The Social Business

Category: Marketing (page 1 of 5)

Car hire companies: I’m not a cyclist – I’m your regular customer

We’ve not owned a car for around seven years now.  But that’s not to say I never drive – on average we hire a car around once a month.  Sometimes for weekends, often for holidays, and on the odd occasion for work.

It works well for us.  Neither of us routinely needs a car for work – and our journeys to work are pretty easily made on the bike or on the bus.  My son, whose seven years at school have coincided with those seven car free years, walks the 30 minute journey to school.

But a car is there when we need it.  Both for longer hires from car hire firms like Avis and Enterprise, and for shorter rentals, from our local car club – now owned by Enterprise too.

There’s lots that I like about organising how we get around in this way.  I like the fact that, by and large, we choose the most appropriate mode of transport for each journey.  So when walking makes most sense, we walk.  When cycling fits the bill, we get the bikes out.  Heading into town as a family?  The bus, usually.  Longer weekend journeys?  The train when it makes most sense (practically and financially) – and if not, a hire car.  A small, cheap car if it’s just us, and a bigger car or van if we need the extra room for bikes, Christmas presents or camping gear.

Compare that with what tends to happen when you own a car.  It’s sat there on the drive, waiting to be driven (some studies suggest they spend up to 95% of their life doing nothing).  So when you need to go somewhere, the car is the obvious choice.  It appears convenient, and it appears cheap.  £4.30 return for a 2 mile bus journey – or perhaps a notional 20p in fuel to drive?  It’s obvious what choice most people will make – even if the true cost per mile is much higher.

I would say that is one of the main problems with our current ownership model for cars.  Individual ownership makes traveling in a car the default choice for most journeys many of us make in cities – when, for some of those journeys at least, another mode of transport would be better all ways round.

So I’m hopeful that over time we’ll move away from individual ownership of cars – and move more towards a model where we “buy mobility”.  This is the emerging Mobility As A Service model where, easily organised via your phone, it’s easy to jump on the bus, book a taxi, pick up a dockless bike, hire a car for an hour, buy a train ticket – whichever mode of transport makes most sense for that particular journey.  In a small, low-tech, much-more-difficult-than-it-needs-to-be way, that’s what we currently do as a family.  And on balance, I love it.

But today I’m focusing on cars – prompted by a tweet from car hire company Sixt.

I’m not pretending I was “offended” or anything like that.  I just thought it was a poor piece of marketing.  In large part, because of what I’ve outlined above.

I am 100% their target customer.  I don’t own a car and spend over a grand a year on car hire.  And, in their eyes, I’m a “cyclist” – the customer group they’ve clumsily targeted.

But that’s where they’re wrong.  I am not a cyclist.  I am someone who wants to get from A to B, and I choose the most appropriate way to do that.  I mainly cycle precisely because for the majority of my journeys, (peak time commutes in Leeds)  it’s the quickest option.  I want to go faster.   Effortlessly gliding past queues of stationery cars and getting to work on time is the ultimate performance boost.

Yet I do need a car from time to time, and whilst I’m very happy with a lot of the service I get from the hire companies I routinely use (in particular the consistently excellent staff at Avis in Leeds),  it fascinates me that they don’t better serve the regular, “multimodal” hirer.  This clumsy piece of marketing points to a wider inability to make the most of a growing customer group.

For example, I have lost count of the number of times I’ve turned up a car hire places, on my bike, and asked where the bike parking is.   I find it bizarre that they seem surprised that someone, who, by definition, is in need of a car at that precise moment, may have turned up by another mode of transport.

If they thought it through properly, there’d be all sorts of other opportunities too.  More electric and hybrid cars are an obvious thing to think about.  Reviewing the classification of cars – and giving people the option of not having a diesel car (it’s still often sold to you as a premium vehicle – because of better fuel economy) could be good too.  As would not always assuming that an upgrade (to a bigger, more expensive to run car) is what the customer wants.  A bigger car is sometimes handy, but I’m buying mobility, not a mobile status symbol.  And don’t get me started on the hard-sell of Collision Damage Waiver insurance….

I care about this because I can see the enormous potential of easier access to on-demand cars, rather than ownership of them.  Our cities could be transformed if more of us chose the most appropriate mode of transport for our journeys, rather than routinely jumping into the car.  We could also stop wasting so much of our disposable income on an asset that sits idle more than half the time.  And I think there are big business opportunities for the companies that get their heads around this emerging market and serve it well.

