The Popeye Response
“Stubbornness does have its helpful features. You always know what you’re going to be thinking tomorrow.” ~Glen Beaman, author~
Far too many people – especially men – like to justify their being by using what I call The Popeye the Sailorman response: “I am what I am.” This could also be called “The Cop Out, I-don’t-give-a-hoot” answer of losers and wannabes.
Unfortunately, lots of businesses are run with this same inflexibility and stubbornness. When someone makes a diplomatic suggestion inside or outside of the business to the owners or management, the latter make one hundred million excuses and justifications not to listen, not to learn, and not to change their business approach when warranted.
In my neighborhood, for example, just this past week the fourth store in a six-month span closed due to lack of business. Duh! That’s what happens when you open the same-old same-old type of establishment.
I live in a middle-class setting, but the business acumen of many shopkeepers in my neighborhood is insular, lacks vision, and depends on attracting business solely by their location, signs and newspaper inserts…all of which most people in our information-overloaded age tend to ignore.
The paradigm shifted long ago.
Truth has it that in today’s world we build our reputation and business by becoming an expert and an information disseminator. Many traditional physical businesses think that an online presence is only a “buy buy buy” storefront for their product and services. Nothing can be further from the truth.
Whether you are operating in a 3000-square-foot location or out of a an attic guest room, in the modern age we are each information centers.
We need to earn the respect of our customers by providing information and insights – sometimes free and sometimes not – through ezine newsletters, ebooks, uploaded “How to…” videos, and online webinars and teleseminars.
The stores in my neighborhood which closed had no meaningful information to share with the customer base and had lame websites in three cases and no website in another.
The next time you are tempted to use the Popeye Answer, “Information products are irrelevant to my business” song, try giving that response a needed rest. Information products – no matter which business you are in – are virtually pure profit. The jewelry or eyeglasses in the physical showroom or store usually have profit margins of less than 30 percent.
Which is better for your bottom line – product, information, or a combination of the two? Though each situation is different, most businesses would opt for the combination.
Even mom-and-pop shops must understand and embrace the Information Age in order to have a fighting chance in the highly competitive world we live in. If Popeye was a real character, in today’s business environment he’d have written an ebook on the benefits of spinach.