Sunday, June 03, 2007

Not cleaning up...

Notes from the small business community:

The other day, the doorbell rang at my house. I answered it, and there was a mid-20's-ish man standing there. I'll paraphrase the conversation.

"Good afternoon, sir. I'm Blank Blank, and I'm about the start my own carpet cleaning service in the coming weeks. I'm in your neighborhood today, taking appointments for our introductory offer of a free cleaning of one room in your house. Here's my flyer (hands me flyer). Now, which room in your house gets the most traffic?"

"Um, I'm not sure. I'm not really prepared to commit to anything like this right now. I would want to talk to my wife first, and she won't be home until later."

"Oh, I'm sorry, sir, the free offer only is issued for right now."

"Well, I'm not doing anything without her approval."

"All right, then, thank you for your time."

And with that, he took the flyer back and walked away.

Now that's the way to build up an business. Put pressure on people to make a decision on an offer from a completely untested and unknown organization. And when they can't do anything about it right away, take away the piece of paper with the business name, address and phone number on it so the potential customer has absolutely no chance of hiring the business down the road.

Nicely played. I don't know how high the percentage of small businesses that fail is, but here's one that's headed in that direction.