Good business is human business

Too often these days, businesses are seen by their consumers as entities rather than the groups of people that they really are. Small companies are often the bastions of interesting, non-traditional business. Small business either doesn’t care or doesn’t know enough to be risk adverse. They also have more fun, and as such, come across as a group of humans, and not some big floating head in the sky out to steal your money.

Like all of us, as companies grow larger they tend to become more conservative – often at the expense of truly remarkable achievement.

Take these two examples:

  • Woot (be sure to read their FAQs… can you imagine any Fortune 500 company being that funny?)
  • Busted Tees

The funny part is that the things that work, whether business models, commercials, or anything else are typically the things that make upper management uncomfortable.

When you pitch an exec on the idea of community, one of the first questions that comes back is “But how do we ensure that the community members don’t say anything bad about us?”

The answer?
“We don’t. We encourage them to be open and honest with us, and in turn, we’re open and honest with them. Only then can we achieve anything significant from our relationship with the community.”