From Show and Tell to Millionaire

Years ago I met a man named Ray Miller. He told me a story of his first business venture.

Ray was a salesman for a copier company.

One day he took a long plastic tube, warmed it in the oven and bent it around a coke bottle. When it cooled down it became a straw to use when drinking water out of a glass. He gave it to his second grade son. The son took it to school the next day for show and tell.

That afternoon, his son came home with a little note pinned to his shirt. The teacher loved the straw so much she asked if the father could make 30 of them for class next week, they were going to have a party and she tought it would be fun for the whole class to have.

The next week after the party he started getting calls from the parents. They were asking for 10 or 20 or 30 each because they were going to have parties, bar mitzvahs or birthday parties.

He decided at this point in time he was onto an idea.

So he went to a regional grocer and asked if he could produce these for $0.99 each, how many would they be interested in buying. They order 5,000 dozen of them.

He then went to Southland Corporation (Parent company of Seven-Eleven) and asked the same question. They order 50,000 of them.

He calculated he would need $30,000 in capital to fulfill the orders.

He approached a group of doctors that invested in projects. They said if he could find someone to put up $15,000 they would put up $15,000. He then heard of a lawyer that invested. He approached the attorney who after hearing the story, wrote out a check for $15,000. He then took that check back over to the doctors, showed them and they wrote out a check for the other $15,000.

From the time he made the first silly straw until he had the $30,000 in his pocket was 2 weeks.

The company grew to over $14 million in revenues in just a little over a year.

Where are your Acres of Diamonds?

About the Author

Dan Swanson is an Internet marketing consultant, who systematically increases qualified traffic and improves conversions of visitors to customers for client’s websites. For more information on his Internet marketing consulting services visit

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