It amazes me how afraid business owners are of giving something of value away, that fear of loss prevents them from learning something special about themselves and their customers. Typically, if they aren’t afraid, they are trying to dump a loss leader item that is costing them money, not because it adds value to their customer base. It’s a way of justifying a bad buying decision, let’s just get rid of it, rather than invest in it and do something special for our customers. If that’s you, why not rethink how you can bundle that bad buying decision and turn it into something customers could use and actually want.
Maybe you’re not one of those businesses trying to dump a product that didn’t sell like you thought it would, maybe you’re just trying to figure out how to bring up the bottom line during a down cycle in sales. It doesn’t really matter what or when, it does matter how view and think about incorporating FREE into your business. The benefits of free are mind-boggling sometimes, there are examples of business, large and small, that took the risk and came out looking like the most amazing company ever!
From very large organizations, to individuals, people who saw the value in their customers, not their wallets. The by-product of the interaction and free, was in the end, customers opening their wallets…or they became your largest PR & Marketing machine. You know, the kind of advertising you could never buy or afford.
Most of you know who Gary Vaynerchuck is, he gave away his Wine Library TV content, most of you know who Seth Godin is, he opened up Squidoo, and you get to use it for free, they both practice the Open & Free Business Model, in their own unique way, but that’s the they’re selling advantage. They gave content away, good content, and or provided a service that didn’t force you to open your wallet. They also did it for a considerable length of time, they built credibility. WestJet over Christmas used FREE as a way to not only show they value customers, but they did something no one saw coming. The setup a kiosk where you scanned your boarding pass and Santa appeared asking what you wanted for Christmas, hours later when those who participated landed, Westjet presented each of them with the gift they asked for by sliding it down the baggage carousel for them to pickup. It was brilliant, it was dubbed a #WestjetChristmas, and it was risky too. It doesn’t matter how much they spent on the gifts, they got it back and then some with the PR that came from it.
Watch the video:
No, not everyone can do what WestJet did, but you can do something. And no, not everyone needs your product or service, but someone does, and they’re looking for you, online and off. Keep in mind, what you think should be given away for free, may not be of value to your customer base, it’s a double-edged sword if you get it wrong. You must know your client base, understand some of their basic needs. You must have some data to work with to get the strategy right, to make sure it succeeds. Don’t just give something away for the sake of giving it away, make sure you think it through, and build something around it that makes it engaging, people want to be a part of it. Hire the right people to help you, don’t rely on your own brain power, get outside help, they will see your business from a different paradigm.
The Future of Business is leading people on a journey, giving them something they didn’t really need but wanted, to be a part of what you are doing anyway. Plus, your product or service actually solved a problem, or helped them get to the next level. You provided value because you valued them first. The Open & Free Business Model is a way to make a difference in your business, to make a difference in your customers view of you and your business. Use your business to make the world a better place.
Merry Christmas everyone, and Happy New Year! This time of year is hard, stressful, and down right difficult, while others find great celebration and fun, which camp do you fall in? I fall into both, I’m sad because I lost my father December 11th, 1998, he wanted to stay alive long enough to celebrate one more Christmas, he just couldn’t hang in there, Cancer took him quickly. Christmas was his favorite time of year, he would decorate the house, and I mean you could see the house, it was all streamers, and lights, you name it….he would go over the top every year. My Dad made Christmas supper special. So sadness enters my heart at this time of year.
On the other side, I get pretty giddy at Christmas Time, it’s a time to celebrate a great many things. This year, we are doing a traditional Ukrainian meal, no meat….ya I know : ) I’m a meat-a-tarian! I don’t think that’s a word, but it’s mine. I eat meat, it’s what I do!
I decorate the house every year, but not like my Father did, I’m more on the conservative side, but each year I like to add something new to the mix. Most importantly, this is when my kids come home to visit, there is nothing else like it, I love my boys. I hope you get to be with those that matter most to you, in the end, they are the difference makers in your life.
This time of year we celebrate the birth of Jesus, although it’s meaning has changed, the world has moved away from the significance of the scriptures. But let me share some thoughts on a few verses that share a message of hope.
