Thursday, December 10, 2015

The Really Big Show

Micro Business Over the Holidays - for the uninitiated.
To the tune of "Do the Hustle"

Normally I wouldn't feel able to write about this because I'd be in the thick of it myself.  This year I had the wind knocked out of me in November (literally!) and decided not to enter the competition this year.  By that, I mean the marketing and promotion of holiday and gift-giving season for my business.  For as long as I can remember, it has just been "what we do."

The first lesson came to us in our herb shop 20-some years ago.  All through November of that first year in business, we watched the cars fly past.  Back and forth to the mall. On Dec 13th of that year at a family gathering, a brother-in-law who worked for a large retail chain (at the mall) told me that if we hadn't done it yet, we should consider the season over.  I was crushed.
He was wrong though. 
In the next 2 weeks we managed to take in the equivalent of about 3 previous months.

And that's the thing.  Micro-businesses fly under everyone's radar.  We don't necessarily notice things like Black Friday or Cyber Monday.  Well... that's not really true.  We notice.  They don't necessarily notice us.  Sort of like being the short kid waiting to be picked for a team of basketball in gym class.  The general rule-of-thumb business-type-conventional-wisdom has nothing to do with us.  Some brick and mortar businesses with a good location will be swept along with the big boys and benefit.  Occasionally, an unsolicited online shout out will push an artist into unknown territory (aka success).  You just never know.

Tiny little businesses like us are really put to the test over the holidays.  Those old shop days I talk about above happened without web site or social media to worry about taking care of.  It was just the physical shop and the two of us doing everything.  Maybe a few mail orders.  And we were STILL exhausted. I'm talking about businesses of only a couple people (or just one).  Shopkeepers who tend their own shops, makers who make and market their own goods, food and beverage makers who prepare and serve it themselves; truly small business.  I'm not even sure we qualify as "cottage" industry.  All year long, it can be pretty tough to get everything done, but suddenly you've got to compete with so-called small businesses who actually have a budget for on-line campaigns, extra workers, and marketing!  It can be incredibly daunting.  I am surprised how happy I am to not be trying to keep up this year.  Oh... I posted a few things, but nothing in comparison to the way I have worked through this season in the past.

So I'm not sure.  Maybe I'll drop out of this particular race forevermore.  Maybe January/Feb should be the time for a little push.  Maybe ...  Maybe not all businesses need to be a part of every bonanza.  I'm not sure it has made any difference.  I'll have to look over the paperwork at the end of the month, but expect that it won't look much different this year from last - without knocking myself out.  I sort of hope that's what I'll find.  Imagine how freeing that will be!

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