I was a Lollipop Entrepreneur

It is extremely valuable to understand your behavioral style and how it relates to your business networking.  Most importantly, learning how to identify behavioral styles in others, and then learning how to adapt your own approach to those different styles, can make a significant difference in your referability.

I wrote about this in my book, “Room Full of Referrals,” with co-authors Dr. Tony Alessandra and Dawn Lyons. All customers and all networkers prefer communication in a manner that is most familiar to them. Knowing their personal style can help you customize an effective sales or networking approach for each unique individual.

Dr. Tony Alessandra calls this The Platinum Rule – the idea of treating people the way they want to be treated.

The Four Common Behavioral Styles

  • Go-Getter: Fast-paced, task-oriented, & doesn’t like to be wrong about anything.
                      Driven, Bold, Decisive, Strong Desire to Lead
  • Promoter: Fast-paced, people-oriented, gregarious, likes to be in the spotlight.     
                      Energetic, Outgoing, Fun-Loving, Positive, Talkative
  • Nurturer: Slower-paced, people-oriented, dislikes confrontation, & helps others.
                      Patient, Helpful, Understanding, Reserved
  • Examiner: Slower-paced, task-oriented, methodical, likes facts, & dislikes hype.
                      Effective, Efficient, Thorough, Research-Oriented

A key point to remember is that we are all a blend of the four styles with different intensity levels of each.

My Style

Oftentimes your behavioral style can be observed at a fairly young age.  When I was 11 years old, I missed the bus going to school one day. The school was about two miles away and I had plenty of time, so I started walking.

Along the way I passed a fuel station with a small store attached to it. My eye caught some awesome looking lollipops – big, red, strawberry-flavored suckers. They only cost a nickel (five pennies) so I bought four or five of them and continued on to school. When I got there, a friend saw what I had and asked me if he could buy one. I said sure he could – for a dime (ten pennies). He bought it right away! That day I sold all the lollipops except for the one that I kept for myself . . . and I saw a great business opportunity.

The next day I decided to walk to school again, and this time I bought a dozen lollipops at the store. I sold them all before school was done for the day. I did this the next day, and the next… for almost a month. I was very happy with my margin and the money that I saw growing from my lollipop enterprise.

That was my first experience in business, and it was obvious from that early time in my life that I was a “Go-Getter” behavioral style. 

The end of the story had another lesson in store.  After a month of great sales, the Principal called me into his office and told me I couldn’t sell candy to students on campus.  I asked him why and he said it was a school policy.  Then I asked him why it was OK to sell candy bars for the school fundraiser on campus but not sell other candy for any other reason.  He basically told me that was the policy and I could follow it or be suspended.  Thus, the last lesson I learned was about government regulation.  The next business I started was NOT on campus.


Do you recall your first business experience? How has your own behavioral style helped or hurt your networking and referral marketing efforts?  I’d love to hear your story.

8 thoughts on “I was a Lollipop Entrepreneur

  1. Easily, I relate to your story having had something similar by selling magazines which the school benefitted from for a dance. I asked lower-class people to sell with me/for me. They did. I came in first in sales but I was reprimanded for having others help me. Truth be known, we both should have been commended for thinking and creating.

  2. I love the sales of lollipops! I sold chocolate chip cookies on a daily basis. Since the school lunches were horrible, I made a great profit, until my mother found out.

  3. Looking back, I can now see clearly that many of my entrepreneurial skills came from running tables with family members at flea markets or at garage sales. I was learning how to negotiate deals at a very young age!

  4. Está historia me fez lembrar do meu tempo de escola também. Minha veia empreendedora foi aí que aflorou.
    Naquela época não se tinha a diversidade de adesivos que temos hoje e eu gostava de decorar as folhas do meu caderno com figuras que tirava de revistas ,recortava e colava no caderno. Com isso minhas amigas gostaram da ideia e começaram a me pedir estes recortes. Foi então que virei empreendedora e com o que arrecadava comprava um lanche diferente e guardava para comprar presentes para o dia das mães e dos pais. A minha primeira experiência também já me mostrava um estilo de comportamento Go-Getter. Com isso sempre que via a possibilidade de vender algo metia as caras.

  5. As senior class president at my high school, it was my responsibility to raise money for a gift to the school from my class. Our school needed a sidewalk from our school to the stadium. This was not a trivial gift or inexpensive one.
    I wanted to sell beer mugs with the school logo. Certainly a one of a kind for high schools. I was told the Principal would never allow it.
    I met with him and shared my idea. Just as I was finishing I told him… I will call them Spirit mugs. We presented a beautiful sidewalk to the school. Everyone had great Spirit!

  6. OMG! I had a similar experience. Back in the 1960’s I was one of the first kids to have a label maker. You could buy a roll for 88 cents, stick it in the hand-held machine, punch out letters and numbers, clip it off and then stick the labels onto books and other personal items . I would makeup labels for the kids and cell them for 1 cent per digit! One day I had a great idea. I would sell a raffle ticket for 25 cents and the winner would get a whole roll! I only needed to sell 4 tickets to cover the cost! My school principal called me into his office and told me I couldn’t do it because a raffle was a form of gambling. I said, “yes, but the church does it. Doesn’t that make it ok?” He explained that the church was a non-profit and that made it ok. In any event, he just shut down my entire enterprise. As for Government regulations, I have had two major shifts in my 40+ year career. Both of them were as a result of major Federal legislation. In both cases I anticipated the coming action and used it to increase the success of my business!

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