Friday, December 7, 2007

Sometimes, I almost feel guilty for not advertising in the Bulletin with the other downtown merchants.

I don't advertise. At all.

I've given advertising many many chance to prove to me that it's worthwhile, that I get something for my money. I'm not convinced.

Still, I wonder if I'm letting down Team Downtown Bend.

Except I don't feel part of Team Downtown Bend, either. I've never belonged to the Downtowners or the Chamber of Commerce.

I could come up with a number of explanations. That when I started long ago, I didn't feel very welcomed. (But all those people are long gone.) That when I went to meetings, I thought their focus was all wrong. That I hate what they come up with, (ANY street closings except the traditional parades, etc.) The fact that so many of them are focused so much on promotion that they neglect the basics -- such as extended hours, (past 5:00 p.m., open on Sundays.) The fact that I've seen so many of them come and go, and their 'good' ideas with them. And so on.

But the truth is, I'm just a loner. I prefer to go my own way, not get entangled. But I've just learned that I'm happier, make better decisions, and that everything just works better if I keep my distance. I try to stay friendly, and polite, but I've never much felt part of the group. I don't play well with other children.

Still, I'm always curious about what's going on. I like gossip, pretty much. So I try to ask a lot of questions whenever I have an unwary downtowner in my grasp. I like being the observer, so to speak.

If I truly believed that advertising would have any effect at all, I'd feel more guilty about not joining in. But I also think it would be pretty silly to spend money that I don't think is effective just to join others.


Anonymous said...

Two days ago your subject was success and small biz, I define success as survival.

You have survived.

A main reason new biz fails the first 1-3 years is ..

1.) They try to look like a big biz, big office, ..

2.) Big ad budget, that doesn't fund itself,

3.) Spend time at meetings that are generally ALL insurance salesmen, or some other kind of salesman.

You obviously haven't wasted your time&money on 1&3, but #2? A meaningful budget in the Source would run your $2k/mo, and the BULL would run $5k/mo.

My first rule in advertising is "does the cost bring in new sales", certainly given the cost it would NOT.

The reason Duncan you have survived for 25+ years, is that you didn't do 1,2,3 above, had you, you would have gone out of biz in 1-3 years like ALL the other infants businesses.

Duncan McGeary said...

The pressure is pretty strong to do all those three things, especially for new businesses.

I simply didn't have the money to do 1 and 2, and I never had the personal inclination to do 3.

I keep going back to the book, GROWING A BUSINESS, Hawkens, where he warns against overspending on infrastructure and ads.

I think he also mentions that many businesses get to that point where they start being successful, and the owner is pulled away either into civic duty or other organizations.

Not that we don't need people doing those things.

But I would just so quickly lose my internal balance if I tried to do that.

part time faineant said...

You are a loner as am I and I think that is what I appreciate about you the most. You are already participating in downtown by being open, doing a good job with your business and being authentic.

BTW-one of our campaigns for this year is to get more businesses to stay open longer.

Chuck Arnold

Duncan McGeary said...


I'm glad you guys are there. I don't always agree with everything, but at least you're doing something, which is more than most places.

It's hard to get things rolling. Just ask Redmond.

And I think you, personally, are doing a great job.