Upside-Down Thinking by Patric Fransko
by Patric Fransko
February 5th, 2014

What Mayberry Can Teach You about Doing Business in 2014

MulberryI am sure that many of us remember the fictional community of Mayberry on the popular television sitcom, The Andy Griffith Show. In my opinion, life in Mayberry can teach us a great deal about how to run a successful business in 2014.

First, let’s look at the setting. Mayberry was a small town where it seemed most everyone knew each other and it didn’t take long for information to spread throughout the town. Although many of us conduct business in markets much larger than Mayberry, the Internet and social media have acted to shrink even the largest markets into the equivalent of a small town. Through the variety of social platforms in use today, we are interconnected with each other in much the same way a small town is and information today flows even faster.

As a result, for a business to be successful in 2014 and beyond, they need to get comfortable with a few “Small Town Rules” that are just a relevant today as they were for our grandparents.

            Don’t Make Enemies with Your Neighbor – When you live in a small town, you really don’t want to have too many enemies. It becomes hard to avoid people who you have differences with and word can spread quickly about any conflicts. The same is true today for any business. The importance of each customer interaction is much higher than it was just a decade ago. One angry customer can make a point to be critical of you online in a way that reaches hundreds—if not thousands—of potential customers. You cannot afford to have “enemies” of your brand today. In a small town, a customer that is upset with you might be able to get 10-20 of their friends to take their business elsewhere. In 2014, one upset customer can damage your reputation and cause customers to question your business. We all know that the customer is not always right, but because of the damage that can occur from one bad customer interaction, the goal should always be to come to an agreement that leaves the customer satisfied … or at least not motivated to do you damage!

Go the Extra Mile for Your Friends – It has always been true that it is easier to keep a customer than to earn a new one. With the increased competition in most fields today, this concept is more important than ever. In a small town, you wanted to take care of each customer so that they would continue to come back. The customer base was small, so every additional customer or loss of a customer made a difference. Today, although you might have a much larger market than existed in Mayberry, there are also many more options. With so many options to distract or attract your existing customers, go the extra mile to do something special to let them know you appreciate the business. Sometimes, just thanking them sincerely for choosing you to do business with will go a long way. Whatever you do, make sure they know that you appreciate them choosing you among the many options that exist.

Make Cookies for the Sheriff – Just like knowing the sheriff might come in handy to get you out of a jam in a small town, having the right friends online can give your company a helping hand. Every industry or demographic serviced has influencers to whom many in that group listen. Either by being more knowledgeable or by the power of their personality, people listen to what they have to say. It is imperative to identify who these people are and work to have them become “friends” of your business. When business is good, a positive word from them can make it even better. When you make a mistake, and we all do, a reassuring word of support in the community about you or your business can limit the damage. Because of their following, when you make friends with someone in this group it is not the same as acquiring one new customer. It is the equivalent of gaining 10, 100 or 1,000 new customers because of all of the people they will influence positively about your brand.

I hope that you will remember these “Small Town Rules” as we move into 2014. I am convinced that re-focusing on the small things will pay big dividends in the future.

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  1. Great Article !!!

  2. Thanks Louis. I appreciate the kind words.

  3. Well done Patric. Enjoyed the read. Lyle

  4. Patric, I agree with your “Small Town Rules”. I especially like “Make cookies for the sheriff.” That’s a creative way of explaining the importance of influencers and how to connect with them.

  5. Thanks Lyle! Glad you enjoyed it.

  6. Thanks for the feedback Becky! I agree with you that many people do not understand the importance of influencers…especially in the age of social media!

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