Taken from the NIV version of the Bible, appropriate for this time called Christmas.
This passage and all like them, is always about Jesus, it always was, it was never about us. Everything is about Jesus. The hope of Jesus, the hope of freedom, the hope that he will change the world and lead us to a better place.
Imagine an Angel coming before you, a lowly person in stature, one of the lowest in your day, a Sheppard, that you would be chosen to learn of what was about to happen before anyone else. Imagine your confusion, imagine your fear, can you imagine what it means to have the glory of the Lord shining around you, and then to be told not to be afraid. How would such an event test your faith, to me, this moment in time, shows us what faith looks like. The shepherds didn’t run, they didn’t say we don’t believe you, they said, ” let us go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened”, not knowing the significance of what was about to happen. The coming of Jesus, God’s only begotten son came to be with us, imagine.
These verses revealed a number of things to me, here are a couple:
1.) God uses us all (even the lowly shepherds of our world), regardless of stature and what others think about us.
2. This is an example of how we should live in fear of God, how we should respond when the Lord sends his messengers, and when the Lord shines on us, as he does each and every day we draw breath.
These verses are about the celebration of Jesus, and the hope he brought (brings) to his people.
We aren’t ready for his birth, we aren’t ready for his return, but we should be prepared to do as he commands, without faith you have nothing.
I hope this message brings some hope at this time of year, I know I am encouraged, and can’t wait for 2014, so Merry Christmas to you!
It’s 12 days from Christmas, most are hanging tough, waiting for the Christmas break to come, and some can’t wait for it to pass already. This time of year can be stressful, it’s the desire for more, and not having the means to acquire the more. The push and pull of wanting more, but it doesn’t just happen at Christmas, we always want more, all year long. It’s human nature.
Contentment is seriously misunderstood, it’s measured mostly by how we feel rather than reason. This year the Greaves household is holding fast, we don’t want more, we actually need to purge! The cars are parked in the driveway instead of the garage, the garage is full of the more. To clarify, most of it belongs to other family members, because we have the space to store it, no…because there is a place to put it. I’m not complaining about family, I wish they were here to take what’s theirs, but they have passed away to leave what they had behind, and we had to store the belongings somewhere.
The aspect of Christmas I miss the most, is being a kid. My Mother & Father made Christmas a very special time, they spoiled us, and we liked it, we got more stuff! I actually miss how I felt, and being around my family more than getting more stuff, but that was fun too. I think we all feel this way as Christmas approaches, we tend to reflect rather than look ahead. It’s not right or wrong to look back, but we spend far too much time there, we should “do more” instead of reliving the past. We should practice foresight.
My Father used to say success was having more stuff, he who has the most toys wins thinking, I didn’t buy that for second, success is different for each one of us, but we don’t tend to understand success when we have it. I’m generalizing of course, but we often think success is a destination, when most of the time it’s the results of an endeavor, a journey. We forget to enjoy the process, we think we have to wait to until we get to success before we can stop and enjoy what’s happened and what has been done to get there.
Success is more about failing, more about doing, and the willingness to lose what you have, otherwise we couldn’t measure success. For every equal good, there is an equal bad. The same is true of the decisions we make, the goal of course is to make more good decision than bad, more right decisions than wrong. All these decisions happen along the way, the journey, that lead to what you would define as success. I recommend you stop and enjoy the journey, that in itself is success, in that you are on a journey.
The journey you are on was meant for you and only you, those around you are spectators, and in some cases we are players in and on your journey. We all have a roll to play, a voice to be shared, and more importantly, gifts to be used to make the world a better place, and that’s why Christmas makes us reflect, we have a deep need to cherish family, and the things that make us unique. Everyone can bring something to the table, you have to choose to, if you don’t bring it, there most likely is no success. Success rarely happens by itself, it almost always happens because people are involved, you will never really be successful without the love and help of other people. Even Snoopy need help to decorate his tree. (above)
Websters Dictionary defines success in this manner:
– That which comes after; hence, consequence, issue, or result, of an endeavor or undertaking, whether good or bad; the outcome of effort.
