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Girl Scout cookie season is a wondrous time of the year, where people cast off restraints and indulge a bit more than they should. Since 1912, when Juliette Gordon Low came up with the idea with her cousin in Savannah, Georgia, the Girl Scouts of America have been working to empower and inspire young girls. As with any organization, economics began to play a major role in its effectiveness.
In 1917, the Girl Scouts found it necessary to use unique fundraising methods. What began as a one kitchen operation to supplement business costs has grown into a multimillion-dollar expansion and the bulk of all funding for the Girl Scouts organization. Entrepreneurs can learn a few things about growing their businesses and themselves with a track record like that.
Every year someone “gets” boxes of these tasty cookies. Just when a person thinks they have escaped their clutches, time and time again, it ends the same. Two boxes of thin mints and a box of Do-Si-Does. “What can I say…? I am a sucker for a good cause. But if you pay attention to the obvious sustainability of the Girl Scout’s cookie hustle, it remains a pillar for a successful business.”
How beneficial would it be for a family, business, or even personal life to experience nearly 97 years of success? The Girl Scouts have navigated world wars, great depressions, and the constant fluctuations of the economy while raising money to provide positive reinforcement for millions of girls. After gleaning a few things from the hustle of the Girls Scout organization, here are some tips that everyone can apply:
- Meet customers where they are. It is difficult to find an unoccupied store entrance this time of the year. They are everywhere. These “cookie ninjas” pop up near cars just as customers exit the supermarket, the exact time they know people will have change in their pockets or purses. The lesson here is to make it easier for the customer base to access products. Piggy-back from another similar service, or better yet, connect with someone who could benefit from a diversified partnership.
- Fearless marketing is successful marketing. Armed with nothing but their cuteness and smiles, Girl Scouts all over America approach people without fear. Why? Because they understand that very few can resist their brand. This is no accident. Through years of developing a culture of fearless sales, these girls will walk up to any and every person. And more often than not, they walk away with a sale. It makes a person wonder what could be accomplished today if they adopted a fearless mindset to share their vision? While standing in line at the store or a restaurant, consider taking to share a passion boldly.
- Good customer service is what creates loyal customers. Some people have been addicted to these yearly treats for a long time. They eagerly await the announcement from co-workers that it is cookie time. Americans are so committed because they have taken the hassle out of cookie shopping. Think about it. They offer the order form, customers choose their cookies, pay later, and they even deliver — what a bargain. The moral is if entrepreneurs take great care of the people who support their vision, they will be connected for a long time.
The Girl Scouts emphasize how cookie sales build up young girls’ confidence through setting goals and working to achieve them. And, of course, it fundraises in an ingenious combination of product and pitch. The cookies strike the perfect balance of charity and vice, letting customers buy junk food to support a good cause. These decadent confections are an indulgence, fully atoned by the venerable Girl Scout tradition.
Chances are, your business is not cookies. You may be in retail, run a small business, or stay-at-home parent. Whatever you do, you are a leader, and more importantly, you are touching lives. The more successful you are, the more people you can affect. Take these principles from one of America’s success stories. The Girl Scouts have been a beacon of guidance and source of development. With the proper application, all can hope for such longevity.
Opinion by Early Jackson
Edited by Cherese Jackson
Girl Scouts: Girl Scouts Change the World
Featured and Top Image Courtesy of Steven Tom’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License
Inline Image Courtesy of D Wright’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License