A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from August 11, 2013
“Find a need and fill it” (six-word success formula)

"Find a need and fill it” is a popular business saying. “The only justification for living is to find a need and fill it” was cited in print in 1935. “A sure fire recipe for success is had to be contained in just six words: Find a need and fill it” was cited in June 1953. Marvin Small, an advertising executive and author who died in 1988 at age 89, popularized the saying with his book, How to Attain Financial Security and Self-Confidence (1953). In a November 1953 article on the book for The American Weekly, Small wrote, “I finally developed the idea that the key to financial security, the key to self-confidence and self-satisfaction lies in just six short words. They are: Find a need and fill it.

Minister and author Norman Vincent Peale (1898-1993) said in 1968 that “find a need and fill it” was his six-word formula for success. The saying is often credited to his wife, Ruth Stafford Peale (1906-2008), but there is no evidence that either Peale said it as early as 1953. American televangelist Robert H. Schuller said in the 1970s, “find a need and fill it; find a hurt and heal it.”

Another six-word formula for success is “think things through—then follow through.”


7 February 1935, Evening World Herald (Omaha, NE), “Presbyterians Hold Review,” pg. 10, col. 3:
Taking he characters through long years of suppressed desires and suppressed ambitions, she concluded with David Condit’s philosophy— he who ha yielded to a dissuading wife his consuming desire to practice his profession in China an stayed home to be a country doctor—that the only justification for living is to find a need and fill it.
(From Faith Baldwin’s story of a country doctor, The American Family—ed.)

30 August 1950, The Oregonian (Portland, OR), “Now She’s Talking Shoes” by Jane Allen, sec. 2, pg. 3, col. 5:
It is also apparently one of the many examples of William Joyce’s business philosophy, which she says has always been “Find a need, then fill it.”

OCLC WorldCat record
How to attain financial security and self-confidence.
Author: Marvin Small
Publisher: New York, Simon and Schuster [1953]
Edition/Format: Book : English
Summary: Case histories of the rise and success of some products and services which brought fortunes to their American inventors.

26 June 1953, Oshkosh (WI) Daily Northwestern, “Valley Marine Motor Firm Started in 1933,” pg. 41, col. 1:
A sure fire recipe for success is had to be contained in just six words: Find a need and fill it.

1 November 1953, The Sunday Oregonian (Portland, OR), “6 magic words to make money” by Marvin Small, The American Weekly, pg. 15, col. 1:
I needed to make a new start—and I finally developed the idea that the key to financial security, the key to self-confidence and self-satisfaction lies in just six short words.

They are: Find a need and fill it.

13 December 1953, Abilene (TX) Reporter-New, “Book Marks: New Self-Help Books Concentrate on How Reader May Achieve Financial benefits” by Maxine Elam, pg. 14-C, col. 3:
From Simon and Schuster comes “How to Attain Financial Security and Self Confidence,” by Marvin Small, whose own profession is advertising.
(...)
His formula for this task is “Find a need—and fill it.”

OCLC WorldCat record
Inside secrets of selling; find a need and fill it.
Author: Jack Wardlaw
Publisher: New York, Fleet Pub. Corp. [1958]
Edition/Format: Book : English

Google News Archive
30 September 1963, Nashua (NH) Telegraph, “Take It from Kathy: Want a Job? Fill a Need” by Kathy Peterson (Newspaper Anterprise Association), pg. 10, col. 6:
The key to the problem: Find a need and fill it. Satisfied customers will be your best advertisement.

8 August 1965, Dallas (TX) Morning News, “Confident Living: Unhappy? Find a Need, Then Fill It” by Norman Vincent Peale, pg. C2, col. 5:
So if things are not going too well or you are not feeling too happy about your life, find a need and fill it.

31 March 1968, Springfield (MA) Sunday Republican, pg. 112, col. 7:
Six-word Formula
Leads to Success

NEW YORK (AP)—“It’s pretty hard to sell something no one needs, says Dr. Norman Vincent Peale, so: “Find a need and fill it.”

That’s his six-word formula for sales success.

17 March 1975, Los Angeles (CA) Times, “A Bold Experiment in Modern Religion Arrives at a Milestone” by Russell Chandler, pg. E1:
An oft-quoted Schuller slogan is: ‘Find a need and fill it; find a hurt and heal iL”

Google Books
The Positive Principle Today:
How to Renew and Sustain the Power of Positive Thinking

By Norman Vincent Peale
Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall
1976
Pg. 97:
He traced the history of a number of businesses and showed how they owed their success to having carried out the creative idea in this six-word expression: “Find a need and fill it.”

Google Books
All Originality Makes a Dull Church
By Dan Baumann
Santa Ana, CA: Vision House Publishers
1976
Pg. 66:
This problem-centered approach is one answer to Schuller’s own slogan, “Find a need and fill it; find a hurt and heal it.”

OCLC WorldCat record
Marketing for dummies
Author: Alexander Hiam
Publisher: Foster City, Calif. : IDG Books, ©1997.
Series: --For dummies. 
Edition/Format: Book : English
Summary: A guide to creating innovative, cutting-edge marketing plans that includes information on developing strategic marketing plans, preparing hard-hitting campaigns, identifying and maintaining contact with customers, and other related topics.
Contents:
Why you need a marketing program --
Basic marketing strategy : find a need and fill it—

Bloomberg BusinessWeek
To Find an Unmet Need, Use Lead User Analysis
Posted by: Today’s Tip Contributor on February 09, 2010
Ruth Stafford Peale once said success will come if you just “find a need and fill it.” But how do you find a need or—even better—an unmet need many customers are willing to pay a premium to fill in a competitive marketplace where demand always seems to be shifting?

Twitter
REALTALKKIM‏
@RealTalkKim
Find a need and fill it. Find a hurt and heal it. Find a problem and solve it. When you find a disagreement, bridge it...! #PeaceGiver
1:11 PM - 25 Mar 11

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityWork/Businesses • Sunday, August 11, 2013 • Permalink