Trust me – I’m a sharer

So we’re ten days into our car-free life.

Having said that, we hired a car for about five of those days, with it being half-term.  Good service from Enterprise – picking us up, dropping me off for my 930 meeting on Monday morning.  Why bother owning a car when you can rent one and then be chauffeur driven to your first meeting of the day?

It was interesting to compare renting a car with sorting out our membership of the local car club.  Joining the car club felt very modern and hi-tech – I applied online, then had a three way telephone call with the DVLA and the Club to check that I was who I said I was.  My smart card arrived the next day – and now a couple of cars are there for when I need them, about a 15 minute walk from our house.

Things were a bit different with Enterprise.  First thing to say is that their customer service was excellent – friendly and efficient. But the process leaves a lot to be desired.  Whereas the car club makes you feel like you’re making a sound decision, hiring a car makes you feel like this might not be such a good idea after all.

First of all you search the house for your paper driving licence and two recent utility bills.  And your passport.  Then you fill in all the documentation and they instil fear into you by suggesting that if the car doesn’t come back perfect they’ll take £600 off your credit card.  Unless, of course, you take out our ridiculously over-priced excess-waiver.  Oh, and if your partner wants to drive the car too (who’d have thought of that?) that’ll be an extra £10 a day.  Have a nice trip!

And it’ll be the same next time, find the documents, sign all the disclaimers etc etc.  Now, I understand there need to be some safeguards – I’m sure some shady people hire cars and get up to all sorts.  But maybe the big car hire firms could learn a few lessons from the new entrants to this market – City Car Club, Whipcar, BMW DriveNow and the rest.

Enterprise appear to making the assumption that you can’t trust your customers, whereas our car club seems to trust that most customers are decent people who will do the right thing.  So they rely on us to not leave the car low on fuel, or tell them if there’s a problem with the car.  Some people will abuse the system because some people can’t be trusted.  But they don’t build their system based on the assumption that you can’t trust your customers.  And, I’d like to think, when you make it clear to people that you trust them, they’re less likely to abuse that trust.

Trust is a key issue in what is increasingly called the sharing economy, or collaborative consumption.  And it’s one reason that I’m keen on sharing more and owning less.  I know I need to get better at trusting people – and I think relationships based on trust do us all good.  So if I lend my lawnmower to my neighbour who I don’t know very well, there’s a chance that he might run off and sell it on ebay.  But he probably won’t.  And by lending stuff to eachother we’ll get to know eachother better, and trust eachother more.  And my street will be a nicer place to live in.

So what’s that got to do with Enterprise?   Maybe they need to go beyond offering friendly customer service towards understanding this new breed of customer, and work out ways to trust us a little more.

The thirteenth step could well prove the toughest

I had an interesting day in Derbyshire on Saturday at an event run by the East Midlands School for Social Entrepreneurs and members of the Transition movement.

I was there to make the case for good marketing. My basic argument is that many of us who think that the world – and business – need to be run differently are pretty sceptical (or even hostile) towards marketing. We also think that it can only be done by big brands with loads of cash, who push unwanted products onto an unsuspecting public. My argument is that it doesn’t have to be like that – and that proper marketing – building relationships with people – can come naturally to social businesses if they just think it through.

The premise of the day was to explore whether a next step for some Transition initiatives could be to set up social enterprises. Let me be clear from the start, I have the kind of knowledge of Transition that you get from reading about it in magazine articles – so I don’t pretend to be an expert. But it does seem to make sense that, after following the twelve steps of Transition, some communities may go on to set up social businesses to help to build a different type of economy.

I’ve written a fair bit in the past about what I see as the differences between social activists and social entrepreneurs. I’d say that the majority of people who were there on Saturday were activists – and I’d guess that that’s pretty typical of the Transition movement.

I’m not saying that activism is not important. It’s vital, and there’s clearly some inspiring stuff happening in Transition initiatives around the country. It’s an idea which has clearly captured people’s imagination. But I would argue that making the next step – if that is to be settting up social enterprises – requires a different mindset.

I’m not suggesting that you need to be some kind of socially enterprising Del-Boy, or have an MBA, to set up a social enterprise. Far from it. But making changes to your own lifestyle – and teaming up with others to do the same – is quite different to setting up businesses which need to sustain themselves through the money they make.

I look at my own background for evidence of this. I never thought I’d get involved in business – not even social business – because I thought business was for fat-cat capitalists. I couldn’t understand how anyone who wanted to change the world could also find motivation in making money. Even if that money was ultimately used to do more good.

I was hostile towards business. There was a lot of that hostility – understandably – in Belper on Saturday. But to run a social enterprise I think you have to accept that things aren’t so black and white. That sometimes you have to compromise, or be pragmatic, or take decisions which might not sit totally comfortably with your value base. You might have to do deals with other businesses which traditionally you’ve seen as the enemy. This might mean you fall out with those who believe in the simple rights and wrongs of capitalism.

On a practical level it also involves different skills. And I believe that these skills can be learnt, but it takes time. This is a point relevant to the whole debate about Big Society. Phillip Blond wrote a letter to the Observer on Sunday expressing how he is puzzled by the hostility of people like me towards Big Society. (By the way, I’d be grateful if anyone can point me to the evidence for Blond’s assertion that volunteering has doubled in the last few months.)

One reason I’m sceptical is that I believe that it will take time for communities to develop the skills and build up the experience to run lots of services themselves. I do believe that, in the long term, it’s the right direction to be travelling in. But I have done this work for long enough to know that the road to better services is littered with painful, expensive examples of initiatives which haven’t worked. Because, sometimes, people got it wrong, because they were still learning how to run things themselves. And, I would suggest, the people who need better services most are the ones who may take a bit longer to get organised and get things right. Blond and Cameron will suggest I’m being patronising. I think I’m being realistic.

It may be that the Transition entrepreneurs were busy doing other things on Saturday – like traveling to the course on how to set up your own community supported bakery, run by the inspiring Handmade Bakery in the Transition hotspot of Slaithwaite. Either way, I think it’s worth us reflecting on the differences between what it takes to form a movement for change, and to run a business, so that we can continue to do the former, whilst also doing more of the latter.

Grow it – and they might not come

It's always interesting to confront people with their worst nightmare early on a Saturday morning.  

I ran a marketing workshop on Saturday on behalf of the Soil Association, for a group of Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) projects.  I'm a big fan of the CSA approach – the main idea being that local people share some of the risk with the grower by paying up front, in return for a regular share of the harvest over that year.  I was a member of a CSA at Swillington Farm – and they've also recently set up a CSA arrangement (to rear a pig) with Salvo's –  a local Italian restaurant which you may recently have seen on Gordon Ramsey's F Word.  There are plenty more businesses which have adopted the model – including a Community Supported Bakery which I wrote about here.

The marketing workshop was themed around the title – Grow it – and they might not come.  This in turn was inspired by the Kevin Costner film Field of Dreams – in which rookie farmer Ray Kinsella hears a voice which tells him to build a baseball pitch in his field.  The voice tells him "If you build it, he will come" – and sure enough the ghost of Shoeless Joe Jackson and seven other Chicago White Sox players turn up to play on his field.

As you can imagine people thought Ray was nuts.  People who want to set up CSAs sometimes meet with a similar response.  Getting people to pay up front to buy veg from you – when all that currently exists is a sketch of your planting plan and a seed catalogue – can be a challenge.  That's where an effective marketing plan can help.

A do-able marketing plan for your CSA

View more presentations from robg.

I talk about marketing as building relationships with customers.  This concept sits well with CSAs.  You need to build relationships if people are to trust that you will grow food for them.  I take people through my step-by-step plan – which requires you to think carefully about your business – and in particular your customers – but doesn't require you to have any formal marketing background.  

During the workshop we split into groups and each group creates a plan – using an innovation which, even if I say so myself, I'm very proud of – upcycled wallpaper – used in place of flipchart paper.  £2 spent in Oxfam has to be better than £10 spent in Staples, surely?

Upcycled Wallpaper Flipchart
 

Aside from the eco-benefits (which won me early greenie points with my organic audience), I'm a big believer in thinking sideways along a page, rather than down a page.  There is something about a portrait flipchart which makes you anxious – you get to the bottom of a page and you start losing the will to live – because the stuff at the bottom feels weighed down by what's gone before (and you're now kneeling on the floor, writing like a four year old).  You're also wondering whether to squeeze a few more words on – or start a new page.   Whereas, with a roll of Upcycled Wallpaper  Flipchart TM you can keep on writing – and keep referring back, drawing lines where there are connections, etc etc.

