"I told them...."
"I told them this was their big chance."
"I told them that this could be a huge tourist draw."
"I told them that they were missing out on new business."
Here's the problem. You told them. You didn't show them.
Telling isn't the same as acting. If you don't act, then you shouldn't be surprised when no one else acts either.
With today's technology, you don't have to wait on anyone else to see the opportunity. You can see it, seize it, and build it before the Citizens Against Virtually Everything have time to finish that next cup of coffee down at the coffee shop.
Here's an example: True Grit. Tom Shay was telling me that when the movie True Grit came out in 1969, his dad saw a big opportunity for his home area, which happens to be Yell County, Arkansas. The heroine of the movie is from Yell County, Arkansas. She mentions it several times throughout the film. Who wouldn't love that kind of publicity? Tom said his dad told everyone what a big opportunity it was, but no one did anything about it. Tom's dad was disheartened. A missed opportunity.
Today, it could be an entirely different story. Any one crazy person, maybe Tom's dad, maybe you, could see an opportunity like that, and start taking advantage of it online to market a business, a group of businesses or even the whole darn county. No one needs to give permission. It doesn't matter if the chamber of commerce doesn't want to, or the county board refuses to join in. You can do it, starting alone if you have to.
What can you do when you see a huge opportunity, but no one is acting on it?
1. Ask around. See if you can find another crazy person like you who is interested in working on it.
2. Figure out a way to test whether it really is a good opportunity. Can you set up a trial? A pop-up business? Run a quick-and-dirty clipboard survey?
3. Get online. Set up profiles on social networks. Blog. Share photos. Create a plan for getting the word out and follow the plan.
4. Look around for who else could really benefit. Show them your test and your online results. Get them involved in an even-bigger scale trial.
5. Go public. Involve the whole community in what could be.
6. Keep building up to bigger and bigger projects until you really are taking advantage of that amazing opportunity.
Then, instead of saying, "I told them," you can say, "We did it."
Links of the Week
Check out the Accessibility Checklist for how businesses can make their communication accessible. It's written from the point of view of your customer, and may really surprise you how much we take communication for granted: http://ht.ly/KBogQ
Wondering how you could put a tablet to work in your business? Here are 10 Ways to use an iPad or Android tablet in retail http://buff.ly/1GUFqVN
Keep making your small town better,
PS - Can a town survive losing a school? When we talked about that recently, Al Jones sent in some research conducted in North Dakota, and Elaina Turpin sent in her own experience in her town losing a school. Read more about it here: Can a town survive losing their school? http://buff.ly/1LY7iPd