As I was breaking my two-week-old rule of not working past 9 p.m. (something I can’t even blame on daylight savings time, since the clocks in Arizona don’t move) I ran across a post from Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban on start-ups.
Here’s item number 10 from his list of rules for a start-up:
10. NEVER EVER EVER buy swag. A sure sign of failure for a startup is when someone sends me logo polo shirts. If your people are at shows and in public, its ok to buy for your own folks, but if you really think someone is going to wear your Yobaby.com polo you sent them in public, you are mistaken and have no idea how to spend your money
When I switched from Century 21 to RE/MAX at the beginning of January, I was following in the footsteps of a co-worker who had moved the week prior. I’d give the full litany of Century 21 logo merchandise he owned but I’m not sure I saw it all. Here’s a partial:
- Phone number on back window of car
- License plate rim
- Jacket with both Century 21 logo and his website on the sleeve
- Multiple polo shirts
- Business cards
- Magnet calendars
- An actual Gold Jacket
His first several days were spent re-ordering everything he’d had before, this time with the RE/MAX balloon in place of the Century 21 logo.
Not so with me. I spent about two hours changing logos on all my websites and adjusting as many of the web profiles as I could remember. I ordered new business cards. I decided not to order my own for sale signs, at least for now, and stick with the name riders I already had with Tobey and my picture and the website. I did not buy any open house signs.
TANGENT: Speaking of which we’d like to congratulate this weekend’s big winner, Sarah Cooper, for writing an actual offer for actual buyers at an actual open house in Hurricane, West Virginia. (Sounds like the announcement of who won Powerball, don’t it? Especially the part about it being someone in West Virginia? Lottery odds are better. Please sit open houses responsibly. Thank you, thank you. Try the veal.)
FOOTNOTE TO TANGENT: Universal reaction from agents on Twitter after Sarah had announced what she did … WHAT?!?!?
Where the hell was I … oh yeah. Swag.
Some folks I know went into this business and started spending cash left and right with no discernible return. Fortunately, I’ve never had this luxury. So I’ve been judicious in what I have spent, preferring to focus my dollars on marketing my sellers’ homes.
I realize I’m losing possible business by not wearing a name tag (or even owning one with a balloon on it, for that matter.) I realize I’m not going to receive calls from people driving down the road who get the urge to sell, who aren’t pissed that I just cut them off and who don’t call one of the other eight agents on the same road.
It’s a risk I’m willing to take, at least until I’m convinced the ROI justifies the change.
Mark Cuban agrees with me. So I’ve got that going for me.