The risk I take with this workshop is that I spend very little time talking about the things that some people expect me to talk about.  Some people want clear guidance – a top ten of the best ways to market your business – that kind of thing.  I don't believe in that stuff.  As my Iced Tea slide suggests, what works in one place doesn't necessarily work in another.  That's why I talk people through what they need to think about – so that they can then make their best judgement about what it's best to do.  That way, you also start thinking about ways to market your business which don't cost a great deal of money.

My four year old son was a bit confused on Saturday morning, given that I was going to work.  He asked me what I was doing.  I told him I was running a workshop.  

"Is it like Santa's workshop?"  he asked.   

"Son", I said, "Today I will give people a gift greater than any that Santa could give.  A do-able marketing plan."  He looked at me a bit confused, and carried on eating his breakfast.    

More of what I want

I've just been out for an hour on my bike.  I have a nice little circular route which I ride regularly, with a few good hills and some nice greenery.  I'm trying to cycle more at the moment for a few reasons.  

One is to get fit and lose weight (having never had to worry about that kind of thing I've noticed the beginnings of middle-age expansion recently).  Another is to be a bit more eco – if I'm fitter I'm more likely to use the car less.  And the final one is that I'm pretty demotivated by a lot of what I do at the moment – so an hour's bike ride tricks my brain into stimulus (and is better than sitting at my desk looking at my Google stats).

There's a farm shop half way round my bike ride, so I often stop there to buy a bit of veg.  They're really friendly and have some tasty veg.  Obviously now is prime time for tasty summer produce:

IMG_0825

(I like the way the woman is staring at me, probably thinking I'm some kind of freak)

I then continue through Fulneck and then down into the centre of Pudsey.  I stopped at the lights and noticed the following:

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I'm in prime position to win £100 for the most debated post of the month in the Bloggers Circle.  That post praised supermarkets for their efforts to reduce plastic bag use.  So, just to show I'm not going soft, here's a post having a go at a supermarket.  The fact that they call their store Local just shows how messed up our food and shopping cultures are.  And no, Sainsburys, your store isn't bulging with all the things I want.  I don't want onions from New Zealand, or green beans from Zambia.  I want cauliflowers from Pudsey please.

The People Versus

I was back in Liverpool at the weekend to watch the Cup Final with the Blue half of my family.  Sadly the Chelsea Blue triumphed over the Everton Blue.  There were a few sore heads on Sunday morning.

Everton – the so-called People's Club – versus Chelsea – the club bankrolled by a Russian billionaire.  The game came a few days after Man United – owned by billionaire Americans – played Barcelona – a club owned by its fans.  

Barcelona's triumph made some wonder whether this was the start of a new world order – both in football and the wider economy.  Here's a letter from saturday's Guardian from Sheffield Hallam University academic Dr Rory Ridley-Duff:

Much as I am saddened by the sporting loss of Manchester United to Barcelona, I am heartened by another victory for co-operative ownership and social enterprise over private sector capitalism.  Will historians record this as a turning point in our economic history?  Will Francis Fukuyama be forced to revise his thesis on the "end of history"?  Barcelona's supporter-owned football club stands as an inspiration to co-operative entrepreneurs and social enterprises around the world

I'd like to believe as much as Rory does in the victory for co-operative values,  but sadly, as is usually case, I think the reality is a bit more complicated.   

Barcelona is owned by its members, and there's a strong democratic structure which elects the club's President.  Their link-up with Unicef is admirable – given that they could make a fortune out of shirt sponsorship.

But Barcelona aren't quite as virtuous as they might seem on the surface.  As David Conn points out here Barcelona (and Real Madrid) dominate in Spain partly because each club sells its TV rights exclusively.  So Barcelona make an absolute fortune, whilst the likes of Getafe will make hardly anything at all.  The Premier League is far from perfect (it was set up partly to stop sharing money with the lower leagues) but at least collective selling of rights means that the TV money is shared a bit more equally between the 20 clubs.  Co-operative values seemed to get forgotten when Barcelona decided how to negotiate TV rights.

Barcelona's choice not to have a shirt sponsor is also, of course, a great piece of marketing.  It allows them to develop the mythology of a club unsullied by corporate greed – whilst it exploits the Barcelona brand with 26 corporate sponsors who pump millions into the club – but who don't get their name on the shirt.   

