Archive for September, 2010

no competition

I was at the auto shop the other day and they were arguing with a customer about a quote for a job. The auto shop was refusing to give him a quote,  worried he would then compare it somewhere else and get a better deal. They said to him that that you might find another place cheaper for 10 dollars, but it won’t be the same quality!

Why not let the customer be the judge of this? The auto shop was worried that by their prices being compared that they would definitely lose out. Perhaps because they’re insecure? Yes.  If there is nothing unique, nothing interesting about your business that sets you apart from any other auto parts company,  such as by having godlike service, then why would someone pay you 10, 20 or 100 bucks more? You wouldn’t feel insecure about giving quotes if that was the case!

If your product isn’t  personal or designed by you, then there definitely will be someone who will slash the price.  Eventually shooting their and your business to the ground. A race to the bottom.

market your album like a film

I dig watching a good film trailer and a nice twist on the idea is when its used for music.

It  especially works for bands that make concept albums, which is an album centralized around a certain theme, the most famous perhaps being  Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band.  McCartney thought at the time instead of the band going on a tour performing songs off the album, why not let the album go on a tour itself!

A film like trailer makes you feel like your about to enter this exciting musical journey. Julian Casablancas solo album, Phrazes for the Young,  has this incredible 80’s vintage feel with the synthesizers.

Fans love the anticipation, cos that is the best part! I wonder what direction they`re going this time? Show the behind the scenes footage, what others don’t usually get to see. This of course helps if your business is somewhat interesting to begin with.

No Surprises: make all costs known

I was looking for a travel deal on the excellent onetravel.com, but when I got to the checkout I almost had a panic attack.

Why are they scaring us at the checkout? When you get to  the finish line, they add a whopping 174.91 in tax!  I thought I was getting the most amazing deal ever, but they ruined the experience right at the end.  I just wanted to exit the browser. Not sure if they A/B test this? Cos I am guessing it might lead to some exits.   I do like how they give a 12.00 discount to take the sting off a bit.

This also reminds me of how the brilliant Australians have the taxes and tipping (at many restaurants) ALL included in the price. You know exactly what you are paying for from the get go. The price looks  inflated in the beginning, yes, but in the end you don’t have to worry about calculating everything. You leave happy.

backbeat the word is on the street

Going to gigs is not just about the music. At concerts they sell t-shirts, vinyl (making a comeback), all sorta of food and film related things, except for other concerts that people would be interested in checking out!!

Why not let those fans know what else is going on at the venue?  Write up the 2-3 bands on the back of the ticket stub to show what else is coming up.

At the Outside Lands Music fest in San Fran, they gave away these 15 free itune cards – for bands that were at the festival!

How smart is that?

Because any proper music fan would know that music festivals are mostly a way to come across some new bands.  So this is a nice taster, which later helps in making those casual goers into fans! Nice one itunes.

always learning

That’s what all we are: amateurs. We don’t live long enough to be anything else.” -Charlie Chaplin

I feel lot of the time when growing up we build up this mystique in our heads of what its like to be in a certain profession. We build this up into such lofty heights that we forget that these “pros” were once amateurs too. They were ordinary people like you and me.  A little talent and luck ( a lot)  help, but there is nobody at the top of there game just because they were the chosen ones.

And ‘the more you know the less you know’ totally rings true. Cos a real person of wisdom would know that they don’t know everything yet. You can desire to know everything, but you simply can’t know everything! You can’t predict everything correctly all the time! I mean we’ve seen what economic forecasting has done for us. It’s now made astrology seem respectable!

So what I am saying is just because you finished university or college or whatever doesn’t mean you stop learning. I don’t mean by books or teachers either.  Keep observing and questioning, and then experimenting. You can learn from anybody and from anything.

thank you is underrated

One of the great things about small business is the way it makes  us feel connected to our customers. I sometimes think small companies don’t take full advantage of that!

So next time you shoot an email or letter to your client list, why not just say thank you? No sales, upgrade, renewal pitch – just a genuine, no strings thank you.

Try including your phone number as well –  to show you really care. Encourage them to talk to you.  I really feel its that simple since most companies hide there phone number from you.  And what would happen? You would make them happy!

By the way I have recently come across one of the most amazing sites on the internet devoted to thank you, its called lettersofnote.com. The site is devoted to gathering famous letters, memos, etc  by the likes of Gandhi, Conan O’Brien and even Barack Obama. It’s pretty awesome to see how these people write! Obama’s letter to Yann Martel is really nice.  Also check out this letter written in 1964 by the product marketing manager of Campbell’s sent to Andy Warhol, who had just displayed his now world famous Campbell’s soup cans.