Life and Business Lessons From The Farm
Recently I had a skunk move into my garage so I read up on how to dispose of a skunk and was informed that one approach was to play loud music and the skunk will go on its own. After about a week of very loud music in my garage, I thought the skunk was gone, after all how much Hard Rock could anything, anyone take?. Only to find out it had just hung out and apparently become a huge fan of the movement.
I went out to my garage, opened the door and found the skunk by hitting it with the door and yes, I got sprayed. I had to get this skunk and that was that. My only thought was to get a trap, shooting up the garage might not be OK. I was able to borrow three from a local source. (thanks to Bob) I promptly set up the traps in and around the garage. I have to get rid of that skunk. there was no plan B. It was the only plan, I had now written the contract, now all I had to do was seal the deal and get the skunk in the trap. I really didn’t have a plan, agenda or thought other than that. I just wanted the skunk as it was now very personal. That very night I got the skunk, he signed the contract by walking right into the trap lie the true schmuck that he was!
Immediately a problem arose. The problem is that I now have a LIVE skunk trapped in my garage. I have no plan what to do next and my garage and the surrounding one-mile circle around it smelled like being underwater in skunk water, you could not escape it. Now I have several unique obstacles to overcome. I have a rental car as my new car was on order, so that makes getting rid of a skunk by driving it away a distant thought. I have no way of shipping the skunk to Happy Skunk Camp. The second problem is my kids now think it is cute and we could train it not to spray because it loved us!. Schmuck was a little juvenile and even I was numb to the odor or it had shut off my brain, because I too, was beginning to think it was cute!
Many times an online sale business doesn’t have a clear plan, they don’t know the cost of shipping or which shipping method is available for certain products or you don’t have the proper shipping material to move the product out of the garage. We could at this point invest a little and make the product better, Like an attempt at having a trained skunk – scent-free! Many times products are not really ready to sell when the sale is actually made. Making any further investment in the product after the sale can be pricey and not covered in the original sale price. Be ready to sell the product with all of this figured out upfront because afterward, you have a signed contract. I am not ready to invest in the skunk training plan. I look at the skunk thinking there must be away. It turns, raises his tail and sprays me again. The cost to improve on this skunk is much too high of a price.
Now, back to my garage – I can not find another company to come to get the skunk. Just like handing off bad smelly customers is not easy and no other company wants a smelly, pissed off customer that I just had to have a contract with! This is my skunk/schmuck and I have to deal with it and I hope it ends well. Because if the smelly creature goes off and tells all its friends or worst case, I get sued or jailed for animal cruelty.
These problems are common with many of my clients when all they really want to do is get someone to come to their website and make a purchase aka, sign the contract. Yes, sometimes they really do not have a shipping plan, payment plan or product actually ready to sell at a profit. They have not planned for the unhappy customer or return policy. I don’t even want to ever have this skunk returned! The capture of the client, the sale of the product should be the final piece of business.
Still, many don’t have the resource to execute the big sale, they don’t have enough employees to put the roof on the house you just contracted, you may not have an ability to get the proper supplies to make the product or close the deal, You may be out of inventory with the supplier unable to get more. The bottom line is that you better have a clear plan in place, beginning to end, before you catch a live skunk. Sometimes getting the customer and make the sale can be a stinky business without a good plan.
I did finally get rid of the skunk. I put a tarp over the top of the trap and rolled it up like a Tootsie Roll. I drove about 10 miles away from my home to a remote logging road, in a borrowed truck. It was not until that moment that I realized I had not really observed or even paid attention to how to open the trap. How many problems will I have to solve before this is over? So this took some more time. The time that I knew I would be lucky to get out of without once again getting sprayed. I did manage to do it by not exposing too much of the cage, yet able to see the latch and figure out how to open it.
In the end, the skunk ran out and began to run, going straight toward the truck as if he wanted a ride back and do it all again! I outran the schmuck and was faster than him or he got distracted along the way. I quickly drove away, mentally logging the many problems that just didn’t need to happen. As for the skunk? He has not been a return customer which is just not all that bad of a thing.