For those of you not familiar with the story, it centers around a stuffed bear in a department store. A little girl, Lisa, sees him on the shelf and wants him but her mother says no because he’s missing a button. He then goes on a search to find his lost button, without any luck. Lisa ultimately returns with her own money and buys Corduroy and takes him home. The end. It’s a pretty simple tale, but there’s a lot of hidden wisdom in there. Let’s unpack the story some more…
1. Appearances Matter
Poor Corduroy is sitting on the shelf in the toy department hoping that someone will take him home, but little does he know, he looks rather shabby. Presumably, other people have already passed him by because he doesn’t meet their expectations for a nice new stuffed animal. It’s not until Lisa’s mother points out that he “doesn’t even look new” that he knows something is amiss with his appearance. Of course, the other animals on the shelf could have told him that he was missing a button, but why would they when they’re all competing to be taken home by a nice family?
It’s much the same way in business! Whether you have a local store or an ecommerce site, appearances matter. This is why it’s so important to have a professional looking logo and brand kit that you can use for your social media profiles and offline marketing as well. Your website should look professional and tastefully put together regardless of whether or not you’re using it to sell your products/services online. All of the marketing and visual representation of your brand across various channels should be in line to make your company appear as professional as possible.
2. Timing is Everything
Initially, when Lisa sees Corduroy, her mother has clearly just finished a long day of shopping, which is why she’s carrying shopping bags and remarks “Not today, I’ve spent enough already.” She’s probably already bought Lisa a number of things, which is why the child’s request for a teddy bear is shrugged off. Had Lisa seen Corduroy earlier in the day, her mother would likely have been more keen on the idea of buying the bear. But instead of getting upset and throwing a temper tantrum in the department store, Lisa behaves and waits until she gets home to discuss it with her mother.
Entrepreneurs know that there’s a season for everything and while it may never seem like the perfect time to pursue your big idea, you can find times when opportunities just seem to open up and seize them to move forward. Similarly, there will be times when it’s just not in the cards to pursue a new business venture or expand your existing one. You need to be willing to be patient and wait for the right time to make your move.
3. Persistence Delivers Results
When Lisa is able to return the next day with her own money to buy Corduroy, she references a conversation that she’s had with her mother where she was given the go ahead to buy him on her own. Presumably, the little girl went home and begged her mother for the toy, like children do. Lisa’s refusal to take no for an answer is basically the entrepreneur’s mainstay.
As an entrepreneur, you’re going to be told no a lot – when looking for business partners, pitching to investors, negotiating with supplier, and even trying to make the sale with consumers. But if you just hang your head and accept that rejection, you’re never going to get anywhere. Instead, you have to be willing to fight for what you want and then go get it when you have the chance!
4. Defining Your Goals is a Must
Throughout the story Corduroy wonders whether he has wanted to do many different things (like when he says “I think I’ve always wanted to climb a mountain”) and then at the end he finally realizes what he wants when he says sweetly “I know I’ve always wanted a friend.” His shifting goals seem to result in him needing to wait longer for the happy ending that he ultimately gets.
In much the same way, short-term business goals can shift somewhat, but you need to go into each venture with a clear picture of what you want for the long run. Without an idea of where you want to go, you won’t know how to do what it takes to get there. So before you embark on your next big thing, take a moment to sit down and really plan out what success will look like, how you’ll measure it, and when you hope to get there.
Kate Pierce is the owner of LionShark Digital Marketing LLC, a West Michigan internet marketing company. Her areas of expertise include Paid Search, Search Engine Optimization, Business Blogging and Web Copywriting. She lives in the Grand Rapids area with her husband and son and enjoys cooking, watching sports, and spending time together as a family. Like a true digital marketing expert (i.e. geek), she loves talking about current marketing trends… so don’t say you weren’t warned!