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Economic summit discusses opportunities for growth Part II

Staff Writer

Rhett Roberts from Redmond Industries speaks at summit.

Rhett Roberts, CEO of Redmond Family Businesses, was the final keynote speaker of the Castle Valley Economic Summit. Roberts, who was named the 2004 Small Business Person of the Year by the Small Business Association, began by saying, "The Redmond Salt story is still in the first chapters, we are nowhere near the end of the book."

Roberts related the history of Redmond Minerals, from its beginnings 15 years ago as a road salt supplier to its expansion into the real foods products market. "Who among us said when they were young, 'I want to grow up and be a salt miner'? No one, at least not me. Fifteen years ago I said anything but salt. But the business and the experiences I have had, have been very good.

"Preparation for any business is the key. Opportunity is all around, we have to recognize it and capitalize on it. Do something that is not popular, not mainstream. Do not be a 'me too' person," said Roberts.

Roberts went on to relate the story often told by Russell Conwell, of a farmer who had bigger dreams than farming. The farmer had heard stories of others who were mining diamonds and making a lot of money. He decided to sell his farm and invest the money in exploring and finding diamonds. He dreamed of striking it rich, but that was not to happen. He spent the money from his farm searching, and not finding.

Meanwhile, the man who bought the farm scratched out a living for his family. One day, a visitor to his home asked about a rock that had been placed on the mantle piece of the farmhouse. The visitor was told that the strange rock had been removed from a field on the farm that had been newly cultivated. The visitor turned out to be a diamond expert and notified the farmer that this was one of the largest raw diamonds ever found. In the end the farm became the biggest diamond mine in the world.

Roberts said the moral of the story is to find and mine your own acre of diamonds. "How, you ask? Begin by valuing learning, invest in books. Employees who are encouraged to learn are more productive. Next, compensation. To do well, you must pay well. Give your employees the incentive to strive to do better.

"In the beginning, your hiring practices are very important. Take the time required to find the right person for the job. Sometimes, when we are in the hiring process, it will take months to find the right person with the same goals that our company has.

"Some of the lessons we have learned are: find your own acres of diamonds; believe in yourself; do not let doubt in your ability come into your plans; do something different than anyone else; and don't do whatever you're doing for the money-do it because it's what you want. Learn everything that is being done in your field, and then go beyond that," said Roberts.

As a final thought for the day, Roberts told the group, "It's not what we get in the end, it's what we become in the process."

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