six Texas locations, with 140 employees, to Greenleaf. In 2001, he founded North Texas Insurance Auction, which he sold to Copart in 2002. In 2002, his book “Salvaging Millions” was published to help small business owners achieve significant success, and was recently reprinted. In June 2003, he joined the new ownership and management team of GreenLeaf. He also manages his real estate holdings and investments. You can learn more about him at He can be reached at 5940 Eden, Haltom City, TX 76117, or 817-834-3625 ext 6#.

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