Archive for March, 2010

Dealing With Small

Small Animal

Many people are fed up with big business (the “factories”) and are deciding to take their purchasing/eating/dealings to smaller local businesses. There is friction in moving away from large businesses to the small local business that we need to understand and deal with in advance, lest the issues come up later.

1) Convenience: Many times the local business or producer does not have a storefront in your neighbourhood. We may need to travel to get to their place of business or where the service is offered. Chances are they aren’t open 24 hours a day, and likely not even 7 days per week.

2) Selection & Diversity: Many small businesses will specialize in a specific market segment as they are not trying to be all things to all people. As long as we remember that we are not at a supermarket and set our expectations in advance, this is avoidable.

3) Process: “Mom and Pop” shops won’t have a process for many things that big businesses do. Their daughter at the cash might not know how to deal with our traveler’s cheque (check) because she’s never seen one before, and HQ (Mom or Pop) didn’t think to write a process for her. And if we’re trying to do a B2B transaction, and our B is much bigger, trying to force our process on them is going to be painful for them.

4) Price: We should expect that items that don’t come from the large factory are going to cost more. “Artisan”, “hand crafted”, “free-range” are all monikers that should have us realize that our purchases will cost more per item than similar stuff from Costco or Walmart. While it sometimes may seem “expensive”, looking at it in the bigger picture (health + environment + economy) can illuminate that the price is fair.

We’re dealing with these people because we’re looking for something else, something that doesn’t come from the factory. Minimizing this friction is quite simple – we need to educate ourselves about the new way of dealing with small and expect some inconvenience in doing so. In essence, we need more understanding and tolerance within ourselves. Kind of like how we deal with small children and small animals. Which makes it even more worthwhile…


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I was introduced to the concept of “scanners” recently through triiibes. Barbara Sher is the lifestyle coach, speaker,and author who coined the phrase. “Scanners” are people with a wide variety of interests…who find it hard to specialize. Here’s a good description from getmotivation.com :

Intense curiosity about numerous unrelated subjects is one of the most basic characteristics of a Scanner. Scanners are endlessly inquisitive. In fact, Scanners often describe themselves as being hopelessly interested in everything (although, as you’ll find out, this isn’t so). A Scanner doesn’t want to specialize in any of the things she loves, because that means giving up all the rest. Some even think that being an expert would be limiting and boring.

It might be why I find so many things interesting. I’m always afraid that I might be missing out on something else to do. I know when discussing specializing and focusing, I always tend to think that the person who does so misses out on a whole lot of other life events.

Apparently there is a fair bit of detail and strategies for scanners in her book “I Could Do Anything If I Only Knew What It Was”. Sounds like one I need to read next as I’d like to figure out how it plays against being in the flow state (Can scanners still reach flow?)

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