Funny how there is no mention of people, but you and I know most things in life that define success, tend to be based in relationship, the people in our lives, not stuff. It’s really a matter of perspective. However, success is the heart of the matter, we all strive to be in the moment of that word.
On that note, I want to take this opportunity to say thank you for a fabulous 2012, you made it awesome, and I’m grateful that you even take the time to come here and read what I have to share. Most of us think it, but rarely actually show it, but we do say it often, we always say we care. I’m not the brightest bulb on the tree, but I love to help people, and I can only hope what I share here helps you some how.
I pray you have an awesome Christmas, that you get to reflect and look ahead with hope, but mostly you should cherish those in your life, because we all will shall pass and become a memory. You are valued here, I am grateful to have the opportunity to speak into your heart, it’s where we all life.
Merry Christmas my friends.
Let’s see, I woke up at 8:30AM, that’s unusual by itself as I’m normally up much earlier. I obviously had to clean up because I was about to venture out among the people. I have to admit though, I was dang tired and I didn’t really want to go anywhere, but was very happy I did.
My first stop was at a great little coffee shop, Clayburn Gourmet Gallery, had a London Fog and a nice visit with Kimberly (she owns the business). I then paid a visit to my church, said Hi and visited a short while. From there I made my way to a local restaurant called the Greek Island, I met a long time friend for lunch, Richard Lindfield. He had the lamb and I had schnitzel, well something like it. I had to eat and run, I felt bad because I really wanted to spend more time with Richard, but a funeral was next on my agenda.
Here I am at Central Heights Church for a memorial service, or funeral, for Leslie Buhler. Leslie (a man) spend his youth in the mission fields of India, he was born in 1924. You’re asking yourself how I know him, a story then….
In 1993 Lisa & I moved our family to Abbotsford from Penticton, B.C, we were taken to a church by our Pastor at the time, the church is called Central Heights. One of the very first few people we met were the Buhler’s, Leslie’s oldest son Tim became my very first Bible Study leader. And with all good bible study groups, you get taken in, looked after, and cared for. We were immediately grafted into the Buhler family, we attend all the Buhler family functions, Leslie was a fun man to be around, his stories were amazing. I have met many great men in my life, Leslie I am proud to say is one of the greatest. He was a man if integrity, I can’t say that about many people, but if you look up the word in the dictionary, you’ll see his picture. Oh and he wrote a book of his life in India, can’t wait to read it.
That’s the short version of the story, of we came to know Leslie Buhler. Attending his memorial was more like a family reunion, we knew almost everyone there, the place was packed….it should be, it’s a big family now! The food was interesting, yep….India….everywhere you saw food from India. I’m not huge fan, but there was fruit : )
After visiting with the family and sharing stories, Lisa & I headed home. Once we got home, and it’s normal for us, she goes upstairs and I head to my office : ) After checking mail, voice mail, and so on….there were lots of Happy Birthday wishes for me on all the Social Networks, and I’m grateful. Lisa informed me there is a Birthday present for me on the kitchen table, I was curious and surprised actually. I went upstairs to find a bag filled with the usual stuffing, in it was season 1 & 2 of Downton Abby! First I laughed out loud, then I asked, are sure this is for me? You see, just the night before we were talking about the show and how we could never find on any channel, I suggested we should buy the DVD for Christmas. Obviously a last minute shopper : )
It’s 5PM now, Lisa is teaching piano to 5 or 6 kids, then at 7:30PM we’ll figure out what’s for supper…maybe after supper we’ll watch Downton Abbey : ) We are planning an evening out later in the week to celebrate in a more formal way, but good just lying low at home with my Lisa.
So that’s been my day, one I won’t forget because Leslie Buhler & I are celebrating a day of victory!
I want to thank any and all who have come to my blog, and most especially to those he keep returning to see what I will share next, I hope you are learning something and continue to keep thinking forward. So this day I wish you and your world a Merry Christmas, and may 2012 be a better year than 2011 may have been, Happy New Year and good fortune to you.