"Give a man a fish and you will feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you will feed him for a lifetime." Chinese proverb
Recent online discussions with other demonstrators brought up an interesting question: How much is too much, when it comes to prepping things in advance for your customers? The answers were as varied as we are. I'm a big fan of NOT doing too much of the work ahead of time, and here's a quick outline of the reasons why doing too many of the more difficult or advanced parts of projects for your customers can backfire.
For YOUR sake--
First and foremost, the reason that springs to mind is the bottom line. Demonstrators who spend a lot of time pre-punching, die-cutting, embossing, tying bows, cutting ribbon or even stamping before their events are most likely not charging customers enough for the extra hour or two of prep time they are putting in.
Even making up project packets can be time-consuming and unnecessary step for many events. I'm not saying I never make up packets or pre-punch anything in advance, but as business people, we need to make sure that the time we are putting into things like this is paying off. I always say, I don't have time to do all my own stamping, much less theirs!
Secondly, over-prepping can lead to burnout in short order. The customer often becomes accustomed to the "spoiling" and expects it to continue. There is little true realization of the time involved in prepping for events, and demonstrators can come to resent that their customers do not appreciate the work that they are putting in.
For THEIR sake--
Third, golden opportunities to upsell are lost when too much is done behind the scenes, out of sight. When we don't teach customers to measure their own ribbon on the rulers on the Grid Paper, using our lovely Craft and Ribbon Scissors, we have left money on the table. If we score at home and never bring the Simply Scored board along, they may not ever see the need to purchase it. If you don't let them get their hands on the Big Shot, they will wind up thinking it is something they need extensive training to use.
Finally, the reason I would say is the most important not to do too much in advance of events, is our role as a teacher. Our goal should be to create self-sufficient, confident stampers who know how to score according to the instructions, how to use their Paper Trimmer correctly, who know how to accurately estimate how much ribbon is needed, and can correctly use the plates and accessories for the Big Shot without you hovering over them or treating it like glass.
How many customers don't even know that you cut a sheet of 8.5x11 cardstock in half to form two cards? We need to help them learn to tie bows, learn what adhesives are correct for the situation, learn to count and lay out the pieces and parts to the project and then assemble it. Teach them not to be intimidated by their tools. We should never do so much for them that we are actually cheating them out of the learning experience and the joy of creativity and true accomplishment when they complete their project and feel confident that they could go home and repeat that on their own.
Again, there is a time and place for all levels of prepping in advance, and there is definitely something to be said for making your customers feel spoiled and pampered now and again, but I hope next time you are getting ready for an event, you will take a moment to think about what and why you do things in advance, and make a conscious decision to let your customers learn (and make mistakes along the way) in at least one area in which you may previously have had a tendency to avoid.
Is your goal to teach your ladies? To promote the personal creativity and growth of your customers? The same principles can apply to your downlines. Are you giving them a fish, or teaching them to fish? And if not for them, do it for yourself.
Just as my goal is happy, self-sufficient, confident customers, my goal for YOU is a healthy, self-sufficient, confident business. Spoil them with chocolate--but TEACH them to stamp.
Dream BIG, friend!