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This article was published 27/9/2010 (3803 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
If Edmonton entrepreneur Tad Hargrave were to appear on TV's The Apprentice, he'd probably get fired faster than you can say, "What's up with Donald Trump's hair?"
At least we're assuming The Donald wouldn't be too keen on someone whose approach to doing business was inspired by buskers -- and who considers a potluck dinner a networking tool.
Never mind that Hargrave, 34, a self-described "marketing coach for hippies," lets his clients put the price tag on his services.
"It's like street performing; if you're good, you get paid," says the owner of Radical Business, a marketing firm that caters to "conscious entrepreneurs" -- people trying to sell their skills and products without selling their souls.
Hargrave's client list includes artisans, massage therapists, life coaches, green realtors, organic dog food makers and other unconventional small business owners who may not be accustomed to -- or crazy about -- tooting their own horn.
He'll be in Winnipeg this week to lead three separate workshops. Marketing 101 for Holistic Practitioners is offered Thursday and again Friday from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. at Hollow Reed Holistic (761 Westminster Ave.). Marketing 101 for Local and Green Businesses takes place Sunday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., at Westminster Housing Co-op (145 Maryland St.).
"Tad specializes in marketing for those who don't fit in the traditional advertising box, but would like to get their message out about the valuable things they do, and practise, and have to offer their clients," says organizer Beth Martens, a Winnipeg musician, kirtan leader and yoga teacher. "This includes therapists with a holistic approach, coaches, teachers not in the mainstream system, and eco-champions of all kinds."
Cost for the upcoming events is... well, whatever you think they were worth and whatever you can afford. You don't pay until the end. That's how things work in a "pay-what-you-can economy," of which Hargrave is a passionate promoter.
"That means sometimes you don't make a ton of profit," he says, "but it's a lot about long-term relationships. Over time, as the relationship deepens, it definitely opens up opportunities."
He earns around $45,000 a year from one-on-one business coaching, touring his seminars around the continent, and co-running Edmontonians Supporting a Green Economy (E-SAGE), a network that connects residents with green service providers and companies in their community.
The prevailing business model is all about maximizing profit, which is quite distinct from making a fair profit, Hargrave says.
"There's nothing wrong with making a profit; I'm open to making more money, but if my motivation is to get the most that I can out of people, then it comes from a place of fear and taking and is without any consideration for the well-being of the community."
Hargrave says the people with the most cutting-edge, inspiring and radical businesses are often on the tightest budgets, but it's these businesses the world needs most right now.
There's no magic hippie-marketing formula, he says, just common-sense marketing principles: Be clear about what you're offering, make the offer an irresistible (and relevant) one, speak in terms people can actually understand, and lower the initial risk for the customer.
One key piece of advice Hargrave has for folks trying to grow their businesses without compromising their integrity is to remember there's a difference between a values proposition and a value proposition.
"I see too many people still trying to sell only the values," he says.
To register for either workshop, go to www.marketingforhippies.com/events.