Add engines or finesse the wings?

Seth Godin is a remarkable entrepreneur and a prolific and intriguing blogger.

I just read his post called Add engines until airborne, by which he means add more power, more advertising, more cost, more horsepower until you get your business to where you want it to go.

But his message concludes that finessing the wings might be a better approach. “Wings are elegant, not brutal,” he says. “Wings work with the surrounding environment, not against it.”

I am in the midst of a marketing campaign, and I believe I am finessing the wings of my business to work with the surrounding environment.

I am counting on the wings of my business to catch the up-draft and warm thermals of my satisfied clients.

I am dropping messages–brochures, letters, emails, and friendly phone calls–on loyal clients with whom I have lost touch.

I am seeking their advice, their input, and their business.

Their memories will rise up and recall the powerful experiences they had working with me.

Like the time my client and I put together a talk that went viral. He flew around the world to deliver it hundreds of times. It boosted his career and made him highly visible inside his company.

Or like the quiet accountant who was invited to give a commencement address at his alma mater. He wrote a good speech, but struggled to bring it to life. For over a month he worked with me to bring out his humor and passion, and the result was a resounding success.

Each one of these guys had strengths they could use, and blind spots where they needed help. I get credit for helping out with the blind spots.

Not to be corny, but satisfied clients can be the wind beneath my wings.

I’m a small business. I grow by word of mouth. I need to get handed around like a good CD, or a new restaurant that just opened up in town.

I don’t have the marketing muscle for jet engines. Don’t have the cash.

All I have to lift my plane is a continuous warm thermal flowing over my wings rising from the memories of satisfied clients.

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