My first job was on a market stall.

Every Sunday morning, 6am, I’d go and help a market trader at the local car boot.

On reflection I was working for someone who was a bit of a master at what he did.

The fella I worked for was called Gary.

Gary sold ‘stuff”. Ornaments, toys, household bits, hangers – “stuff”. Was it the finest quality, no. Was it beautifully designed, no. Was it reasonably priced, yes. Did it offer value, yes.

Coupled with the fact that Gary was rather good at what he did made Gary very successful from a business perspective. Gary didn’t run his business with brand strategies behind it. Gary didn’t ponder for hours around what his “strategic purpose” or “business values” were. Gary didn’t have to. It just came out of him naturally you see. And that’s why he was rather good at it.

His mission, I suppose, was clean – to sell things.

His values were centred around being fair and not ripping people off. He was friendly, humorous and charming to be around. Gary understood his audience. He was his audience. Gary got people.

And people buy from people, so he was always in with a chance.

Simple stuff, done well.

We talk a lot about “purpose” these days – and rightfully so in a lot of cases, when it’s true, when it’s heartfelt – but sometimes we should remember good old fashioned value as a core purpose – and being pretty decent to be around is right in the mix also.

Gary knew a thing or too.

Keep it simple, keep it true and build from there.

Be like Gary.


By Dan Cushing

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