Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Lessons from the Grand Bazar Rug Dealer

Dharmesh Shah recently visited Istanbul and here is his insights on business and customers treatment for start ups (or indeed anyone who is in business of developing and selling a product) from his experience with rug dealers.

  1. Make your customer smarter
  2. Focus on relationships, not transactions
  3. Make it safe and easy to leave
  4. Don't disparage the competition
  5. Don't judge the customer

I was schooled and worked in my father's fabric shop in the Grand Bazar and Eminonu district for years. And all these elements applied in our small business too. Sometimes our competition was selling the same fabric to a lower price that we used to, but we had customers buying the fabric from us because of the relationship and trust that we have built with them.
In some cases we had a new customer buying for the first time from us for his new tailor store, and we use to give the guy a break and help him start with his new business. Then few years later the same guy whose first order was only 2.70 m of fabric was buying hundreds of meters as he has expanded his one shop and became a small manufacturer and referring other customers to us.

Indeed the joke was that the best MBA programs were offered in Eminonu and Grand Bazar districts where people learned real business

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