The Iron Law of Business

The iron law of business separates woodworkers and colors my relationship to wood and others. Ultimately, it regulates the kind of contributions I can make to the lives of the people around me.

Sometimes in a checkout line someone will notice my hat logo: Bourgeois Furniture. The next thing I know I’m looking at a set of photographs on his phone. This person has done furniture and woodworking projects and either wants validation or to show me how much better he or she is than I.

The problem most of the time is that there’s no basis for comparison. Like the comparison of married and living together, it’s apples and oranges. We are both woodworkers, but I am in business and he or she is not. I am dealing with people I don’t know on the basis of a trade of my skill and labor for resources in the form of machinery, money or some other good that will enhance the value of my business. I am under the iron law of business.

In business, a person must take in more than he or she pays out. Otherwise, his or her ability to produce and trade ends. The business closes its doors.

I do not view myself as a better woodworker than people who are not in business, just different. I look at projects with an eye to how much would it cost me to make this or that and how does that compare with what I can get for it. I don’t get tools or wood because they look intriguing. I ask if this will enhance the salability of my products or increase my bottom line.