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Seizing Opportunity will Make Your Business Superfly

As we said in our previous post, we’re not looking to endorse bad guys. It’s their mindset we’re after. Our focus is usually on the gangsters of the 1930’s and 1940’s but, there have been gangsters in every era. Though, let’s face it, the 30’s and 40’s definitely had the most class and style. That should not overshadow the lessons of gangsters from other eras though. With that in mind, let’s dive into the world of Superfly.

For those of you who are skeptical about this, just keep reading. There’s a surprise ending!

1000509261001_2088156125001_frank-lucas-superflyFrank Lucas was born in 1930, just before the great dust bowl hit. He grew up with next to nothing in North Carolina. Through some bad decision making, he found he needed a new roost so, off to New York City he went. Now, his story doesn’t start off all successful and glamorous. As a matter of fact, he indulged in petty crime after petty crime. He lived with a small mindset, at first. It didn’t take long for others to see some potential in him though and soon, through some mentor type relationships, he found himself in the drug trade.

Here’s the first lesson we can learn from Frank:

Adversity can either make us a victim or it can motivate us to bigger things. When Frank was a young boy he witnessed his 12 year old cousin’s murder at the hands of the KKK. According to some sources, it was at this time he decided on a life of crime. He could have chosen to use that experience to make his community better but, he didn’t. Which is unfortunate because, if he could have achieved as much for a legitimate way of life as he did as a drug lord….no ceiling for this guy. We all have adversity in our lives. Businesses aren’t easy to grow. They take time, energy, sacrifice, and resources. When you find yourself with a choice between doing the right thing or bending the rules and cutting corners to get it done faster or make more money, what do you choose?

The second thing Frank’s story teaches us is the benefits of efficient systems:

Frank saw an obstacle. In his case it was the Italian Mafia. Hopefully you don’t have anything that big or threatening staring you down. Anyways, they were middle men. Nothing moved without their hands touching it. Frank knew he could get better product to his “customers” at the same or less cost if he just eliminated the middle man. So he did and he was right about the product and price. His solution was creative and created efficiency. He went straight to the source, *packed the product in the coffins of deceased military personnel, and flew home with the goods. Apparently customs wasn’t in the habit of checking military coffins for contraband.

The last lesson we’re going to let ole Frank teach you is this, use what resources you have to achieve your goals:

Frank would never have been able to accomplish what he did if he hadn’t gone out of his way to know the right people. So, people were one resource he had and he wasn’t afraid to ask them to help.  That people resource led him to having the resources he needed to get his product to market. How does one go about skirting the Italian Mafia and taking over their business as quietly as possible? You use your resources and a bit of creativity. He saw a decline happening, the Mafia having less of a presence. He realized the opportunity, capitalized on it, and used his resources to profit from it.

Frank Lucas’ empire was built so fast and so efficiently that even Hollywood couldn’t ignore him. In 2007 the movie American Gangster was released and Superfly A.K.A. Frank Lucas was forever immortalized. Though, even he will tell you the movie was mostly a fabrication of the real story.

Now, here’s the surprise ending. Frank Lucas’ story also teaches us that we can make immense mistakes and bad decisions but, we can choose a different future. His daughter, Francine Lucas, started a program for children of incarcerated parents. After Frank was released from prison, he realized the destruction his bad decisions had made on him, his family, and his community. He actively helped out with Yellow Brick Roads, doing whatever he could to help give back to his community. During an interview with with the interviewer asks him what he would do differently if he could go back. Frank tells him he would get an education and a good job on Wall Street. We kind of think that with his drive and initiative, not to mention his creative thinking, he would have done much bigger things than an office job on Wall Street.

*It has been disputed how the product was actually transported. Some reports say it was in furniture being shipped to military offices and bases, other reports indicate the coffins were used. The actual transportation has never been confirmed. (Criminal Career)


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