Giants and Seeds By Jim Stovall

In business, everyone wants to “bag the elephant,” “hit a homerun,” or “land a whale.”  While these are lofty goals and pursuits, most big deals started out as small deals that turned into a relationship.

This last week, I was in an elite meeting of investors, and we were hearing a message from one of the world’s top money managers.  Being a former investment broker myself, I couldn’t help but think how much I would have wanted to have had a clientele like the group of people that was gathered in that room. In reality, most of those very large investors and their multimillion dollar accounts didn’t start out that way.  They started out as modest investors that grew over the years.

For many years in my business career, I have worked with a great lawyer who began handling my legal matters when I first started out as an entrepreneur.  My lawyer has a top reputation and deals with many elite clients.  When I first met him, I told him that “I’m not really going to be a big client for you.”  He laughed and assured me that most of his big clients started out just like I was beginning.

Unfortunately, too many people fail to treat small prospects like they would treat a big client.  Big clients start out as small prospects, but they don’t come with a neon sign proclaiming their future value.

The world of philanthropy has been affected by the economic downturn.  Many nonprofit organizations are seeking new donors.  They are all looking for the “holy grail” which is the million dollar donor.  In a recent study of these million dollar donors, it was discovered that the vast majority of them began giving to the organization many years earlier, and their first gift averaged $100.

We can only imagine how many hundred dollar donors over the years have not been treated with respect and gratitude, and failed to materialize as million dollar donors for that organization.  They probably just went somewhere else where they felt welcome.

One of the most respected and beloved figures from my home state of Oklahoma, Will Rogers, was often said to have a quality of treating kings as if they were common and commoners as if they were kings.  If we can do this, we will find that many of the seeds we planted years ago will grow into giant oaks that will provide shade and beauty for many years.

As you go through your day today, remember that the smallest of beginnings can culminate in the most amazing success.

Today’s the day!
Jim Stovall is the president of Narrative Television Network, as well as a published author of many books including The Ultimate Gift. He is also a columnist and motivational speaker. He may be reached by e-mail at or by visiting

Key Point: If you will treat everyone as though they’re important, as you would if your very livelihood counted on it you will find that as they grow (and inevitably they will) they will remember they were treated well early on and you’ll be compensated for having done so. You give excellent service because it’s the right thing to do, but ultimately it’s a seed that you plant early, and pays a bountiful harvest later.

-What was your biggest lesson learned from the article above?

PS. if you enjoyed the article above, you’ll enjoy our free motivation newsletter!