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The Train Track Story of Christmas 2011

I think all business owners dream of an Oprah moment--that one definitive event, client, or happening that is the tipping point that seals their success.  We've had many "almost Oprah" moments, times when I was certain we were on the brink of becoming an "overnight success".

If you've heard me at events where I've spoken about small business marketing, you probably know what happened after our full-color 2-page spread in Fortune Small Business Magazine. (Hint: nothing.)

Then there was the time we were almost in O Magazine as one of Oprah's favorite things; or the time we were almost in Country Living Magazine; or the time we almost landed our own reality show. Should I continue?

In 2011, we experienced another "almost" moment. One of our distributing reps called requesting a sample for a "VIP client" who was interested in placing a HUGE order--an order so big, it would have been a game-changer for our company. But it was Friday night at 6pm and our distributor insisted the sample must be overnighted that evening. That gave us 30 minutes to put together a customized package, drive to UPS, and get it on a truck. I drove as Pascal finished taping the package in the van.

And then, something that never happens happened. The railroad crossing on 23rd Street went down five minutes before UPS was going to close. We sat there and waited and waited and waited as a cargo train inched its way across the tracks. My skeptic husband who pooh-poohs my belief in fate, miracles, signs, and such looked at me and said: "Now THIS is a sign."

In the end, our package shipped, but the order fell through for another completely random reason beyond our control.  So, instead of shipping the hundreds of tins we were told the mystery client would order, we continued to serve our real clients who are the true VIPs of our company, no matter how big or small their orders.

Years later, we've never seen another train cross the tracks on 23rd Street.  But, if it ever happens again, we hope Oprah will be on board!

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