3 Surprises When Startups Meet Life
You could practically name anything off the top of your head, and I’m confident I could relate it to a startup, entrepreneurship, or Seinfeld. Excluding the latter, this statement speaks to how being enveloped in the startup culture consumes every facet of your mind, not just business. (I’m with Schlep.) Running a business can naturally make some things fall to the wayside, like laundry. That is, unless you’re running a dry clean delivery service. But it also magnifies things. I mean impactful things, and things that don’t involve “Growth Hacking” or “Exit Strategies”. This is a brief profile of a few of those many things.
Vulnerability … I said Vulnerability, OK!!
We often talk about ‘value statements’ and ‘identifying the problem’, but It’s been simply said (by Jane Portman) that customers just want to feel successful, stress-free, and socially comfortable. They come to us, the business, with a problem that they either can’t solve or don’t want to solve. They’re vulnerable. Because Schlep literally schleps heavy items for its customers, we’ve had our share of stressed and vulnerable customers. They’re in a pinch, a pickle, or quandary. They need some Schleppers to enter their home to help. Then, there’s that moment in the movie when you know the protagonist is going to make it; it’s when you realize this person schlepping your armoire actually cares. Your business should always remove stress and make people feel more comfortable and successful, and it’s a plus if you can do it ten times better than the next option.
Considering the above vulnerability, how you solve problems with your customers and employees tells people a lot about your business. My work in a previous life brought me into many businesses across the country. My work as a Schlepper has brought me to many businesses in Chicago. It’s astounding how much a business takes on the personality and character of the person running it. Positive or negative outlooks exude an aura into the spaces around them, and that energy is easily transferred into other people. I really believe this, and I don’t teach yoga. As cliche as it is, attitude is contagious. It’s a scientific fact. A fact that I can’t prove, but trust me on this one.
If you’re able to accomplish the miracle of solving a customer’s problem and having fun doing it, then you’re probably eligible for sainthood. You’re also on your way to running a successful business. After your business is able to consistently replicate these mini-miracles, you’ll start to receive gratitude. People, including me, don’t like interacting with brands that are trying to manipulate them; on the contrary, we LOVE interacting with brands that help us. Schleppers have many examples of the love: a cold glass of water, full dinner in someone’s home, and a keg of beer for the entire Schlepper team. Individually these were wow moments, and together they make a Pleasantville-esque 1950’s TV commercial. They received that stuff because customers were genuinely grateful for the Schleppers, who lifted them out of their issues (figuratively?), and delivered success when they needed it most.
There isn’t enough space here (or long enough attention spans) to really explore how deeply connected entrepreneurship and everyday lives are, but it’s something to think about. Many thanks and kudos if you’ve made it this far. If you’re so inclined, share this with your friends! If you’re craving more, check out The Neighborhood. And no, there’s no reason to have ‘Dude’ in the last sub header. It’s just more fun.