You’re always on the hunt for ways to beat the competition as a small business. There’s no other way to thrive, frankly, even if competition sometimes goes to the back burner with your daily concerns.
Because you’re a pillar of the community and you certainly don’t wish to drive your erstwhile competition out of business—they have families and livelihoods, after all—you do want to be more successful. So you search for a way you can get a leg up on your competition that doesn’t devolve into you flinging burning rocks through their storefront via catapult. At least, I hope you do.
The invaluable John Jantsch at Duct Tape Marketing has just such an idea, one that’s brilliant in its simplicity yet would not have sprung readily to my mind. I want to share it with you because, in my humble opinion, it ought to spread.
So here it is: Have a customer-in-residence program.
If you’re unfamiliar with the concept, it’s very similar to having an artist-in-residence at a gallery or school. In the case of artists and musicians, they’re there to draw inspiration from a unique setting, as Jantsch notes, but they can also mentor and give a unique perspective to their temporary home.
In the case of the customer, though, they won’t exactly be there all day, every day. They have lives of their own to lead. But having a customer for a week or a month who’s willing to come by for a few meetings, tour your offices and serve as a uniquely outside voice for some of your ideas is an invaluable resource.
If you’re afraid of letting a customer into your world, you can always block off portions of your office or talk to the staff about what’s acceptable behavior while you’re around. Honestly, though, I’d bring in the customer and let them see how you tick. The insight you receive from them has the potential to be game-changing.
Be sure to read Jantsch’s entire article. What do you think of a customer-in-residence program?
Photo credit to iStock