Last weekend saw me being marched, mostly against my will, around Camden Market. I know at this precise moment you’re thinking ‘What could Tim possibly want at Camden Market’ and to be completely candid I couldn’t think of anything either – so I left ‘She Who Must..’ with ‘ring me when you’re finished’ instructions and went to find something more distracting in the surrounding streets.
Now this kind of aimless bimble usually involves me stumbling upon some sort of delightful café or bakery … or encountering somebody marvellously entertaining and eccentric – but on this occasion all that my small adventure could offer was … a shop that sold trainers.
This was, actually, perfectly fine as I have recently re-started my exertions at the gym and actually needed a pair – but the look I got from the various staff members and other customers (none of whom looked older than about 20) as I walked through the shop door, was quite something.
A few polite enquires uncovered the fact that this was more of a ‘fashion trainer’ shop, favoured in the main by those who communicate using only the bare minimum of syllables and lack the ability to pull their jeans up properly – so I was directed instead along the street to another shop that catered for runners…
At the new place I was able to explain exactly what I wanted to the very knowledgeable chap behind the counter who found me something that fitted the bill, providing the right amount of support and comfort … and without trying to sell me something I really did not need.
You see this was a shop for serious runners, mad folks who think of nothing of going on a 15 mile warm-up run before the ‘proper’ one … in fact if I’d just walked in and said ‘give me the best pair in the shop’ I would have been presented with something that cost almost the same price as a small Romanian car.
So, I left the shop perfectly happy, with exactly what I needed, and thinking about a chap who had emailed the office a few days before…
Let me explain further and you’ll see how one thing reminded me of the other … This chap (let’s call him ‘Mark’) wanted to know what we used for sending our emails for newsletters and suchlike … and I could have just answered his question and moved on – but instead I got Head Minion to contact him and find out more.
‘Mark’, it turned out, was quite new to this business, had got off to quite a good start and wanted to build the relationship with his customers and subscribers, and didn’t think trying to do it all from his gmail account was giving the best impression … so he asked what we used here at HQ, assuming we’d use the best thing for the job – so he could do exactly the same.
Sensible enough thinking, certainly – until you consider that what we use here is not only an email sending tool but does a multitude of other things as well, all for quite a large number of customers, partners, affiliates and subscribers, and if ‘Mark’ had copied us and bought the same thing … he would have a tool vastly overqualified to deal with his current needs, and a truly eye watering monthly bill.
What was better for him, as he discovered when he had a chat with Head Minion, was not something that cost a fortune, or even $20 a month … in fact he was (as he was just promoting his own products to his own subscribers), pointed in the direction of a service that didn’t cost him anything at all, and won’t until he gets a few more customers.
The point here, you’ll agree, is that it’s important for all of us, whether it’s me buying trainers or ‘Mark’ with his autoresponder, not to necessarily get the best tools available, but the best tool for what we are doing at the time, that is appropriate to the resources and needs we have at the moment.
Getting this one thing right can not only increase the amount you can get done, but also, by buying whatever is a perfect fit for you at the time, you are keeping a rein on your outgoings, which for many small businesses can be the difference between struggling and enjoying success…