Let's Drink to Success
Perhaps this title grabbed your attention? Business is done through building relationships that we build through personal connections. These connections happen when being involved in our community and in our industry. They are created by being engaged with others. Relationships can be built while drinking the beverage of your choice.
The inspiration for this commentary surprisingly came from a thought-provoking essay that addresses the importance of community on a beverage cup. There is truth on that cup! I’m going to share that with you and cover three quick points that support the concept of community and drinking to success.
1. Drink Cup Wisdom: The Chipotle Author Series
The following (somewhat in-depth) observation is imprinted on a drink cup from Chipotle, a chain of casual restaurants, as part of a series of cups with a message:
"The Two-Minute Cheer For the Home Team" by Barbara Kingsolver
The ancient human social construct that once was common in this land was called community. We lived among our villagers, depending on them for what we needed. If we had a problem, we did not discuss it over the phone with someone in Mumbai. We went to a neighbor. We acquired food from farmers. We listened to music in groups, in churches or on front porches. We danced. We participated. Even when there was no money in it. Community is our native state. You play hardest for the hometown crowd. You become your best self. You know joy. This is not a guess, there is evidence. The scholars who study social well-being can put it on charts and graphs. In the last 30 years, our material wealth has increased in this country, but our self-described happiness has steadily declined. Elsewhere, the people who consider themselves very happy are not in the very poorest nations, as you might guess, nor in the very richest. The winners are Mexico, Ireland, Puerto Rico—the kinds of places we identify with extended family, noisy villages, a lot of dancing. The happiest people are the ones with the most community.
This is a pretty deep piece to put on a restaurant’s drink cup. Obviously, this concept means something to Chipotle and it is committed to sharing it with its larger audience. The content here is also based on the value of community. Community directly drives business success. Whether it’s our local or national business community, companies of all sizes and in all industries need to be connected to others to do business.
The importance of being active and engaged in community is beneficial to understand. While my business has changed through the years—now having a more national focus—I still embrace the important principle of community at all levels of my life and business.
Our screen printing and promotional products business has published a popular content-driven e-newsletter that was the precursor to the current PPAI-award-winning FreePromoTips.com program. One component that has been very effective is promoting local nonprofit events. This gives local groups and nonprofit organizations exposure, while allowing us as a small business to build on our commitment to those efforts. In turn, we were able to enhance relationships with key people in town who tend to be business owners and leaders in the community. I would encourage any business to see how it can help groups in its own community. Being involved is good for business.
2. Circle Coffee
My 19-year-old son, Ryan, is pretty smart. I’m going to be a proud dad and say I like to think he gets his entrepreneurial spirit from me.
Ryan passed the classic youth lemonade stand business venture and has gone directly to another beverage—coffee. Not just any coffee—coffee that is roasted properly and is brewed properly. While this may come as a surprise to some, the Starbucks coffee that we have come to accept does not fall into this category.
I’ve covered Starbucks in commentaries in the past, like this one on the $75 coffee mug. There is no question—they have built an amazing company. The business, however, seems to be built more by brilliant marketing strategies and brand imaging than having a great product.
Truly great coffee comes from boutique roasters most have never heard of, like Stumptown, Slate and Heart. Coffee done right from a good roaster is awesome! These companies all have a focus on social responsibility with values that are embedded in their brands and reflected in the quality of the products.
This brings me to what I think may be perhaps the next great coffee brand: Circle Coffee. Well-roasted, quality coffee beans with a focus on these three things—coffee, community and cause. Circle revolves around coffee, being active and engaged in the community, with a focus on cause. This business is passionate about supporting worthy causes.
Any business can be a good corporate citizen and make a positive difference. That is a key component of a good business. My son, Ryan, understands this and it’s the foundation for his company, Circle Coffee. We can learn from those who have a fresh perspective.
3. Drink Up!
In a recent video interview with David Shultz, a stud athlete from Distributor Central, he mentioned how many business gatherings and social events with clients revolve around eating and drinking. David likes the idea of adding to these events by doing something active, recently taking clients out paddleboarding at a trade show. This creates a more intimate relationship-building opportunity that is good for business.
At the 2015 PPAI Expo, we did a SuccessFit fun run/walk that raised money and awareness for the Promotional Products Education Foundation (PPEF). SuccessFit has been done at other regional association events. This is the one component of a new health and wellness program we are launching for the consumer and corporate market.
We are working on SuccessFit at the 2016 expo and other events, including National Business Media trade shows. There is an opportunity for our industry to do this—or something similar—to raise awareness for the products we sell, while doing something positive in our community. This could tie in nicely with Promotional Products Work Week in 2016. For more information and to learn more about SuccessFit 4 Life!, feel free to contact me directly.
You can have coffee in your community, or do something different before hitting dinner and drinks. You can be active and engaged both locally and nationally. There are ways we can enhance relationships and make a difference. Making a difference is good for business. As we are able to do that, we’ll all be able to drink the beverage of our choice to our success!
Jeff Solomon, MAS, is affiliated with a Top 10 distributor company, and also publishes FreePromoTips.com, a popular industry resource. The PPAI-award-winning FreePromoTips.com website and twice-a-month e-newsletters are packed with beneficial information. You can opt in to receive these informative, twice-a-month e-newsletters here. Check out what’s new in the GP2: Good Products-Good Prices section of the site. Take advantage of free end-user-safe product videos you can share from the YourPromotionSolution.com website. You can stay connected to FreePromoTips on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or me personally on LinkedIn, my personal Twitter account and my Instagram account. Follow my occasional live broadcasts on Periscope: @JeffSolomonMAS