I was thinking about starting a small business – which I’ve done (http://www.themanmedals.com) and what an intensely personal thing it is to put your name on it.
What makes this business different is that it’s a side project – not my primary source of income. And I can only imagine when it’s how you make a living, it becomes even more personal.
I’ve been fortunate to get some really good word of mouth and media (I know a couple of people) – radio interviews in Montreal & Toronto, TV in Detroit and dozens of radio stations posting the video on their web page.
Great, right? Yes. But with that comes the feedback from potential customers, not all positive.
First thought? They’re wrong. Second thought? Maybe they’re right.
I was contacted by Wal-Mart in Canada about selling Man Medals on their website. I sent them samples, filled out tons of tax forms, credit checks, etc.
They said no.
First thought? They’re wrong. Second thought? Maybe nobody will buy these.
So here I am – two months into my business venture. And what’s the most important thing I’ve learned?
It’s personal. And so is the feedback (positive and negative), these are real people giving you input on how to make your product better. I’m so thankful that I had the experience of dealing with a great person at Wal-Mart in Canada. She was gracious, easy to work with, and I learned more in that experience than I can explain. The next time an opportunity like that comes along, I know what to do and how to get it done.
And the negative comments on social media? It’s easy to dismiss bloggers and comments – but why? I took the time to think about what they’re saying and guess what? They had valid points.
The website (http://www.themanmedals.com) was reshaped to reflect the true intention of the product. It’s for fun, not an indictment of married men. But if you read the original introduction, it was way too flippant and could be perceived that way. I’ve been happily married for 20 years, and if these silly little pins bring a smile (or maybe a laugh) to a couple…then I’m happy.
So now as I move forward – I’m seeing more positive response on a national scale. I’ve sold Man Medals in the United States, New Zealand, Canada and India. And someone who reviewed my business application in Canada actually liked my Facebook page (love that!).
It’s personal. And to every business owner – you’re amazing. To think I’m a very small part of this community is an honor.
Did I mention the website? http://www.themanmedals.com
Check it out. And give me your feedback. I’m listening (and learning).