Andy Vaughn

Golden rules


Running your own business is exciting. You get to wake up at noon, take two hour lunch breaks, schedule mountain bike rides in the middle of the day, and chat on Facebook with your friends, before you call it quits around 2:30pm. Yeah right! If there was a way to monetize this strategy, then perhaps this is possible. But otherwise, you need to work intelligently and consistently (usually more than 2 hours) towards providing value to your customers.


Remember the guy who wrote the best book ever, in the desert, alone? Me neither. Marketing is gaining the attention of your customers.

During one Summer while I was in grad school, I started a coaching business for cyclists. I ran classes for juniors, and did one-on-one skill sessions with high-level racers. Every one of my athletes improved. We pulled in more state titles that year than ever before, and the families and friends of the athletes all loved my classes. It was obvious I was providing value to the training of these athletes.

The problem, however, was that outside those that I reached with my thirty orange fliers, no one knew about my business. On group rides, I would mention the classes and coaching sessions, and all I would receive was a shrug. I was not reaching my target group. I was not marketing my product well.


Do you have a credit card company that you hate? Maybe not hate, but trust to screw you? You’re not likely to spend any more than the dollar you have-to with them, and if a lower rate pops up, you are likely to switch.

It is important for your customers to trust you. With trust comes expectation. What do your customers expect of you? If they only expect you to screw them, that is a trust that you don’t want. If they trust you to follow-up with good service when something goes awry, you have acquired an asset in that customer.


How happy does driving your new car to work make you? How happy are you when you get to pop open a nice bottle of wine for that special guest? While happiness is a focus behind many advertising campaigns, it is useful to see how your product plays a role in supplementing that happiness.

A few questions

Are you accessible to your customers? When a problem occurs, can they reach you?

Does your marketing campaign address the happiness customers feel when using your product?

Is your business actually providing value, or just charging for it?

Posted by Andy Vaughn on June 8, 2009

One Comment to “Golden rules”

  1. Good insights here Andy. Regarding happiness, I think one of the most rewarding things about doing business is to see how your product or service plays a role in affecting a customer’s happiness.

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