The Advantage Letter by Dave Martin
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Wednesday, July 01, 2015
Volume 21 | # 483
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Life isn't about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself. » George Bernard Shaw

All the World's a Stage

A friend shot me a funny quote last week that is a modern take on sage old advice.  It read, “Life is never as good as it looks on Facebook, or as bad as it sounds on Twitter.”  

I’ve read several versions of that line from different folks over the last couple of years, but it still made me chuckle.

I enjoy jumping on Twitter now and again to remember how unbelievably cruel people can be under the cloak of anonymity.  But even more amazing to me are the people who say the absolutely most awful things using their real identities.

I’ve kidded with younger groups to treat tweets and postings like they’re going on their future resumes.  

Heck, they are more permanent than a tattoo.  They tell me you can get a tattoo removed.  

Those online posts will outlast the pyramids.   

On the other end of the spectrum, I’ve joked with people before that if you’re the kind of person who is jealous by nature, you should stay 10 miles away from Facebook.  It always seems like the world is out there living a better life than you.

Everyone is eating at great places or doing cool things or vacationing in awesome locales or having children accomplishing wondrous physical and/or mental feats.  

It’s like Garrison Keillor’s “Lake Wobegon”, “…where all the women are strong, all the men are good-looking, and all the children are above average.”

Humor aside, there is pretty sound life (and business) advice in the “it isn’t as good or as bad as it seems” memes.  There is a common human tendency to look at others’ situations and assume they “have it easier.”

We think that good fortune continually shines down upon others.

But I like to remind people that most folks out there, including ourselves, are expert thespians.  Others don’t see the work, struggle, stress, anxiety that occurs off-stage.  

We see the public roles being played and infer that is what “life is like” for others.

But most folks whom we see enjoying successes have just as many defeats on their (unseen) resumes and work harder than you know.  

The best salespeople have been rejected more than their peers.  

Many prosperous small business people have failed their way to the success they now enjoy.

Sure, some folks may be a bit luckier (define that as you wish) than most.  But most luck is earned.  

How are you going to earn yours today?

Bagging New Customers

I had to smile last week at the most affective piece of advertising I encountered during the entire week.  

This marketing piece didn’t come over my smartphone. I didn’t hear it on the radio or watch it on television or read it in a newspaper.

It showed up in my driveway…in a Ziploc bag…with gravel.  Not exactly high-tech.

As I pulled into my driveway, I slowed to make sure whatever I was about to drive over wasn’t important (or moving).  At first, I figured it was a plastic bag that blew in.  

But when I looked up, I noticed similar bags in my neighbors’ driveways.

When I lifted it, I realized that it was a sandwich-size Ziploc bag weighed down with a small amount of pea gravel.  Inside the bag was an 8”x5” flier advertising a small “flooring and lawn service”.

I do have to admit that I probably get impressed by certain things that others don’t.  My wife gave me a funny look when I went on for a bit about the genius of that concept.  

It was a waterproof and wind resistant flier delivery system!  (You can take the guy out of the in-store branch but you can’t take the in-store branch out of the guy.)

More importantly, several of the services listed on this little company’s flier are things we have been thinking about having done.  

Of course, smart “handyman” companies know that 25-year-old neighborhoods are their sweet spots.  There’s always something around here that needs fixing.

You can’t throw a gravel-weighted Ziploc bag around here and not hit a house that can likely use at least one of the bullet points: mulching or flower bed planting or power washing or painting or fence work or sheetrock repairs or updated floors or… well, lots of stuff on the flier.

Would I hire these guys sight unseen?  Well, probably not.  

But they put themselves on my radar and are on my short list to contact for upcoming jobs.  

Plus, there is no doubt that they work my neighborhood.  And I have a soft spot for people and companies who actually exert a little effort to ask you for your business.  

Sure, online listings and the like are important as well.  But there are dozens of similar companies listed there. 

Only one this week gave that little extra effort to ask for the business.  

Many banks and CU’s are advertising in your markets.  

Will you be the one going the extra mile?


It is an immutable law in business that words are words, explanations are explanations, promises are promises - but only performance is reality. » Harold S. Geneen

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in these columns are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of any affiliated entities or sponsors.
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