Fri. Dec 3rd, 2021

Sure, running a successful business takes Know-How. But growing an even more successful business takes Grow-How. In today’s fast-paced world, the challenge to increase revenues takes more wit and wisdom than ever before. Not only is technology changing at the speed of talk, but tastes and trends are changing at the blink of an eye. And consumers, well, they’re becoming more choosy and more demanding every day. The Information Age is responsible for educating young children faster than their parents could ever think to learn. Wireless is the buzz word of the times, and broadband is its closest kin. Even as quickly as I write Spectrum Email this, technology is changing. The microchip inside this box was outdated before I even drove it home from the store.

So…with all this bus-y-ness, how is bus-i-ness to compete? Today’s business owners cannot afford to only think outside the box, they need to think ahead of the box maker. Wit and wisdom, remember?

Let’s start with wit. Wit can be defined as “keenness and quickness of perception”. But let’s take it a step farther. How about the “ability to perceive and express in an ingeniously humorous manner the relationship between seemingly incongruous or disparate things”1. Confused yet? Simply put, perception is the easy part. Sensing the customer’s reaction to a new flavor of ice cream, as you watch them take their first taste, tells you whether it’s a flavor you want to take to market. Of course perception can be incorrect, and hence we need the keen and quick part of the definition.

Take it farther again, and add the “humorous expression” to the relationship between the inconsistent, the disharmonious, and the incompatible. Now the witty business owner sets himself apart from the crowd, and sets the trend rather than follow it. Look at the success story of Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream. Two guys start making ice cream in a gas station. They make it fresh and good, but they added a twist, they marketed their ice cream using outrageous names for seemingly incompatible flavor mixes and set themselves apart. They took the incompatible and made it work bigger and better. Wit is personified in this business model. And it took Ben & Jerry’s from a $5 correspondence course in 1977 to stock sale for $43.60 a share in 2000 when company was bought out. 2

Today’s application can and must go even farther than mixing nuts and cherries. Try mixing the two biggest inventions of modern times, Television and the Internet. Interaction and steaming video are sure-bets for advertising and marketing success in the next 10 years. Video on demand, home shopping networks, virtual house tours, movie previews, and more have moved from the big screen to the computer monitor. Wireless connectivity and increasingly affordable broadband are driving the technology even farther. What’s your connection as a business owner? Simple, your product or service starring in its very own video, online and in the hands (literally) of consumers everywhere. Think of it as a virtual tour of your store.

Once you get the customer in and buying, service them with a smile. Here’s an outrageous, but effective marketing tip. Send them an Email thanking them for a recent purchase, then link them back to your site and up-sell, cross-sell, any-sell – but do it with wit. Perceive their response in store, and express the relationship of their experience and their purchase with humor, bringing seemingly incompatibles together. Here’s an example, say you sell lawnmowers. Now a customer named Jack comes in and purchases a lawn mower on Saturday. Being a forward thinking business owner, you have Jack fill out some personal information including name, address, email address, lot size, type of grass, maybe even hobbies. Armed with this information you send Jack a personalized email after he’s left your store on Saturday. It may read something like this:

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