Trade Secrets from a Recluse Woodworker (aka My Dad)
According to Gene Quinn, president & founder of IPWatchdog, Inc., the definition of a trade secret follows;
A trade secret is any valuable business information that is not generally known and is subject to reasonable efforts to preserve confidentiality. Generally speaking, a trade secret will be protected from exploitation by those who either obtain access through improper means, those who obtain the information from one who they know or should have known gained access through improper means, or those who breach a promise to keep the information confidential.
For our purposes, I want to focus on the last part of this definition in an edited version.
Generally speaking, a trade secret will be protected from exploitation by those who breach a promise to keep the information confidential.
This sentence is important because in order to keep a promise to my dad and so that I'm not disowned (which is what he said he would do if he were specifically named in my blog), my dad has now become a ‘trade secret'. He will be protected from exploitation because I made a promise to do so.
Let me explain. My dad is a great guy. He's a little gruff and definitely opinionated but, he's my dad and I love him. He is also extremely anti-technology. I grew up in a home in very rural Northern California (which by default has become a trade secret and so has my Mom, ‘I love you mom'.).When I was a small kid, we only received signals from two television stations and watched the tube on an old black and white model with modified rabbit ear antennas (keep in mind, we were one of the houses ‘in town' that actually had electricity). The old rotary dial telephone is still the trusty standby in power outages and life is pleasantly simple there.
Anyway, my dad cannot stand technology. He hates cell phones. While ‘hate' may seem like an extreme word, I really think it's an understatement in this case.
He refuses to touch a computer and he's never had his business telephone number listed in the phone book (let alone his home number). None the less, he's managed to build his business and do quite well without advertising.
What he does instead is market himself to a few select customers who may or may not provide referrals and when he gets a referral, he may or may not choose to work with them.
When I stopped to think about this, I realized that my dad is way ahead of all of the technological curves.
We've got tons of information coming our way about the right way to build our businesses and how we need to go about it. We receive faxes, e-mails, telephone calls, cell phone calls, instant messages and text messages.
There's permission marketing techniques, outrageous business growth philosophies that tout being aligned with your customers, qualifying prospects, the need for a website and comprehensive marketing plan and the list goes on.
My dad gets it. He's got it all along. He's limited his accessibility, made himself in demand and turns down work he simply doesn't want to do. He doesn't want to be reached by the masses and this preference has worked extremely well for him.
I used to think he was nuts. I didn't get why he didn't have his business number listed in the phone book (one listing is always complimentary). When I started selling ads for the high school and college papers and he wasn't interested, I was baffled. So, finally, 20 years later, or so, I get it. Even then, my dad was teaching me what the best marketing and advertising gurus are now touting.
Create your niche, be uniquely different, work with only people you want to work with, limit your accessibility to be in higher demand and be true to yourself.
Well, dad, you might be a ‘trade secret' but you're my trade secret and I love you for it. It doesn't mean I'm going to stop blogging, take down my web presence or emulate all of your techniques. However, they do make sense to me now and I'm glad you shared them with me.