A recent MBA graduate was on vacation in Florida, walking near a pier when a young fisherman docked his small boat. The fisherman unloaded an armful of large fish. Complimenting the fisherman on the quality of his catch, the graduate asked how long he’d been out on the water.
“Not long,” the fisherman replied with a smile. “I can catch what I need in a couple of hours or so.”
“Why didn’t you stay out a little longer and catch more fish?” the graduate asked.
“I don’t need to catch more fish.”
The graduate asked, “But what do you do with the rest of your time?”
“Oh, I sleep late, fish a little, maybe take a nap in the afternoon with the wife. In the evenings, we go into town and grab some food and drink with our friends. It’s a pretty full and busy life, if you think about it.”
The graduate shook his head, “Listen, I’ve got an MBA from Harvard, and I could really help you. You should spend more time fishing; with the proceeds, you buy a bigger boat. Once the bigger boat is showing a profit with the increased catches, you buy more boats. Eventually, you’ve got yourself a fleet. Then, instead of selling your catch to a middleman, you sell directly to the processor. With the expanded revenue stream and realized savings, you open your own cannery. At that point, you’d control the product, processing, and distribution. As the business grows, you move to a major center like New York City where you can better leverage the supply chain.”
The fisherman scratches his chin and asks, “So, how long do you figure this will all take?”
“20, maybe 25 years.”
“Okay, so I spend the next couple of decades building this as a business. Then what?”
The graduate laughs. “When the time was right, you’d announce an IPO, sell your company stock to the public, and make millions.”
“You don’t say? Okay, what then?”
“Well, then you’d retire. Move to Florida where you could sleep late, fish a little, maybe take a nap in the afternoon with the wife. In the evenings, the two of you could go into town and grab some food and drink with your friends. It’ll be great!”