I can’t say exactly what has come over me these last few days but I’ve had this natural push to do things, complete things and start new things. I haven’t taken any steroids or other performance enhancers (though I wouldn’t mind NZT-48 #LimitlessMovie). I’ve been active to say the least: Exercising more frequently, drinking more water, eating more healthy foods, attending social events, playing football (which isn’t my forte, for my friends who know me well – I suck!), housecleaning – which I hate doing till the last-minute when I can no longer gain entry into my flat with the full blockade of impenetrable cobwebs (damn you Spider-man!), etc. But why am I writing this post? Is this just part of my enthusiasm to just stay active no matter what? Or am I about to embark on something even bigger?
Recently I had a thought: There are so many needs out there, some of which are satisfied and others that aren’t. I see this everyday – from the colleague who needs a new suit to the other colleague who wants order a birthday cake. What if you knew someone not just local but within the same office space who is willing to come to your rescue? Wouldn’t it save time, save costs and be more assuring than a total stranger? What if a colleague referred you based on his positive experience – wouldn’t you be more likely to patronize that colleague’s recommendation? The next question is how do you bring the needs to those who can provide? How do you bring the buyer and seller together? Referrals are still by far one of the most powerful marketing tools adopted by end consumers usually without the product or service owner’s knowledge. Yet the ripple could accelerate quickly into sales and thereafter repeat sales.
Why am I sharing this? Well to some degree many people are referring friends or businesses that could meet a need. I just don’t think anyone has sat down to link them together – not put them in the same e-commerce space like eBay, Amazon or Craigslist. By linking them I literally mean there’s six degrees of separation. You will know the source of the recommendation as opposed to testing the waters based on reviews (if any) of complete strangers. Don’t get me wrong, I use reviews all the time to make some tough buying decisions but it would be more powerful for me if I knew that buyer personally. I mean, what if the review I’m reading was made up? It’s possible.
So what’s the next step? I’m going through my phone contact list from Adam to Zuckerberg to get all the business men and women who have met my needs at some point in time and creating a database. This will be the start of my own web from which I will refer and hopefully get reviews. No website will be needed at the early stage – It’s best to keep things simple. What’s needed are phone numbers and subsequently photos or a link to a company website if applicable. But the unique feature of this concept will be location. It’s one thing find the person or business that can cater for your need, but it’s another thing when you find out the they’re in another state. Finding someone within your neighbourhood would be ideal, wouldn’t it?
Just imagine if everybody within your neighbourhood had some service or product to render and you could have them all at your fingertips and even read reviews before purchasing. In a perfect situation, all your needs would be met locally – that’s the objective of supermarkets. What about services? When’s the last time you found the office of a plumber? I thought so. Time for me to get to work (and I won’t let Mark Twain’s quote bother me…
Do something to impact another person’s life positively 🙂
I liked the part about making use of the services of known referrals..Word of mouth (wom) works wonders.
Word of mouth works amazing wonders o! I know the how many times I’ve recommended Pink Velvet Passions (with their signature red velvet cakes) and the repeat orders being made. Your customer base no longer grows geometrically but exponentially 😀
I have said this before, the future of business is local.
I see a lot of possibilities in your proposal and I am quick to alert you to the possibility of services who will like to buy in even before personal testimony is gotten…do you have plans for/against this category of businesses?
I do have plans but I need to structure it all and lay it out end to end. It’s a big project. If I can pull it off I won’t just have a database of locally trusted product/service providers, but also a referral system that could grow exponentially. Facebook has tried to do this but with their marketplace concept but people see Facebook as a place for connecting with high school friends and viewing pictures.
What I’m putting together is a directory but unlike the Yellow Pages I’m not just listing random businesses. The businesses I list will be in some way connected to your network of friends you trust and also have reviews. A site will come later. Target is to get a mix of 100 small businesses across every sector from tailoring to confectionery to gen servicing – services people need everyday. Are you coming on board?