Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : May 30th 2014 Contents A53
Friday, May 30, 2014 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
Often people think sports and they
think "fun" or "anything goes" but
the sports and sports medicine indus-
try is a business like any other indus-
manoeuvre within, much like any
other industry here. Many young
graduates return home with visions
and dreams to do their part to make
things better here, only to find them-
selves either changing careers or
searching for any opportunity to leave.
Most people would have heard the
story about the two shoe salesmen.
Two shoe salesmen from competing
companies were sent to a foreign coun-
try to assess the market potential for
selling shoes there. They both did their
research and came up with the same
conclusion: nobody there wore shoes.
Both went to the same telegraph com-
pany with the same assessment except
the message of shoe salesman one said
that there was no opportunity because
no one in the country wore shoes while
the other sent that it was a fantastic
opportunity because no one in the
country wore shoes.
Isn t this what life is usually about?
Perspective! When two authorities on
a topic disagree on a point it is often
about perspective and what influences
that perspective. In the story of the
two salesmen, the conclusions arrived
at by each salesman was based on their
strengths and their ability to deliver
successfully within the given environ-
On a blog I came across, I read one
man s account of the rest of the story.
Apparently salesman number one
returned home and went on to build
a successful business in ladies dress
shoes in a new marketing territory that
included another first-world country,
France. He became extremely wealthy
and lived a secure and comfortable life.
Salesman two set up shop in the for-
eign country in pursuit of his vision.
He projected sales of 15,000 in his first
year of business but was disappointed
to realize less than 100 sales. The project
was in jeopardy. Payroll cuts were made,
threats of abandonment made by home
office, the general atmosphere in the
company was anxious and depressed,
etc. By all standards, the first year
appeared to be a failure.
Wait! The story goes on. During that
first year, salesman two, being the type
of entrepreneur-minded individual he
was, spent the year monitoring the
market s behavior---some things that
he had missed when he first researched
He learnt that many liked the "idea"
of shoes but found them to be claus-
trophobic and did not like having to
constantly stop to empty the sand from
them. So, he started to bring in sandals.
Another segment of his market had no
interest in wearing shoes and rather
enjoyed being bare-footed. However,
they would often cut their feet on rocks
and debris. So, salesman two found a
lotion made by a German firm that
would toughen up the soles of the feet.
In an area completely unrelated to feet,
he started to bring in straw hats and
walking sticks for this population that
spent many hours in the hot days, walk-
Year two he broke even. Year 3 was
a little better again. The hats were a
hit, he could not keep enough of the
lotion in stock and he had developed
a niche market for his shoes. It wasn t
until seven years later that salesman
two became a millionaire.
In T&T, the same scenario seems to
play out all the time in the sports indus-
try. New generations of professionals,
energetic and eager return home only
to realize how differently things operate
here from the world they trained in
and how unreceptive it is. Feelings of
frustration and despondence step in
quickly. They become misunderstood
and accused of being pompous when
they come with only good intentions.
Still, this is the real world. School does
not prepare you for this part.
To be adaptable does not mean you
have to lower your standards but it
does mean humbling yourself to under-
stand your new environment. There is
a lot of trial and error involved which
is why alliances are important but it is
possible to gradually develop a niche.
Like salesman two, diversifying may
be necessary which brings new oppor-
tunities for learning but embrace such
challenges and as best you can and
never stop believing in the change you
Often the young graduate says, "I
need to unlearn everything I learned
in school," but this is not the answer.
It is more about building on that knowl-
edge and applying it appropriately, like
salesman two did. He did not give up,
he just remained diligent.
Living in a
Asha De Freitas-Moseley is a
certified athletic trainer with the
National Athletic Trainers'
Association of the USA. She has
over 11 years of experience
rehabilitating athletes and
members of the active population
from injury to full play. She can be
reached at Pulse Performance Ltd.,
located at #17 Henry Pierre St., St.
James. Tel: 221-2437.
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