I'm pretty fair, it would seem, in the business of image, but pretty foul at the actual DOING of business. Lemme 'splain. I cut the grass at my office for a small fee each week. It's fairly easy work, the location is close, and I take further ownership of the business I am employed by, so it's a win-win. The thing is, I always think (cutting grass is good think-time) about taking it to the next level--how can I turn a single office worth of grass cutting into a successful, ongoing business in an already competitive world of lawn services?
The answer? Image. People don't want to buy a lawn service, they want to buy an image. I'm in the buisness of selling sizzle, not steak. Anybody can sell steak, it takes imagination and flair to sell sizzle with that same old shoe-leather quality steak. I'm good at image. Really good at it. All it takes is imagination, and I've got that by the truckload. The thing is, I'm not so good with all the fiddly details like cash-flow, inventory control, and most important, finding that one service that nobody else seems to be offering.
Consider: I cut grass for one office. I want to make it more than one office. While not the best at figuring out how to increase my size and scope and ability I've already figured out the name of the business, the logo, and importantly, the sizzle of the business. See, me and some imaginary partner or coworker would suddenly become:
Not "Professional Lawn Care," nothing as plain as that. Just "The Professionals." The logo? Black icons on white background, two men in black suits, white shirts and black ties, wearing wayfarer sunglasses, black fedoras pulled low. One has a weed-eater slung over one shoulder, shotgun style, with his other hand in his slacks pocket and the other is standing relaxed, resting one hand on a push mower's handle. Beneath the logo, the legend: "Let Us Handle Your Dirty Work." Suddenly you're not hiring a couple of middle-aged guys who want to earn beer and gas money, you're hiring a couple of lawn hit-men, who by their image (their sizzle) are selling you gangster-style quality--fast, efficient, and clean. You're buying The Family Touch.
The uniform? White T-shirts with the logo on the front pocket and the legend on the back, and black jeans or chino shorts. Uniformity, the key to iconic tie-ins, and a clean look on the employees. The trick? Keep tons of shirts onboard the vehicle, so that whenever you show up for the next job you look clean, fresh, and like this house is the only house you have to do that day, so you are going to really do it up fine, even if you're on your fifteenth yard for the day and want to puke your guts out.
But then, there's the followthrough. Finding a crew, getting the money, making it all happen in Real Life. The thousand and one tiny details that make a business thrive.
For those of you who remember Gentleman Rook Tobacco you know what I mean. I had a clean, easy to navigate website, uncluttered pages, hunter green borders with maroon fields, easy checkout, and the infamous "puffing chicken" logo.
Well-executed image, not a lot of money, and trying to compete online with the sharks all added up to a lackluster 5 years. I don't have the final business sense to pull things off, and lack the wherewithal to find the person that DOES.
Wanted: Helper with good business sense and a giant defict of imagination. Objective: