In this month’s INC Magazine an interesting story on a risk an entrepreneur took which should remind more small businesses of an importance principle – Unlike President Obama or the eventual Republican nominee, you don’t need 51% of the market – attracting some customers (even if you turn some off) is ok and a big victory. Taking chances is part of being an entrepreneur – and winning some market share is important. The article can be referenced here.
Of course, a larger company couldn’t take these actions – but this company which now has just over $3 Million in revenue could never have gotten this sort of attention by playing by the rules. A small Minnesota real estate company, Renters Warehouse hired controversial Glenn Beck as their spokesperson – after they did research finding 70 percent of their customers were “white, male, conservative Republicans between the ages of 34 and 55.” And as the CEO of this company, Brenton Hayden stated “You either hate Glenn or you love him. And the people who love him are fiercely loyal to him, and believe he doesn’t just stamp his name on anything. We’d call prospective clients to give them our sales pitch, and they’d stop us and say, “Wait, you don’t need to sell to me. If Glenn Beck endorses you, I’m ready to do business with you.”
As the article does goes on to state “I’ve gotten hate mail. Someone threatened to kill me. People have told me I should be ashamed of myself. “Glenn Beck is crazy, and I just wanted to let you know, I was going to do business with you, and now I’m not.” And if it was me, that’s ok and I’d realize at that stage of his company development he won’t get all tenants anyway – he’s playing well to his base, and will win some and lose some.
I’d also say he did the right thing now by choosing as his next endorser someone who is a “totally different kind of celebrity”, a real estate celebrity.
Entrepreneurs who can handle heat and some controversy can often benefit and grow – even at the cost of alienating some – they gain many and can grow a very successful business that has initially started out as selling a small number of products using an invoice template to do so. For my business, as an entrepreneur owning 1 of the 25 largest PR firms in the U.S. we continue to take changes and I don’t need 51% of the world Public Relations market – give me 10% of it and we will be a huge amazing eminently successful PR Agency, and we don’t need to be all things for all people.