I am a chassid, although not a Lubavitcher, and I own a jewelry store. Several years ago I went through a difficult period in my business. The number of customers who frequented the store began to shrink. Over a long period of time, the number of sales dropped, especially those of gold watches which were my primary source of income. All my attempts to drum up business, via sales and what-have-you, failed.
I began to seriously consider laying off some of his employees, and to get used to the slower rate of sales.
One day, I went to pray minchah (the afternoon prayer) at a shul near my home. I worried all the while about my financial situation and wondered how I could improve matters.
While I waited for the prayers to begin, I noticed a volume of the Lubavitcher Rebbe's Igros Kodesh, the Rebbe's published letters. I had heard how the Rebbe answers those who ask him questions through the Igros Kodesh, and I figured it couldn't hurt to get the Rebbe's blessing.
I prepared myself, because asking for a blessing from a tzaddik like the Lubavitcher Rebbe is no simple matter. I thought about the problems with my watch business, and in my mind, I laid it all forth for the Rebbe. When I finished, I opened volume 12 to page 210. Till this day I shudder when I recall those moving moments.
It was a letter in Yiddish, and at the beginning of the letter, the Rebbe spoke about peace of mind and parnasa b'menucha (a livelihood with peace of mind):
“I received a letter from you requesting a blessing for menuchas na'nefesh [peace of mind] and parnasa b'menucha.” I was thrilled, because the Rebbe was blessing me with what I really wanted.
Despite this, I looked at the rest of the letter and saw that the Rebbe asked that the tefillin be checked and that I be particular about giving tzedaka before prayer. And then I caught my breath - the Rebbe went on to say (not verbatim): “Your business is in watches, and you should learn a lesson in divine service from watches, since a watch is very useful so that a person has an orderly day ...” Then the Rebbe went on to derive a lesson from the inner workings of a watch; how one gear moves another which moves a third, and this is how the entire continuum of time works. From this the Rebbe draws out that a person affects the world and tefillin affects a person ...
I was stunned. I have no other word to describe it. I had hoped to get some sign or another, but an answer like this?! Later, I tried to discover how many letters of the Rebbe contain the words, 'I heard that your business is watches,' and found that this was the only letter, and this is the one I opened.
I took it upon myself to strengthen a number of areas, especially Tefillin, which is what the letter had been about. And as far as my livelihood? Within a short time my watch business began to flourish as it used to and even more so.
A year went by and my wife and I began thinking about advertising, but we heard that it was extremely expensive and so we decided not to do it. A few weeks went by and I noticed the volume of Igros Kodesh in shul again. I decided to ask the Rebbe about advertising, whether it paid to sink in so much money or not.
I opened the volume and read a letter in which the Rebbe said that "propaganda", I.e. efforts to promote something, don't return empty handed ... We advertised in a big way and thanks to the Rebbe's blessing, business is booming.