Last week, a competitor called. Okay, maybe they didn't see it that way, but they sold sandbags and they weren't Snake Sandbags™, so I viewed them as competition. The gentleman asked if a specific model number was part of our product lineup and I immediately knew it's not anything we provide. Rather than end the call right then, without hesitation, I asked him to give more information about what he is looking for. He gave me some info, I took his contact details, and told him I'd get back to him. I think he was a bit surprised. When first starting Snake Sandbags™, we performed much market analysis and even competitive analysis (and that gentleman's company was part of that analysis) and if there was anything in our research that could help him out, why not share it.
The call, happened during a conversation I was having with someone who is not affiliated with Snake Sandbags™. I felt rude that our talk was interrupted and wanted to explain that I took that call for so long so I can help someone out; even if it's a competitor. She mentioned she would take the same approach. I was humbled and honored to be in her company. I know many others see business a cut-throat, grab all the market share you can get even if you steal it from your competitors. Snake Sandbags™ came out of a situation to help someone stop flooding issues in their garage every time a big storm hit. We wanted to come up with a solution because we saw the impact on not only the physical damage, but the emotional one as well. It was never let's create this company that specializes in sandbags; there's a huge market for it. It was about let's make something that helped someone and out of that we realized we should make it available to those who can benefit from its use.
I do feel the universe (or whatever you believe in) provides an abundance of opportunities and selling sandbags is not a zero sum game. I also believe this applies to many other industries. I refer to a Trevor Blake-ism to sum up how to go about it: "Make a positive difference in someone's life, have fun doing it, and share in the material rewards that come naturally as a result". Snake Sandbags™ may not be a solution for everyone, but I know we can do whatever we can to help others when needed. This call was a nice reminder why we got into this business.
Anyway, back to the call. I responded to the gentlemen with some information, but haven't heard back from him. It may have been the case that he was doing his own competitive analysis. In between all this time, maybe I was looking at his organization in the wrong way. Maybe he's not a competitor, but a possible seller of Snake Sandbags™.
Okay, gotta go make a call....