Monday, July 20, 2009

Lessons from the Donut Shop

I love the donut shop near my house. (I know it's technically spelled "doughnut"). We've been going there since my girls were little. I remember thinking, "Who eats donuts? They are not healthy. And with the Atkins diet craze I bet no one goes there." But the place is always crowded. The same owners have been there for over 10 years and start preparing my order when they see me coming in the front door. They know what I'm going to order. On weekends I see little kids still in their pajamas eating at the small kid-sized tables. There are photos on the wall of customers enjoying their breakfast and my kids like to find the photos of themselves and their friends.

The owners don't ask me questions about myself. They aren't nosy. They just notice me. They remember what I like, what my husband likes and what my kids like. They notice when I get my hair cut. They notice that my kids are growing. They notice when my kids change their mind and order something new. And sometimes they throw in some extra donut holes just "because."

Somehow this donut shop has created a sense of family. So when another donut shop opened nearby I didn't even want to try it. And when I'm out of the area and go to other donut shops I compare it to the one where "my family" is.

The funny thing is: these aren't the best donuts I've ever eaten. They are just "okay." But I'd miss seeing my family if I didn't go there.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Be Human to Jazz Up Your Sales

A few weeks ago I blogged about words being powerful. And this week I read an article on Yahoo called 10 Boilerplate Phrases that Kill Resumes. It says that adding a human voice to your resume will help you stand out and is better than the stodgy boilerplate phrases seen on every resume. The same notion holds true for marketing your business.

The business world seems to be more human to me today. Companies align themselves with causes and charities to be socially responsible and also to boost sales. Business language has taken on a more casual tone as email has replaced the formal business letter. And business dress is more casual - even my bank has casual Fridays.

Take a look at these phrases businesses use on promotional materials and ideas for how to make the phrases more human:

"Maximize employee productivity" could be "Get the most out of your people."

"Increase sales" could be "Double your sales in 60 days."

"We are known for our high quality" could be "We are fanatical about being the best we can."

"We will help you be more successful" could be "We love it when you are a winner."

How are you making your business more human?