I’m not really sure where the idiom “handed to you on a silver platter” came from and looking it up on the Internet prove less than fruitful in finding the origin; however, the meaning is very clear … getting something without having to work for it. I’m only too familiar with this idiom as my mother and father parlayed it to me all the time while I was growing up and instilled in me the idea that if you want something you must work for it and thus the idea that success won’t be handed to you on a silver platter.
I think the Olympic athletes are a good example of how working hard can lead to achieving a goal and success. During the broadcast of the Olympic Games in London there were several fluff pieces on athletes who had overcome adversity just to be able to train so that they would have the opportunity to compete in the Olympics. These athletes were so grateful they were able to train that they worked harder than any of their fellow athletes in the training facility. Their hard work helped them to qualify for the Olympics and to win a medal in their particular event. Certainly some of these athletes were born with physical attributes that helped in their sport of choice, but without hard work those attributes would not be sufficient to allow them to compete at the Olympic level.
Another example is the pro cyclist who has made it to the world stage and raced in the Tour de France or may be racing this week in the Pro Challenge. The long grueling hours they must spend day after day and week after week riding their bikes in all types of conditions and weather. The intensity of their training is so great that the average rider will burn over 8,000 calories in a day. Certainly they would not succeed if it were not for their hard work and dedication.
But how does this relate to business? I have found that there are very few businesses that can just put their sign on their building and when they open their door an eager line of consumers march in to purchase their product. It is more likely that the business will have to work to build consumer awareness of them and their product. Once the consumer is aware and has come through their door to purchase the business must work to provide quality customer service. After the consumer has purchase the product the business must provide ongoing service by standing behind the product that they have sold.
While selling a product is hard work, selling a service is even harder because of its intangible nature. Besides all the elements a business must do that are mentioned above, a business selling a service must work hard to get the consumer to understand the value of their service. There is no way to physically show the consumer a services’ quality until the service is actually experienced. With the US market becoming more services oriented the competition in this sector has grown tremendously. There has been a change in the way that service businesses market themselves and a growth in the number of sales people who utilize networking to get the message out about their service oriented business. Salespeople who network will be the first to tell you that success won’t be handed to you on a silver platter.