In Praise of Smallness

When I was a young woman, I had a side business where I made clothes and accessories by hand. I paid $300 a month for an 8×12 room, and my workspace was a plywood board that had a former life a modular shelf whose shelving unit was no longer with us. At the time, I longed for more space. I would dream of a time when I’d have a sewing machine and a drafting table and seating options that I could spread out on, where I could really look at my projects, or make large fabric cuts without crawling around on the floor.

Now I have an entire room dedicated to work and making things and wouldn’t you know it, the workspace I use most is a plywood board I rescued from an old modular shelf. I have a drafting table, a sewing machine, two desks and multiple other surfaces and areas for working, but nothing is as portable, position-able or changeable as my friend the plywood board. Why would I get paint all over the desk when I have this plywood board nobody cares about? Why would I do all the work of maneuvering myself around the massive bulk of the drafting table when I can move the board wherever I need it with a flick of my wrist? Working from bed or the couch is as easy as pulling the board out from behind the dresser. And, clean up is a dream when your workspace weights less than a pound.

In relational marketing, as in the world of workspace optimization, nothing beats maneuverability. Being able to respond quickly and accurately to the needs of your community is more useful than being able to weather the storm of dissatisfaction that will come with not being responsive.

Lengthy approval processes and lax attitudes towards searches and replies will lead your online community open for someone else who is responsive, and who knows their issues to offer a better, more enjoyable experience. Community care is the preventative medicine of online marketing. It’s much more difficult to get a new community member than it is to keep a current community member happy.

Remember the humble plywood board, be portable and flexible for your community, and they will take you with them everywhere, even when there are other options that might have a larger footprint, but who are less willing to accommodate their variable needs.