Did you know that there are gnome thieves that will steal your underpants in the dead of night?
I only learned of this phenomenon quite recently.
There is a story….
In a town not unlike many you may know, there is a family. In this family, there are two children and two parents. Mom and dad run a family-owned coffee shop. For a time, they are happy.
Also in this town, there is a recently-opened Harbucks Coffee. Harbucks threatens to destroy the mom and pop coffee shop.
Entirely unrelated to the Harbucks situation, the children are working on a project—to find the gnomes that have been stealing their underpants just after 3am each night.
How to catch these thieving gnomes? Why, drink lots of caffeinated beverages, and stay up all night until they arrive.
Thankfully, these children have a close supply of coffee close at hand.
They stay up late one night and catch the gnomes.
The next step is to interview the gnomes as to why they have been stealing children’s underpants (I mean, really. That is fairly perverse, even for a gnome).
The gnomes share their business plan with the children.
Phase One = Collect Underpants
Phase Two = ?
Phase Three = Profit
Phase Two, which is described by a ?, was left out of the gnome business plan.
In the business world, the second part (where you figure out how to make money from your idea—i.e., create a demand for your product, advertise, set a value for it, etc.) is crucial. A plan without all phases accounted for cannot succeed.
When asked how the gnomes intended to make a profit from underpants, they shrugged their shoulders.
In the end of the story, Harbucks runs mom and dad out of business and then hires them. Rather than devastation, they are thrilled and share only the highest praise for Harbucks, which apparently has done many wonderful things for the community.
Of course, none of this is based in reality, but perhaps it could be…
Clever minds (aka the creators of South Park) created this fictional account on an episode titled “Gnomes.”
For a time, business-blogging folk would refer to business ventures that had not been well thought out as “underpants gnome theory of business.”
As a sing-songwriter trying to figure out part two of my own business plan, I may do well to study this blog…or just watch more South Park. I would not care to have my underpants taken by gnomes.