Do I cave into commercialism or not? This dilemma plagues me every Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and any non-holiday holiday, which retailers and businesses have hyped up simply to profit from.
On the one hand, I hate the fact that these holidays have been exploited for commercial gain. On Valentine’s Day, I feel bad for anyone who is single and yearning for a partner, for Mother or Father’s Day I feel sad for those who want a family, but can’t have or don’t have any living parents. I proudly tell my children that all I want from them on those days is that they not fight or argue. (I know, buying a gift is so much easier!)
On the other hand, as a business coach who focuses on helping my clients to market their business better – I tell my clients to leverage each holiday, Valentines Day Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Halloween, Christmas, Chanukah and so the list goes on. In fact, they can even make up holidays if that’ll increase sales! I preach that these holidays are a gift to business owners, for without them we wouldn’t get the much needed surge in sales so needed to pay our bills – and afford us the luxury of being self-employed.
What I’ve learnt in my 10+ years of coaching small business owners and teaching potential business owners is that there are always two sides to a story. Everything is relative and passing judgment, whilst fun at times, must be done with caution, because the next day, what we passed judgment on will put food on the table.
Being in business tests our values and ethics. What helps me sleep at night is if my clients are offering services or selling products that they genuinely believe in. If the answer is no, then my advice is to go and work for someone else and cut your losses. Don’t sell your customers products or services you wouldn’t use yourself. Do understand your sales cycle and when to leverage what is happening in the market place to increase your sales. IF you believe in your product/service, you’ll believe in selling it to your customers – and to as many as possible whenever and however possible, in a way that matches your ethics and values.
We need to look at both sides – see the benefits and the drawbacks. We also need to learn from the big guys – their mistakes (they seem to make lots these days!) and their wins. What are they doing right and what are they doing wrong? For starters we know that what they’re doing right, is leveraging every single holiday and creating some! So we should do the same. What are they doing wrong – that’s for another article!
So my advice is leverage the hell out of Valentines Day – do it your way. Find an angle to profit from it in a way that resonates with your values. The truth is that it does represent an opportunity for your business and you don’t want to ignore that fact.
Let me know how it goes!
Image credit: by maf04 via flickr.com.