The Ten Cannots
Given the current state of our nation—our over-taxed and increasingly floundering businesses, and the rise in unemployment—it seems important to me that we revisit Boetcker’s “Ten Cannots” in order to determine America’s collective temperature. Will your company survive today’s economic pressures, or will it become a statistical fatality, as many others have now.
Presidents Abraham Lincoln and Ronald Reagan are two of many who have quoted Boetcker over the years, hoping to inspire a return to reason and order for our nation and its business and financial structure—and our ability to prosper as a free people. I suggest that these same “Cannots” also hold great wisdom for today’s businesses that find it harder and harder to afford to stay afloat, hire those who will work, and maintain order on a daily basis.
So, for those of you who are determined to find solutions to your business problems, and for those of you who can understand the correlation between the state of our nation and its current policies—and the direct impact they have on your business—I also submit to you “The Ten Cannots” for your consideration:
- You cannot bring about prosperity by discouraging thrift.
- You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong.
- You cannot help little men by tearing down bigger men.
- You cannot lift the wage earner by pulling down the wage payer.
- You cannot help the poor by destroying the rich.
- You cannot establish sound security on borrowed money.
- You cannot further the brotherhood of man by inciting class hatred.
- You cannot keep out of trouble by spending more than you earn.
- You cannot build character and courage by destroying men’s initiative and independence.
- You cannot help men permanently by doing for them what they can and should do for themselves.
William Boetcker died in 1962, after also warning America about what he called “The Seven National Crimes.”
- I don’t think.
- I don’t know.
- I don’t care.
- I am too busy.
- I leave well enough alone.
- I have no time to read and find out.
- I am not interested.
It’s up to you and me, those of us who own or manage businesses in these challenging times, to make every effort to educate ourselves and others about our nation’s leadership; and to stand strong for our free-enterprise system, and the freedoms our country was built on.
Philip Beyer, founder/president of Ebiz Products LLC and founder of Beyer Printing Inc. in Nashville Tenn., is a chronic entrepreneur, business systems analyst and consultant. Author of "System Busters: How to Stop Them in Your Business" and recipient of an InterTech Technology Award for the design and development of System100 business process management software. Beyer speaks to business owners across the country on how to bring lean, sustainable order to their businesses. Contact him at (615) 425-2652.