Build and will they come? Maybe yes

by Ashvini on May 7, 2012 · 6 comments

in Entrepreneurship

An important axiom in marketing is one that tells business to adopt counter strategy that runs counter to  “Build and they will come”. Maybe marketing consultants are trying to sell the theory by attacking a fundamental point of business which is “Good content” or “Great product”. According to them, great product in itself is not a guarantee of success. I agree but only partly.

Most mom and pop stores often rarely advertise. They have less budget on advertising.There is a sweets shop in my hometown. The shop owner never advertised his shop. Instead he purchased a shop and started creating great tasting sweets. One day someone hungry passed by and purchased sweets from his shop. The sweets tingled his senses. He liked the shop owner’s cheerful friendly manner too. Soon they became good friends. They shared good word about their families and topics of interest. He started frequenting the shop. Soon he also started buying sweets to the family. A few years later , whole city knew about the quality of his sweets. In fact sweets and his shop name almost became synonymous. His business is now almost a million $ business, having more than one outlets in city.

This is all done without spending a single dollar( or Rupee) on advertising. How do I know? Well I grow up eating those sweets and never ever saw an ad, just only a name board on the top of the shop.

This is not the only story. A lot of corporate grocery stores mushroomed in top Indian cities. Many feared the decline of mom and pop stores. However, the mom and pop stores did not go down as expected, even in the face of marketing onslaught from bigger stores. They were obviously doing something right.

How did sweets shop owner became so big?

Here is my take

  1. Great tasting, unique  product. A single product probably sells 80% of total.
  2. Lesser concentration on commodity items. Sure , he kept a few commodity items but they were not mainstay of business. Only popular items were stocked leading to lower cost and higher turnover.
  3. Excellent relationship with his customers.
  4. Treating every customer as individual human being. In corporate parlance , excellent “account management”
  5. Low costs, long term play. The shop was not located in swanky malls but on the side street.
  6. Infinite patience.
  7. Low marketing and more word of mouth relationship building.

I am not against spending on marketing and advertising but against doing it excessively. An entrepreneur needs to be conscious of the fact that money saved on lesser ad spend can be used for other purposes. It is for him or her to exercise the right balance.

About The Author


Jonathan May 10, 2012 at 3:04 am

Hey Ashvini!!!

I’m at a point right now where I’m trying to figure out how to bring people to my site. But, most importantly create a community of people who I can trust and who trust me. It’s coming to a point where if I build something, I wonder if they’ll ever come? But it’s okay. Consistency, first. Also, I think your 5 and 6 points really resonate with me. Patience and Long-Term. God, I need to take those two concepts in…

Jeevanjacobjohn May 8, 2012 at 10:19 pm

Hey Ashvini,

Awesome post. I can relate back to your story. Many small shops, out in the street, serve delicious (and maybe even far more healthy) food to their customers, especially in India. They sell based on value/content, and nothing more. It just shows how powerful value and simple networking/relationship building can be, in business (These days, more businesses are realizing that truth and acting upon it).


Ashvini Kumar Saxena May 9, 2012 at 2:27 pm

Hey Jeevan,

I am really glad that you liked my posts :). I am happy to see you here. I think a few Indian businesses have a lot of great things to teach. It also tells us that to be profitable you don’t need to be big. Just follow the right approach and one can make a great business .

Thanks for your comments.

Jeevanjacobjohn May 9, 2012 at 7:52 pm

You are right about that, Ashvini. I have read of a hotel in South India (I am from the South) in which the owner lets his customers become the cashier (the customers know that the owner trusts them to be honest with the money and hence many of this new customers pay him more than he asks them to pay).

I think this is a great model to follow (but we still have to be on lookout for dishonest guys – there are people who might take advantage of this).

Lori Gosselin May 8, 2012 at 8:11 pm

Hi Ashvini,
I agree with you. These people put their heart into running the business and that’s what pays off. Advertising doesn’t replace that investment of energy and time.

Ashvini Kumar Saxena May 9, 2012 at 2:24 pm

Hi Lori,
Right :). Spending too much on advertising while the other parts of business suffer from the lack of money is not a great strategy. It might work in short term but then great businesses stay for long term.

Thanks for your comments :)

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