Friday, November 15, 2013

Don't Expand Your Influence, Deepen It

13 Nov, 2013

Don’t Expand Your Influence, Deepen It

A long, long time ago I ran a very small publishing company in Oregon. Part of my job was to create a database and sales system to chart our orders. I noticed that, while we had about a thousand customers, only a hundred or so of them were supporting our business. Initially, I wanted to expand the business to grow our customer base even larger. We spent thousands of dollars in this attempt, visiting trade shows and printing expensive catalogs. But sooner or later I realized it wasn’t working. I mean we did see an increase in business, but it brought in about as much profit as our marketing efforts cost. So I changed our strategy.
We began to focus on the one-hundred customers who were already faithful and familiar with our products. I created a monthly newsletter that I printed right off my desktop and sent it to these hundred customers each month. I also made a call list and called as many as twenty or thirty, personally, every month. And I noticed our business increased, while our overhead stayed the same. These customers gave us more prominent positions in their catalogs and in their stores.
I’d say this general principal applies to much more than business. Perhaps those deep relationships you long for are all around you, they’ve just not been deepened yet. Perhaps the fulfilling, romantic amazement you’ve been reading romance novels to experience could actually come from that guy snoring in bed next to you each night.

For the rest of this year, try focussing on what is already around you, try cultivating the seeds that have been planted, or the plants that are just producing a little bit of fruit. My guess is this will be easier than going out into the rocks to chip away at a brand new garden.

re-posted from

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