My point is that I'm as pleased as anyone that Barcelona won on Wednesday, partly because I buy into the mystique of the club and its history as a symbol of Catalan pride – and I do like the fact that they have a different type of ownership.  Yet whilst Barcelona certainly show a better way to run a football club, it's far from perfect.  If we're looking for inspiration, we should perhaps take what we can from Barcelona, but continue to search for better ways to run football clubs.  

The Brand Gap – Book Review

Here's a book review I wrote for the latest Social Enterprise Magazine:  

I recently realised that I was turning into the kind of entrepreneur that I never wanted to be.  I used a word that I didn’t really understand, in order to give the impression that I knew what I was talking about.  That word was branding.


It was a momentary lapse.  It soon became clear that most other people who talked about branding didn’t really know what they were talking about either.  I was relieved, but also determined to put things right.  So I asked a friend, who does know about branding, to recommend a book.  That book was The Brand Gap, by Marty Neumeier.


Said friend clearly knows me well, as you can read The Brand Gap in an afternoon. The gap to which Neumeier refers is that between business strategy and design.  Whilst the book’s primary audience is people in big business – particularly those interested in visual design – there’s a lot in there for any of us who recognise how things can go wrong in the gap between what we plan to do, and what we end up doing.


At the heart of the book is the following definition:  A brand is a person’s gut feeling about a product, service, or company.  It’s not what YOU say it is.  It’s what THEY say it is.


As such, your brand is not something that you control.  You can influence it, and do your best to manage it, but you can’t control it.  That, for those social entrepreneurs who are starting to believe their own hype, may well be a timely reminder.


The book races through a number of ideas and tips to help you to get things right.  Simple ideas, like getting your Board to answer the following three questions:  Who are we?  What do we do?  Why does it matter?  Neumeier believes that if you can come up with compelling answers to those three questions, you’ll be well on the way to developing what he calls a charismatic brand.  In other words, a brand for which people think there is no substitute.  As gaps go, that’s one gap in the market that all of us would like to inhabit.

Deflation and social usefulness

I heard an interesting discussion on the radio the other day about what it might be like to live in a deflationary economy, and what we might do to get out of it.

There's much talk of the so-called Lost Decade in Japan – where deflation caused consumers to defer their purchases – thus feeding the deflationary spiral.  Japanese consumers, apparently, had traditionally been enthusiastic early adopters of new products – and were accustomed to buying a new car every two years, or buying the latest camera, even if the one they had was perfectly fine.

It sounds a bit like Britain in the last ten years.  Rampant consumerism, fed by debt.  How quickly times have changed.  I suppose you always hear what you want to hear, and filter out things that don't fit with your world view, but I've spoken with so many people this year who welcome the end of the turbo-charged economy that we've lived with for the last ten years.  Conspicuous consumption is out – and for many people that's a massive relief. 

Of course, if you're now out of work and money is tight, then an opportunity to consume a few more goods may be welcomed.  But for many of us, it feels like there is now an opportunity to create a different kind of economy, which isn't fuelled by obscure financial instruments and unsustainable consumption of electrical goods.

If, as appears likely, we do enter a period of deflation, how will we get out of it?  The challenge is that in not consuming, people are acting rationally.  Why buy today when I could get it cheaper next week?  But there's also a much more interesting question raised in people's minds.  Why buy at all?  The insecurity we are all feeling is making many of us question whether we really need to buy so many things after all. 

Life in a deflationary economy won't be much fun.  We could do without our version of the Lost Decade.  But there's a big opportunity here too.  If people stop buying all the things they were buying last year, the answer isn't necessarily to increase marketing budgets in order to encourage them to consume those same things.  The answer may be to develop products and services which better fit with the times.  

And what might those products and services be?  In broad terms (and I would say this wouldn't I?) they are products and services which are socially useful.  Maybe products that improve the environment.  Perhaps services which benefit local communities.  Or products which help us to sustain the world we live in rather than destroy it.  Such products and services would get people spending again, and help us create a world worth living in.  

Social enterprise and The Brand Gap

I've just written a review, for next month's Social Enterprise Magazine, of The Brand Gap by Marty Neumeier.

The book revolves around the following definition of a brand:

A brand is person's gut feeling about a product, service, or company.  It's not what YOU say it is.  It's what THEY say it is.

