Tips for Entrepreneurs: Carrot vision

"There’s nothing wrong with testing and questioning authority and tinkering with a business idea or model to get the most out of it."

Money (photo credit: INGIMAGE / ASAP)
(photo credit: INGIMAGE / ASAP)
As we all know, carrots are good for healthy eyes. This seems obvious since, as the story goes, “Have you ever seen a rabbit with glasses?” Plus, we all know that rabbits love carrots.
Well, not exactly. During World War II, the English developed a few projects to deal with their challenges.
Among them:
• A new technology enabling them to bomb German targets in the dark.
• The enigma machine, Germany’s super-secure cypher system, had been broken, but the Germans didn’t know it yet.
• Presenting carrots as a staple. Food was rationed and there was a shortage of a wide variety of staples. There was, however a tremendous surplus of carrots that could be used to feed the population of Great Britain, but carrots were not considered a choice food.
So, the British “killed several birds with one stone” by spreading a myth that carrots are good for your eyesight, while not informing the Germans about their newly developed radar technology, giving them an edge over the accursed Nazis.
According to the carrot museum (well, there’s a niche in the market I hadn’t thought of), during the war, every morning at 8:15, the Home Service’s “kitchen front” segment offered useful tips and recipes. It often featured discussions promoting the health benefits and deliciousness of carrots. (I’m so glad there wasn’t a surplus of horseradish instead. I can only imagine what times would have been like if that was the “chosen veggie” to promote.) Without turning this into a lengthy history lesson, my point is that many of you, my dear readers, always have assumed that carrots are good for your eyesight.
More than just good for the eyes, carrots come packed with beneficial fiber, vitamin C and potassium. Their sweet, crunchy flavor works well raw and also stands up to cooking. Adding carrots to your diet also increases your intake of vitamin K, which is needed for healthy blood clotting.
Although they contain some nutrients good for vision, I haven’t seen any proof that carrot eaters have better eyesight than people who don’t eat carrots.
According to The New York Times, a 2003 study at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston found that a group of thousands of healthy men who took beta-carotene pills for 12 years ultimately had the same rate of age-related cataracts as those given a placebo.
How many decisions, in our business, as well as in our personal lives, are based on the “carrots help you see better” theory? There’s nothing wrong with testing and questioning authority and tinkering with a business idea or model to get the most out of it.
I’m all for doing the tried and true, the proven and tested. That’s why I keep drilling about using serif fonts, borders and the kind of marketing that gets the potential customer intrigued, brings them up a notch into a real customer, then a repeat customer and ultimately someone who refers new clients.
At the same time, sometimes you need to really ask yourself, “Says who?” You can’t raise prices? Says who? You can’t be anything in life because of your background or upbringing? Says who? Today’s generation has so much opportunity at its fingertips, with access to almost any information on any industry. You have contacts who can help you get started, a plethora of trade publications to give insight, and airline flight sales and discount airlines that can really help you take the advantages and skills you have to move to the next level.
Carrots will never make it into the category of a “go to” snack? Says who? You can’t start experimenting with making your own works of art and selling them? Says who? As the world gets more and more interconnected, it’s a matter of seeking out people who are interested in what you have to offer – and they are out there. (You wouldn’t believe me if I told you about the things people are selling. Forget pet rocks, I’m talking about “holyland soil” and old books they have bought on eBay – page by page, for many times the value of the book as a whole. Creativity!) Incidentally, the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals says carrots and other root veggies are actually bad for rabbits, who like them because of their high sugar content and not for any possible health benefits.
And, to top it off, you probably think mice like cheese.
Nope. All those images of a mousetrap with a big yellowish holey cheese in it? You are better off putting in something that doesn’t have a strong smell with a high sugar content such as cookies or carrots.
Says who? I do! But, as always, feel free to go check it out for yourself.
Issamar Ginzberg is a business adviser, marketer, professional speaker and rabbi.