Web Site Promotion – The Story of the Two Woodcutters

Here is a story that I’ve used to guide my life for quite some time.  I heard the story of the woodcutters a long time ago, but it stuck with me over the years.

There were two woodcutters who challenged each other to a chopping contest.  Whoever could chop the most wood from sunrise to sunset would be the winner.  One of the wood cutters was built like a NFL tackle, and looked like he could probably break the logs apart with his bare hands.  The other woodcutter was tall, but he was lanky, and lacked the muscle of the larger man.  The big woodcutter thought that he had this contest in the bag, because his opponent was so scrawny.

The men began at sunrise and both chopped wood with great fury.  Every so often, the big woodcutter could see his opponent sit down.  Since this happened every couple hours, whenever the the skinny man sat down, the large man smiled, and said to himself, “yeah, I’ve got him”.  This went on for the entire day.  

The large man didn’t even stop chopping wood to wipe the sweat from his forehead.  He never remembered working so hard in his entire life, and was certain that he had won the contest by a wide margin.  He could hardly wait to claim victory at the end of the day.

At sunset, a crowd of people gathered to see the results of the contest.  They looked at the pile the big woodcutter had chopped and the crowd cheered, because it was indeed an impressive pile of wood. Then everyone went to check the pile of wood the skinny woodcutter had chopped.  To everyone’s surprise, especially the big woodcutter, the skinny man’s pile was clearly larger than the pile the big man had chopped.

The big man could not believe his eyes, and said foul play must have been involved because he had not stopped working for a moment.  He felt he had worked much harder than the other man, since the skinny man had frequently taken time to rest.  

The skinny man raised his hand to explain to the big man, and this is what he said.  “You thought that I was sitting down to take a rest, but because my back was to you, you couldn’t see what I was doing.  I only sat down to sharpen my axe.”

What is the point of this story? I think it is that we must learn to always keep our tools sharp. Whether it is our technical skills, our people skills, our skills as a parent, a mentor, or as a friend.  Sometimes we forget that in life, our full value as a human being can be revealed through something as simple as being a good friend.  

The burly woodcutter in the story is like the myriad of entrepreneurs that have their nose to the grindstone, trying to do a hundred different things they believe it takes to market on the Internet every day.  The goal of any successful Internet Entrepreneur is to find the best, ie., the “sharpest” tools possible to work smarter, and not harder.   I feel very fortunate to have found outstanding mentors and a number of excellent tools in my Internet Marketing Tool Box.

I like the skinny fellow in this story, because he didn’t care what anyone said, he just had a quiet confidence in what he was doing, and knew clearly that he was using a sharper tool than his competitor.  At the end of the day it is the sum of what we can accomplish that will set us apart.

This is exactly what goes on in companies who have provided superior marketing tools to their customers.  The is no single tool, that will accomplish a successful online promotion.  Many individual tools are necessary in the Internet Marketer’s tool box, and sometimes it seems like a whole shed full are necessary.  I feel very fortunate whenever I find another “sharp tool” to add to my Internet Marketing tool box.

The way I see the Internet these days, from my somewhat limited experience, it is similar to a “gold rush” mentality.  There are only a handful of savvy marketers on the Internet, and sometimes is seems that too often instant success is promised to customers.  It seems like every day there is a new  Internet “guru”, that is now living on a remote sunny beach, making money 24 hours a day without having to lift a finger, since he discovered the “secret” of Internet Marketing. 

Any legitimate Internet marketer has to be careful not to fuel the false hopes of those who believe that Internet success depends on a magic push-button formula.  Rather than an instant recipe, good Internet marketing depends on experience and understanding of the particular industry, product, or service that is to be promoted.  It is also essential to have a well developed suite of off-the-shelf, and custom tools in order to deliver effective search engine placement results.

When the general public becomes more knowledgeable about the essential elements of online promotion, the lure of the “gold rush” on the Internet will fade.  It will be replaced with the quiet confidence of the skinny woodcutter who can go about his business, using the very best education, skills, and tools available to produce superior search engine placement results.

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