RICHARD B. (DICK) SANFORD began his life as an entrepreneur in 1945 at the age of fourteen, when a change in family circumstances required that he live alone and provide for most of his living expenses. He started with a newspaper route. When that income proved insufficient, he decided to increase his work hours and added an additional set of deliveries.

It wasn't long before the budding entrepreneur was managing both a big city morning paper delivery and two afternoon local prints.

Delivering newspapers taught Sanford valuable business lessons no MBA program could. He learned business "street smarts" firsthand. He saw that to succeed in business it wasn't enough to show up for work on time. There was more. He needed to cultivate a loyal customer base and grow his business through word of mouth--which all hinged on providing excellent customer service. He also mastered the "art of the deal," as he perfected handling late-paying and non-paying customers.

Still a youth, but expected to labor like an adult, Sanford developed a keen understanding of time's value and how to plan a day's work. Proper planning was key if he was to both attend school--and pass--while working almost fulltime.

Because work was all he knew, Sanford explains, "At the time, it didn't seem to be too much of a task. Nothing seems impossible when you are young. Even dreams seem reachable."

During his forty-year career, Sanford worked in three fields: investment management, insurance, and adult education. His interest in adult education attracted him to Dale Carnegie courses, where he participated as an organizer, instructor, and instructor-trainer for fourteen years. His specialty was training sales managers and marketing representatives.

Sanford was an entrepreneur well before entrepreneurship became a common business model.

He used the strategic planning tools in Growing Your Business 1, 2, 3 to establish and grow eleven small businesses. Most became Phase 2 businesses, and two grew much larger with one, the Sanford Insurance Group Inc., a third-party insurance administration company, generating over $136 million in annual sales revenue. Each business, successful in its own right, shared a common vision: creating ever-increasing sales, income, and profit.

Because of his reputation and track record as an entrepreneur, people wanted to know his key to success and business growth. In Growing Your Business 1, 2, 3, he shares the philosophy behind the simplified Strategic Business Planning model he created and used in his businesses.


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Dick is a rare individual who not only understands successful business principles, but who also has the unique ability to lead the process and the path to business success. His strategic business planning model works, and the success and prosperity that his companies have achieved over the years are a sound testament to this.

- James F. Scarpone, CFP, CPA, CVA, Niles, Michigan