I am often racked with guilt as I recycle many works of art created by my son Josh at school. Each day, he runs up to me with excitement and shares his latest creation of pyramids of Egypt, or scorpions or, in his current craze, penguins in Antarctica.
I cringe as I drop them in the recycle bin, thinking “grandma and grandpa would love to see this picture!”
But my desire to reduce the mounds of colored paper all over the kitchen counter usually wins out.
Yesterday, I got a flash of inspiration and a business idea for a creative entrepreneur.
What if someone were to meet me at school at the end of the day and pick up the drawing that I wanted to share with my relatives? (or pick up an envelope at the end of the week with the choice pictures enclosed)
He or she could go back to the office, scan the picture, upload it to Facebook or Flickr or Dropbox, where I could send it to my family spread over the globe.
As a value-added service, this creative entrepreneur could load up the picture in my drafts folder so all I would have to do is add a pithy note and hit send.
And what if these pictures could be compiled at the end of the year in a coffee table art book, using one of the many high-quality on demand publishing or photo sites?
This creative entrepreneur could build relationships with schools and day care centers, working out a profit-sharing model with the school.
The possibilities are endless.
Where could you meet your customers where they are?
This same model can apply to each one of you in your business endeavors.
Last week at the airport, I ended up doing two full-on coaching sessions with fellow passengers. Winding through the security line, I coached an author on how to build her community with social media. I sat next to an advertising guy on the plane, and explored ways he could move from the print medium to online marketing.
Perhaps I should fly more often.
What to ask yourself
- Where do my customers hang out?
- How can I catch them right in the middle of a situation where they need me to help them out?
- How can I build relationships with groups, institutions or organizations who serve large numbers of my customers?
A word of caution
In your quest to meet your customers where they are, be sure to walk a respectful line.
I cringed as I watched religious evangelists pass out cards to their church right in the middle of a traditional Native American Pow Wow.
If you sell life insurance, you probably don’t want to attend funerals and pass out your cards.
You may get punched if you enthusiastically promote your vegan soy products at the regional barbecue championships.
So with respect, creativity and finesse, how can you meet your customers where they are?
Share your ideas, and let us jump in and help.