Monday, January 20, 2014


I am a collector. I collect interesting things. I don't collect knick-knacks or bobbles or commemorative plates and coins. I do collect books but that is righteous and hardly considered a collection - more like a beginning library. Anyway, what I collect is information. This usually take the form of business cards and take-out menus.

In a recent "The Kill Zone" blog, James Scott Bell posted about discoverability. It's an interesting look at being successful as a writer. In a nut shell it talks about how writing is hard, marketing is easy, and discoverability is our of our hands. And he's right. To be successful at whatever we want to do we have to be discovered. We can shout as loudly as we can from the tallest mountain we can climb about how great we are or how great our product is, but until someone listens and buys what we're selling, it means nothing.

What I've found during my lifetime is that getting your needs fulfilled is hard if you don't know where to look. It used to be that if you needed a plumber you let your fingers do the walking and checked the yellow pages. Now you can go online and search for ratings, or comments on Angie's List (provided you don't mind paying for a subscription AND they have a site in your area). I have found that the BEST way to get a reputable plumber or electrician or a recommendation for a good restaurant is by word of mouth. What businesses, and really all of us, need is not more marketing, they need networking - matchmaking.
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Wherever I've lived I've paid attention to what people say, collect business cards and other tidbits that are of interest. It helps that I'll talk to anyone about anything. (It also helps if you live in an area where people actually are willing to share information.) That way if I overhear someone needing a plumber, I can pipe up and suggest one. Need an electrician? I have one of those too. A clock repair man? Yup. Need trees removed? I have a recommendation. For a business, a good reputation and recommendations are the key to survival if not growth.

It's that way with regular people too. Sometimes we just need to be matched with the right church, parent group, or whatever. So, if someone offers you a business card or suggests something, pay attention and give it a try. You may be surprised to find that the best match isn't made by the biggest marketing budget. Listen to the Yenta.

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