Gina Blitstein Article
|Gina Blitstein combines her insight as a fellow small business owner with her strong communication skills, exploring topics that enhance your business efforts. That first-hand knowledge, matched with an insatiable curiosity to know more about just about anything, makes her a well-rounded writer with a sincere desire to engage and inform.|
"I could write a book..." Using Your Business' Stories to Inspire and Enlighten
As business owners, we all have them: Stories from the workplace. Some funny, some affirming, some cautionary - and some, downright confounding. They are tales from the trenches where business actually happens. No matter how many degrees you’ve earned in your field, the real education in business comes from the day-in and day-out memorable occurrences. It’s those situations that would end up on your “highlight reel” that truly recount the story of your business - and reveal its many unique truths. If you’re willing to identify and articulate those truths, you’d have a source of inspiration and enlightenment to share with your fellow entrepreneurs.
Think of your stories as chapters in a textbook for business owners. Not sure what yours are? Like the subject of any good story, they’re about the occurrences that stand out from the usual in your mind for some reason - because of the means or the result. Here are a few examples of what makes for a powerful business story:
A simple, yet powerful interaction…
An elderly man called a tech support business owner because he was having a problem with his computer. It was Sunday and he apologized for calling on the weekend. The entrepreneur who had answered his business line assured the man that he was not inconvenienced. The business owner was able to solve the man’s issue over the phone within a few minutes. The caller was thrilled and asked how much he owed the business owner for his time, to which he replied, “Oh, there’s no charge. I’m happy to help.” Several weeks later, the man hired the business owner to tune up his computer, and the next week his daughter’s. From that time on, any time the man (or his friends or family) needed any type of technical support or advice, he called upon his “friend” who he had come to trust and appreciate. And it all began with one tiny, free kindness extended on a Sunday.
The tech support business owner repeats this story to illustrate how simple it can be to make a huge impression on a customer and how powerful goodwill can be toward promoting your reputation.
When the one thing you didn’t want to do is the very thing that worked…
A home daycare provider was endeavoring to get her first clients. She made fliers and hung them in places where parents were likely to see them. She mailed out congratulatory letters to new parents. She distributed brochures that highlighted her qualifications and facility. When she placed an ad in the local newspaper, she purposely did not mention her specific location, thinking that she’d rather focus on what she had to offer children. When there was no response to that ad, she reluctantly added her cross-streets to the copy and ran the ad again. Voila - her first two client enrolled the next day, based upon her “convenient location.”
The daycare provider repeats this story to illustrate that it’s important to keep an open mind
when it comes to marketing. Avoid trying to think for your customers and trust that if you give them as much information as you can, they will choose what’s most important to them.
Sometimes what seems illogical works best…
A small grocery store owner noticed that his bread was not selling well. He couldn’t understand why it wasn’t flying off the shelves because it was priced very inexpensively, was fresh and was prominently located in the store. Still for hours he watched customer after customer pass by the bread without interest. Since the shelf life of bread is not very long, he was highly motivated to heighten sales. In a flash of inspiration, the owner repriced the bread $1.00 per loaf higher. Throughout the rest of the day, the bread began to sell, becoming a hot item by closing time.
The grocer repeats this story to illustrate a few points: First, that thinking outside the box, going completely against conventional wisdom, is often the most effective way to solve a problem. Secondly, sometimes cheap items are not the most attractive ones. Price is highly related to a perception of quality.
Although each individual business has their own stories, the lessons they contain can be extrapolated to fit various scenarios in a multitude of businesses. Keep your ears open for the stories your business can share to inspire and enlighten others.
What are your best business stories?
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