Business advice from (present and future) dogs

May 24, 2015 2:35 pm

 

So we just got a new puppy; a second rescue. Our first dog, Lucas, came from a fighting ring about 3 years ago (he’s a teddy bear now), and this one – Luna – was found at just a few weeks old with no mother.

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Just lookit those eyes – how could you say no?

Although we named her Luna on the very first day, sort of at random, I inwardly use a new name that more closely reflects her behaviour and disposition: Chucky Butthole.

That’s not the point of this piece, though; she’ll probably grow out of it. These two dogs have taught me a thing or three about business.

 

Is your business like Chucky Butthole?

If your business model is ‘destroy everything I see’, little Chucky might just end up your star employee – I’ll have her fill out an application. While her business-sense isn’t infallible, Luna’s position in our home reminds me of a lot of startup brands.

For better and for worse: she’s active and vocal and tries every tack she can think of to engage, which is great – she’s learning what sticks and how to interact productively with her targets.

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Stop disrupting me. No, really.

Like a psycho little cyclone.

Sometimes it works: she’s cute, she’s funny, and she’s a puppy. So that’s cool for now – alas, she’s not great with setting goals or analyzing the data she generates through her progress. Her targets are going to tire of her lunacy and she’s going to have to identify a strategy that allows her to grow – to evolve – alongside us.

Like a busy little business.

Everybody loves a puppy. Less so for the 20kg dog whose business model never develops beyond spray-and-pray ‘disruption’.

Luna needs guidance from her target audience to understand her most productive position in the world. She must accurately interpret and apply that guidance to succeed.

The takeaway

Being ‘disruptive’ sounds like fun (it is). But it is certainly not enough to achieve long-term success, and is usually just a lame buzzword anyway.

Outgrow it to find your prime.

Lucas is kind of like a powerhouse Big Brand – like I said, he came from a fighting background so although he is a dwarf (hence his abandonment) he’s a literal heavy hitter. Let’s just say he was approximately zero percent amused at Luna’s arrival (in the 4-ish weeks since then, he’s reached about sixty – we’re getting there). See, because she’s genuinely “disruptive”. Not a buzzword.

That ruffles feathers. Even dogs’ feathers, which they don’t actually have. Look – everyone likes to say they’re disruptive. And, rarely, it’s true: just look at Uber, who appears to be threatening the very business model of taxi transportation.

There isn’t really an established Lucas for the Uber-Luna to compete with – just as well, or they might find themselves up against a high-energy opposition campaign. Nobody likes a serious new player threatening to tread on their turf.

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This is way cooler than bloodsport.

Lucas is a household name with a strong niche and loyal audience. He’s already identified the right areas to target for evolution. And if that disruptive little startup crosses the line?

Well, he’ll pick her up by the head and toss her into the bookshelf again. And again. Until she learns.

Maybe, just maybe, she’ll outgrow Lucas. She’ll eventually be a household name and maybe even a heavy-hitting brand, herself. But she’ll still have an older, wiser player to contend with; she’s not financially or mentally prepared to actually bring down the World Leader.

And he knows it.

The takeaway

Being disruptive is essential, if it’s not a just buzzword. But if that’s the only tool in your box – if that’s all you really bring to the table – your customers and competition will simply outgrow you.

 

Be a Good Dog – your way.

Chucky Butthole and Lucas have a pretty captive audience. And whether you’re a copywriter in Panama or a widget manufacturer on Mars, most businesses don’t enjoy the same privilege.

Here’s what my dogs recommend:

Lucas says: This barky little thing sure can be annoying, but I used to be the same way. That’s how I built the thriving brand I am today – and since I’m experienced and always careful to listen to my audience, I know where to focus and what to lose to make sure I keep thriving, even as my environment changes.

Chucky Butthole says: arf! Warrrr-garble-aughh! Chompchomp rawrrr! Pretty sure if I’m just loud enough everyone will want to pay attention to me and me only!

Luna (from the Future) says:  Hi! I used to be an innovative, yap-yap, disruptive, high-energy bark-bark brand. But my audience showed me exactly what they want, and with their help I learned to do a great job delivering. Now, Lucas and I share the same space and we both win!

And we, their audience, win double: when Luna discovers her good-dog niche (and Lucas doesn’t eat her on the way), she’ll find there’s still plenty of playtime to go around – and a lot more people to share it with.

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Lucas – before he found his niche.

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Rescue dogs rock. Here’s living, loving proof.

 

 

 

 

 

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This post was written by The Copywriter

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