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#Smallbiz Wrap: Go Ninja, Go Ninja, Go


Can’t lie: kinda jealous of that LEGO beard.

I’ve had the same backpack since I was in sixth grade, a black Jansport number with a well-worn leather bottom. It’s been to Alaska, Hawai’i, and most of the contiguous United States, as well as every class I attended from middle school through college. I always know where it is, unless American Airlines is losing it again, which they have a singular knack for doing. Still, weeks later: it comes back. The once-airborne banana inside usually smells unhappy after trips like those.

When you have something for that long, it’s going to get a little wear and tear. Sometime back in 2003, the main zipper started doing that thing where the teeth don’t lock right and stuff starts falling out and suddenly, the bag is useless. Because, you know, bags are supposed to hold stuff.

Being that I had some serious baggage with this Jansport (pun intended, though, you’re right: not funny), I decided to write the company. I complimented them on making something that lasted for a dozen years. I said I would be buying a replacement because of it.

Barely a week later, I got a letter. Don’t buy a new one, they said. Send us your old one, they said. And so I did. Flash forward another week or so, and what came in the mail? My old bag, gussied up with an extra strength zipper and a note inside: “here’s to another twelve years.”

It’s been nine so far.

Point being: I will never buy a backpack unless it’s a Jansport because of this. They got a customer for life, someone who tells this story to everyone, just because they were willing to slap a two dollar zipper on an old, cruddy bag. Like Dalton says in Roadhouse, the first rule is “be nice.” We’re starting this week with a similar story.

Lose a ninja, gain an evangelist. The tremendous story of a boy’s lost LEGO figure and how to win your customers over.

The good news: corporate profits are up. The bad news: it’s because wages are down. Cue sad trombone.

I can’t recommend this enough: turn off your phone notifications. No emails. No Warriors scores. No Words with Friends. It’s amazing what you can get done when your pants aren’t ringing all day.

Speaking of getting stuff done, here are 10 ways to do just that. Like, don’t pick up unknown callers, for example. Odds are they just want to ask you about who you’re voting for or why you having donated $40 to panda research.

11 obvious A/B tests to give a try. Sometimes, even changing the color of a button can make all the difference.

Is your business catering to teens? Then get off Facebook. Apparently, Facebook is for old people now. Get off my lawn.

Some people become bosses before they’re ready. Here’s how to deal with that. Protip: buy employees beer.

Why startups croak. It’s not just running out of money. Often times, it’s doing too many other things. Like going to school. Stinks, doesn’t it?

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