Sometimes I ponder on the fact that small businesses are actually a lot smarter than big ones. Big ones could learn a lot from small ones.
They truly are closer to their customers as they are the ones talking to them everyday. Helping them, testing out things with them and solving problems for them. They don’t have to do endless focus groups to find out what customers are thinking. Focus groups are hilarious. Picture this – a small windowlesss room, 9pm on a Tuesday night, with people who have nothing better to do eating free sandwiches and critically evaluating a doordrop that in real life would barely have 30 seconds dedicated to it. Quality way to get insights to feed your marketing strategy. Not.
Successful small businesses focus everything around their customers. And they don’t need any internal change programme to do this or a snappy project name. They just do the right thing. My favourite small business at the moment is my dentist. Two very cool reasons. First up – everytime you refer someone to his practice – he sends you a handwritten thankyou card with a $50 credit voucher to use on your next visit. Nice. The first time it happened, it was a complete surprise and now I actively recommend whenever I get an opportunity. Secondly – because helping his customers out is the first thing on his mind, he never takes any appointments in the week before Christmas. He does this because he wants to keep his schedule free in case any of his customers have a toothache or a problem that needs addressing before the long break. Put simply – he gives up revenue in that week before Christmas so that none of his customers are in pain over the holidays. Wow – that is clever. And that is going to earn you lifetime loyalty.