I think that's a great definition.  It reminds us of a few important points, including:
  • People make decisions about products that they like with their heart as well as their head
  • You need to accept that whilst you can influence the development of your brand, you can't control it, unless you've patented a way to control people's hearts and minds
  • What people say about you – word of mouth – isn't just a fluffy add-on – it's crucial to your success  

I was interested to read in this month's Social Enterprise Magazine about the branding of social enterprise (shame I didn't pitch them my review a month earlier).  It's a hot topic as the sector seems to be going through a bit of an identity crisis, which, if you're not feeling too generous, could be summarised as "we all think we're great but no-one else even knows what we do."   

A social enterprise mark was launched a couple of year's ago by RISE in the South West – here it is:

SEM-tiny1

I have to be honest and say it doesn't really do it for me.  The strapline is a bit Eighties – it reminds me of the early fair trade slogans that people like Traidcraft used back then, complete with the cursive font. Trading for people?  What does that mean?  And planet is just a silly word in this context, a word that normal people don't use in their day to day lives.  And what's that halo all about?  Talk about over-promise and under-deliver.  

The article in SE mag also mentioned a scheme in Brighton and Hove which is raising awareness of social enterprises trading in that area.  At first glance I like what they're doing more – they use the term " for more than profit" – which I prefer – and visually it looks more modern and a bit less worthy.  I can't find a link to them – I'll email them and stick one on here when I get it.

I read yesterday that the Social Enterprise Coalition has come out in favour of the RISE social enterprise mark.  They appear to be motivated in particular by the fact that the Government wants an "identifier" for the sector.  The Government has set its Orwellian-sounding Central Office of Information onto the task – so I assume the Coalition is hoping that we can all just quickly get behind the RISE mark – as opposed to disappearing up Whitehall backsides for a couple of years, and emerging with something that no-one likes.  

I hope we can have an honest debate about quality marks and branding.  The "look" of any quality mark is important, but of more importance are the assumptions that we make about what can be achieved with a mark, logo or "brand".  The Fairtrade Mark – which is often cited as inspiration for a Social Enterprise Mark – works partly because there are rigorous standards behind it, and consumers can understand the benefits that it brings.  

That is probably easier to achieve with products than services.  When I buy a chocolate bar, I can understand how paying a fair price for the cocoa and sugar can directly benefit the people who grew the cocoa and sugar.  It's a simple transaction – which usually results in an immediate reward (great taste and a feel-good factor). 

I'm not so sure that it's as easy to communicate the benefits of a variety of services delivered by a whole host of social enterprises – particularly when the main thing that they have in common – a different kind of ownership – doesn't really matter to most people (in my humble opinion).  Of course, what they really have in common (in theory at least) is an absolute commitment to achieving social change by being enterprising.  A mark may well help to get that message across.  But to win people's hearts and minds, and to change all those feelings in guts, you need a stamp of approval from the people you serve as much as one from a regulatory body.     

The Innocent Way

Just back from a talk by Richard Reed, one of the three guys who set up innocent drinks.  

I like innocent, although if I'm honest, not quite as much as I used to.  A couple of years ago you could probably have called me a disciple, such was my loyalty to their brand.  I didn't buy their smoothies so often, but I was a big fan of the way they wrote about themselves.  I've written about it before so won't go on.

I still like them, and it was a good talk.  I like the way they try to do business, their commitment to doing the right thing ethically and environmentally, and the cheeky chat on their bottles.  I like the way they really try hard to live their values – so that they're not just words on a wall.  I was particularly interested this evening to hear how they tried to work out what it would mean to stick to their values whilst making 25 people redundant – as they had to last year.

But I'm aware that I'm not so in love with them as I once was.  There's been the odd label – and the odd newsletter story – that's started to feel a bit formulaic.  I've noticed it with other similar brands too – I love howies clothes, but equally their we'd all rather be surfing chat on their labels is starting to grate.  

Getting your tone of voice right is tough.  I find it easy on the blog, but harder in my newsletter.  Perhaps because the newsletter is  partly about selling – come to this workshop, read this blog post – I find it harder to get the tone right.  It must be so much harder as a business expands.  

The thing I liked the most was his response to the question I'd wanted to ask – how you stay true to your values as you grow.  He reckons that they're more innocent-like than they've ever been – because they now have to work hard at making the values mean something.  When they were small, it just happened.  Now they have to work at it.  Food for thought for all of us who talk about how values matter in a business.  
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