Tuesday, April 3, 2007
A Complicated Business
My little creative agency lost A Client today. So now we have one ... well actually half of one - given that they're not really what I would call A Client. Sure, they bring in reasonable chunks of work - but not nearly frequently enough. They're lovely people and the work they do makes a real difference in the world (admittedly in small but meaningful ways) ... but they're still not what I'd call A Client. So, "Did Geoffrey have his head buried so far up his own Art Of Distraction he failed to see this coming?" you may well ponder.
Well, I'm afraid it's a great deal more complicated than that. You see there are people who 'do' running a small business well and there are people who don't. There are people who plough through their various and seemingly unending financial reporting tasks in MYOB or Quicken (or both) and there are those who, instead, prefer to plough through a bowl of vanilla ice-cream and Cottee's chocolate topping. There are those people who Excel at spreadsheets, cashflow forecasts and summaries, and there those who purposefully ridicule these concepts by using excel as a proper noun, not a verb. There are people who are masters in the concept of New Business Development and there are those who wonder why the phone's not ringing more often. There are people who grasp the basic value of a 'network' and there are those who loved Peter Finch and, especially, Faye Dunaway in it.
There are those people who use tried and trusted marketing and advertising strategies to prompt business enquiries and there are those who write them for everyone else but who refuse to believe they need one of their own. There are people who are incredibly motivated toward success and there are those who are cynical about the whole 'success' thing ... not to mention more than a little too keenly devoted to anonymity. There are those people who are determined to break out of 'The Poverty Cycle' and those who are not altogether convinced that there is anything even remotely 'cyclic' about it. There are those people who invest in state-of-the-art technology to enhance their business's productivity and competitive edge and there are those who don't even own a cordless telephone ... or an iPod. There are those who master the efficiency and ease of PDAs and Blueberries and there are those who don't know what 'PDA' stands for and who prefer their 'Blueberries' spelled with a lowercase 'b' and in a bowl, preferably served with lots of King Island cream.
There are people who can put those extra little business expenses onto their Credit Cards and there are those for whom the tireless exposure to the word 'Declined' is a source of constant public humiliation - even at the bottle shop. Especially at the bottle shop. There are people who create and monitor budgets and there are those who think they're simply too expensive when compared to Bayswater, even if you factor in their 'unlimited kilometres' deal. There are people who implement strategies to protect their business's 'bottom line' and there are those who think a 'bottom line' is that mark you get on your bum when you've been sitting on a toilet seat reading for too long. There are those people who develop targeted Direct Email Marketing Campaigns and there are those who instantly trash emails from people they don't know. There are people who actively source 'new business leads' and there are those who try and beat their computer at chess ... or themselves at Tetris. Or Solitaire.
There are people who are really good at doing one thing and those who are really good at doing many. Too many. There are people who prefer coffees to complication, eating to equations, fucking to follow-ups, walking to wireless, movies to meetings, laughing to leasing, simplicity to strategising, partying to planning, butterflies to break-evens and practically anything to the curse of ambition.
I hope I'm writing metaphorically when I write that 'the jury is still out' where my little enterprise is concerned ... but just in case I'm not, I'll be re-engaging in the art of distraction when I'm sure I can continue to pay for my internet connection. And that, my friends, is about as close to the 'bottom line' as I'm prepared to go.
Image: The Scream