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What has a gorilla got to do with running a business? I’ll tell you a story.
I was about eight and my parents had organised things for sale from a house and garage clear out. They had left me in charge of all the bits to sell.
The garage was filled with all sorts of stuff and the garage door left open, with me sitting there waiting for customers.
I’m not sure whether this was a task to keep me busy and out of mischief, or whether my parents were preparing me for something bigger, but I learnt the simplest and most important marketing lessons on that day.
To enter the garage, you had to come through a shared driveway. You could see the garage from the street, but you had to cross the threshold and effectively enter someone else’s property.
I sat for some moments before I realised what was happening.
People were passing by but no one had a clue that we were having a garage sale. I made a sign, and put it at the gates to our driveway. The trouble was, it only faced one way so I made another sign to face the other way.
I got several browsers, brave enough to come down the driveway, but no sales.
And finally someone came in and bought this small plastic gorilla.
The gorilla (I don’t think he had a name) was my Fathers. It was a prop for his stop animation horror film that had won awards.
I’d made a sale though because someone had to told the boy that we were having a garage sale, that we had some really strange, cool stuff in there and that he should come and have a look. He explained this to me and the conversation has always stuck.
This early experience has made the pursuit of word of mouth marketing and adequate signage to become visible, just one of my top tips.
I said goodbye to my Father in 2013 and I do regret selling that prop, but it gives me some comfort knowing that I have in my possession that award winning horror film on 8mm. I just need the right person to digitise it for me and discover the true character of the gorilla in his film.
Image Credit – Joshua Cotten on Unsplash

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