This might date me… but I remember well the commercials for a popular “priceless” credit card. They went something like this –
Transportation to and from San Diego, CA in January – Free
Luxury hotel in the Gaslamp District – Free
VIP treatment by staff and members of the American Farm Bureau Federation – Free
Exposure and credibility from participating in a national entrepreneurship contest – Priceless!
Golden Bridges was founded two years ago when three good friends were looking for a way to make a difference in our community and chose Senior Move Management. The concept is not new. In fact, it is an industry that has thrived in urban communities for more than fifteen years. As rural entrepreneurs, we are bringing this concept to farmers in our service area.
The experience of participating in the Rural Entrepreneur Initiative Challenge sponsored by Georgetown University and the American Farm Bureau Federation has afforded us many opportunities to talk about our business, our industry, and how we can help solve the difficulties that so many aging farmers are facing of how to move “off the farm”. And, in the process, we gained valuable insights about our small business from the judges’ comments and suggestions along the way.
During our live pitch and Q&A in San Diego we were stumped by one of the judges who asked us about our cost per customer. Not the boxes and the tape and the mileage expenditures… but how much has it cost us in advertising and manpower to make that client pick up the phone. What an “aha” moment – and a business metric we are now investigating and tracking as a result.
And, of course, the obvious benefit from being named a national finalist in the competition was the check for $15,000 that we received in San Diego. Having used our personal vehicles for the past two years has taken a toll, and with our winnings we are purchasing a company vehicle that will stand up to country roads and will be wrapped with our logo and contact information. And, yes – we have already recorded the cost of that wrap as marketing overhead to be included in our “cost per customer”.
Exposure for Golden Bridges as a national finalist. Before we left Illinois, while we were in San Diego, and since we returned home we have been interviewed by the media, honored by local Farm Bureau offices, and recognized by potential clients as being “those golden girls who went to California”.
Credibility from participating in a national contest. While there we had the opportunity to learn more about entrepreneurship and pitching our product from the contest judges, compare notes and experiences with our fellow contestants, and to participate in a Town Hall with Farm Bureau President Bob Stallman and US Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack.
In our book, that adds up to a priceless opportunity. One which we highly recommend to other rural entrepreneurs!