Marketing wunderkind Ben Settle once shared a piece of philosophy with me that’s so brilliant in both its depth and simplicity that I’ve lived by it ever since.


“I’d rather have four quarters than a hundred pennies.”

OK, we’re not talking pocket change here. (Although you’ve gotta admit carrying just four coins is better than lugging 100 of ’em. And it’s sure easier to count out four quarters than it is a crapload of pennies.)

Ben was talking about customers.

His point was he’d rather have four high-ticket, top-dog clients who take him seriously than a hundred “bottom-feeders” (as Ben calls them) who are tightfisted and whine, bitch, and complain nonstop.

Quality vs. quantity.

Great point. And one every entrepreneur should take to heart.

But let’s take it a step further.

Let’s apply the quarters-to-pennies analogy to another part of our lives.

Friends, for instance.

Nowadays, people throw around the BFF label a lot.

And most of the time, we know it’s baloney, cuz the person saying she’s your BFF just told a half-dozen other folks the exact same thing.

Last I checked, I have 2,532 Facebook “friends.”

How many do I genuinely know? How many are “real” friends?

Very, very few.

Of course, the definition of “real friend” varies from person to person.

Off hand, a real friend to me is someone I can share with, who’s reliable, who won’t stab me in the back. It’s somebody who won’t turn me over to the cops (if or when it ever comes to that).

I choose my real friends carefully.

Quarters to pennies.

I’d rather have a few authentic friends than several hundred…well, you get the point.

Whether in business or your personal life, cultivate quality relationships.

Dump the bottom-feeders.