|We’ve all heard the much repeated line from the Godfather films “it’s not personal, it’s just business”. Yet whether you realize it or not, business is personal. If two vendors vie for your business, all things being equal, which one do you choose? More often than not, it’s going to be the one you are most comfortable with. Or, in simpler terms, the one you like better.
Recently, yours truly wrote a press release for a PR Works client, Haley’s Tire & Service Center, with four locations in Maine. The owner, Tim Haley, was diagnosed two years ago with Stage IV colon cancer. After several operations and treatments, he received the go-ahead from doctors to participate in the Pan Mass Challenge, the 192-mile bike ride from Sturbridge to Provincetown to raise money for the Jimmy Fund. Haley raised $25,000!
This year, Tim is cancer-free and participating in the 2011 PMC. In working with Tim on a PR campaign for his four stores, we asked how he felt about using his story to promote his business. He wasn’t sure and asked a legitimate question, “wouldn’t it be exploiting his condition just to benefit his business?”
Not really and it goes back to the original point: people want to like who they do business with. Even more, they want to be inspired. If your business makes contributions to specific charities or you do volunteer work for certain causes and you use that as part of your marketing and PR, it is inspiring. Far from cheapening that effort, it brings attention to the cause, perhaps even making others want to contribute or volunteer.
Most of all, if you’re a small business owner and the face of your company, who you are and what you do in the community does impact your business. People will still make their buying decisions based on what fits their needs. But if there’s a chance for them to do business with somebody they like or admire for their efforts in the community or somebody they really don’t know, it doesn’t take a brain surgeon to know who will get their business. So why keep who you are and what you do secret?
Tim Haley didn’t’ and thank goodness.
An inspiring story is worth telling and certainly worth hearing. To read Tim’s story, here’s the articlethat appeared in the Portland Press Herald. If you would like to make a contribution to Tim’s Team Headstrong, go to www.pmc.org, click on the logo at the top left, and enter Tim’s EGIFT ID TH0130. All major credit cards are accepted.