Well, we had our baby girl over the weekend and she is beautiful. I would love to go on and on about the new addition to our family but that is outside the scope of the site and probably wouldn’t be that interesting to anyone who doesn’t know us. Instead, I will expound on the clever marketing and promotional shots taken on new parents and bring to light possible promotional follies.
The most interesting promotion I witnessed over the past 9 months was the free box of formula that showed up at our door one week before our baby. Talk about lucky timing! Some marketers somewhere were fortunate enough to send us formula right before we would need it. Well, this was less luck and more like intentional product placement.
My wife has a few birthing sites she frequents which give her up to date info on where she is in the pregnancy and what to expect. When she signed up for this free service she entered in all of her dates so the site could stay current with her progress. On the back side of this process they famed out our information to a company that is in the business of selling formula. As the due date got closer a flag went off in their system and the formula was sent just in time with the hopes of us giving it a go and falling in love with what it does for our child. Unfortunately for this company we are breast feeders and will probably never open the freebee.
After thinking wow, those guys are smart to target like they did, I though what about the unfortunate instances when a miscarriage takes place? I mention this as a word of caution to those who promote products in sensitive industries. Remember to always listen and truly take into account your customer’s needs. Those who have been in an industry long enough will know where this type of area exists but those who are just getting started may not have the foggiest idea.
Know When to Apologize
As a small business owner who is just getting started keep in mind that you will likely step on a few toes here and there. We would all like for this not to happen but it does. The important thing is to learn from the mistake make a sincere apology, and rectify the situation as quickly as possible. Everyone makes mistakes but not everyone takes the time to make it up.
Long term vs Short term Strategies
What comes to mind is the long term vs the short term growth strategy. This is the same principle as found in sales strategies. Are you in business to make a bunch of one time sales quickly? Or, are you looking for long time repeat customers who swear your product or service it the best? Personally I like the sound of the second approach. If I am going to invest a good deal of time and money into a venture I want to know that it is going to be around longer than a current trend or fad.
Build The Relationship
Business is highly relational and the stronger you relationship is with your customer base the stronger you business is as a whole. In preparation for our baby girl I needed some work done to our car. In reviewing my options I ended up going with the company that has served us excessively well in the past. They were not the cheapest option but the attention they gave, and their willingness to work with us was well worth a few extra bucks. I felt like I was helping a friend, and I am sure they felt the same.
Fight The Selfishness
The interesting dynamic about all of this is the human desire for instant gratification. People as a whole often don’t want to work for a modest reward. Generally speaking as a people we want something for nothing. The trick is to not allow this inclination make its way into your life and business practices. Take a second and think about your friends, which ones are the most selfish? Ok, which ones do you like spending the most time with? Are they the same people? I bet not. The same holds true with business.
Businesses exist to make money, that is the nature of free enterprise but the money is made is another thing entirely. Business without integrity is like relationships without trust, they don’t exist. A modest profit for adding appropriate value is justifiable and appreciated. Excessive returns accompanies with no value added are poor profits that will come with a price far more costly than a monetary value.
Get Some Sleep
Anyhow, I hope these words sink in with some of you as the stronger the small business market place is the stronger our economy is as a whole. Smooth organic growth curves are much more valuable than any spike that can be created through temporary hype. Best of luck to you all and enjoy your sleep.