Many of us will need our own business to beat inflation and insure our purchasing power. Fortunately in this era, small is beautiful in business. There are many ways that tiny micro businesses can compete with giants.
One core concept that we offer in all our micro business courses is to “Turn our Passion into Profit”. We have sung this song to our readers for over 30 years.
The reason this simple idea has such power is because it lets each of us use our own wants, needs, and desires as our market research.
Big business can hire market research firms. It can invest millions to find out what consumers desire.
Take Proctor & Gamble as an example. An excerpt from a Businessweek article entitled “Scrambling To Bring Crest To The Masses In China” Says: P&G is pushing beyond China’s wealthy coastal regions and spending more time and effort selling its soaps and other goods on untapped opportunity in the interior.
To make inroads, P&G is sending its advance staff into as many out-of-the- way villages as it can to get a feel for what rural Chinese want to buy and how much they’re willing to spend. Just as it has done for years in the cities, P&G’s teams of so-called customer research managers descend on villages, often moving in with families for a few days.
We, as small micro businesses, cannot compete with this head on, but we can use our desires to help us define a niche market.
We can use our desires to recognize a problem (and its solution) in the form of a service or product. We can use our habits to spot prospecting pathways that reach potential customers. We also can use our experience to create powerful copy that sells our product or service.
Our passions contain all these powerful marketing tools. This strategy is especially powerful because it unites one’s desired lifestyle with an income producing process.
Another Marketing Tool
There is another marketing tactic, called product distribution, that can help micro businesses create income and gain market data at the same time. This tool is powerful because it unites the process of earning (rather than spending) with the collection of marketing data.
We briefly reviewed this marketing approach in a case study about “Little Blue Books” in our online course “Self Fulfilled – How to be a Self Publisher“.
This mention led a reader to ask this question: Hi Gary, I enjoyed very much my first reading of the Self Fulfilled course and I have ideas for publications regarding subjects that are not always related. In fact, the subjects are quite diverse.
I am thinking of a “how to” series, along the lines of the Little Blue Books (none of which I ever saw or read). Could you tell me the name of the publisher who carried on the tradition of these books, so I could get some ideas for a business model?
Do you know where I could find the Little Blue Book series available for purchase?
Also, do you have any suggestions for a business model for this type of venture? I guess I’m sort of a Renaissance man, unable to stick with just one area of interest.
Thanks very much, Gary.
My reply to Jeff may also help your micro business. Jeff, the “Little Blue Books” were small staple-bound books published by the Haldeman-Julius Publishing Company of Girard, Kansas from 1919 to 1978. They sold more than 300 million booklets in that time.
These were small low priced paperback pocketbooks aimed at the working as well as educated class. They provided simplified common sense knowledge to large audiences on many subjects at very low prices. The publisher got his head start when he offered subscribers 50 Blue Books for a prepayment of $5; at 10 cents a book sent over a period of time.
Five thousand readers sent in $25,000 which financed the first 50 titles.
The idea grew to have global appeal.
“Little Blue Books” covered many classics of Western literature and continued to sell well until after World War II, when J. Edgar Hoover did not like some of the subjects covered such as as socialism, atheism, and frank treatment of sexuality. The FBI put the publishers on their Enemy List which caused many bookstores to stop carrying them.
Several complete collections are known to exist including one at Pittsburg State University’s Leonard H Axe Library.
There are many Blue Books for sale at eBay. For example here were some recent titles being offered.
However it is not the “Little Blue Books” that clarify how the “product distribution strategy” can help a micro business. The “Little Blue Book” idea inspired a later publisher to create a series of basic “Little How-To Books”. These were: “How to Buy Cheap Stocks”, “How to Treasure Hunt”, “How to Play Poker”, “How to Get Cheap Health Care,” etc.
This publisher discovered that these “Little How-To Books” were successful first because buyers tended to buy many books on many subjects at the same time.
Second (and this is the point we are seeking here) these “Little How-To Books” acted as a profitable form of market research. From time to time one “Little How-To Book” would suddenly see skyrocketing sales. This would give the publishing company ideas on which more substantial publications he should be offering.
Normally market research is an expense in business. The Little Blue Book approach turns this expense into an income producing center. This is one very simple but effective way for a micro business to beat the big guys.
Inflation is with us. Due to changes in global economics and massive government debt at every level (city, state and national levels) globally many traditional approaches for securing finances and the future may not work in the years and decades ahead.
One approach that is most likely to remain dependable is maintaining the ability to serve. One way to serve AND profit is with a micro business that uses the “Little Blue Book” approach to beat the business blues.
See how to have our entire “Self Fulfilled – How to be a Publisher” online course free and save $499.
Read Businessweek article Scrambling To Bring Crest To The Masses In China