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Newsletter #859: The “Be Available” Issue

[Welcome back to the Damn, I Wish I’d Thought of That! newsletter. This is text of the great issue all of our email subscribers just received. Sign yourself up using the handy form on the right.]

It’s simple. If people can’t find you, it’s hard to spend money with you. For all the businesses looking to be a little more accessible to the world, here are a few ideas on how to do it:

1. For your community
2. For your customers
3. For your prospects
4. Check it out: Can I Stream It?

1. For your community

Every company should make an effort to be there for their community (online or off), but for some businesses it’s critical. Local newspapers, for example, depend on their communities for story leads, information, and support. That’s a big reason behind the Winnipeg Free Press’ branded cafe. Through it, the public has direct dialog with the newspaper staff and can pick up some coffee and locally-sourced organic dishes while doing it.

The lesson: Earning the trust and respect of your community takes a lot of interactions — but it pays off with amazing support you can use in good times and bad.

Learn more: Winnipeg Free Press

2. For your customers

Making it easier for customers to find you and buy your stuff means more success. This is typically more natural for an online business, but offline companies can do it as well (without staffing for 24 hours). French baker Jean-Louis Hecht got so tired of people disturbing him wanting to buy bread after hours, he installed an oven that can dispense fresh baguettes at any time. In the first month he had it installed, he sold more than 1,500 of them! Sure, it took an investment in equipment, but the idea proves that if you sell something great, you should explore any way possible to be more available for your eager customers.

The lesson: Don’t give up in the face of obstacles like your location or your hours of operation when they’re making it hard to get your stuff to more people.

Learn more: Springwise

3. For your prospects

When customers are comparing who to buy from, a big factor can be how easy it is to reach you. This is especially true in the legal field, and Chicago’s Levenfeld Pearlstein law office goes all out to make their attorneys easy to contact. On their website they have a complete list of their staff with links to their LinkedIn profiles, their email addresses, their direct phone numbers, downloadable PDF profiles, video interviews of them, and downloadable vCards. All of those options combined might seem like overkill, but it sends a clear message to anyone looking for an attorney that they want you to reach out to them.

The lesson: If you’re making it hard for potential customers to reach you, that’s not giving them a lot of confidence for what being an actual customer would be like.

Learn more: Levenfeld Pearlstein

4. Check it out: Can I Stream It?

Speaking of availability, have you seen Can I Stream It? It’s a handy site you can use to find out if a movie you’re hoping to see is available for streaming on Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon. And if it isn’t, you can sign up to be notified when it is.

Check it out: CanIStream.It

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