Friday, September 2, 2016

Learning about Business from the "Old Guys"

Those "Old Guys" have a wealth of information us younger people don't seem to understand or be familiar with. They came from a time of chalkboards and trial & error. Many live their lives and work toward their goals gaining traction even into their senior years. Sometimes striking up a conversation will open the doors to an enthusiastic person who desires to share their success and sorrows.

I had the pleasure of opening a conversation with a 75 year old man with a Bermuda shirt, tennis shoes and khaki dress pants. He stood about five and a half feet tall, bald with just a touch of white hair, and a mustache that has long past its fashion. Partly hunched over his drink he was reading the news off his I phone.

He looked like he should be in an old folks home but was instead running a thriving small business that supported him and his wife as well as put a couple of his grandchildren through school. Who know orthopedic shoes could be so lucrative? As he described and functional for the "old people".

As a place to display his shoes he comes to conferences and provides examples. He has a website, cell phone, and outsources his manufacturing. Most of his sales are online but he sets up tables and travels because people still want to touch and feel the product. Older people will buy online but are used to putting the shoes on their feet to ensure they are getting good value.

It wasn't a huge business but it does carry about 20 different brands and he uses online and offline sales tactics. He doesn't do a lot of other marketing because at his age he want to maintain his business and not necessary grow. Most of his customers are repeat. Mostly he refuses anything non-American in his product. Sometimes you can learn a few things from the "old guys".

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