Peaches & Business

Low-hanging fruit. We’ve all heard the old saying in regards to gaining new customers and pursuing new business. It means to go after the easiest clients to get… the ones that take little effort. But before you do that, let me tell you a little story…

The Peach Tree

We have a gigantic peach tree in our backyard. The other day I decided that I was going to harvest all of the peaches that I could before the birds beat me to it. I grabbed a bowl, headed out to the tree and got to work.

I immediately grabbed the peaches on the lower branches because… well… they were the easiest to take. My dog was harassing me the whole time trying to snatch them from my bowl or directly from the branches. Frankly, some of them were quite rotten so I had to throw them away.

While I am a tall human being, there were many peaches that were way out of reach. So, I dragged out my a-frame ladder to reach the hard to get peaches I hoped tasted even better than what was at the bottom of the tree. I climbed up the ladder and reached as high as I could. While I was reaching as far as I could without tipping, there was a monsterous beetle buzzing me the entire time I was working. I even got dive-bombed by a bird at one point. I thought to myself, “Is this really worth it?”

After about 20 minutes of peach harvesting, I decided that I had gotten all the peaches that I could. With a bowl overflowing with fresh peaches, I went back inside to begin the jelly making and canning process. In the end, I ended up getting about 8 jars of delicious peach jelly. It was totally worth it!

So, why did I tell you a story about peaches and why is the title of this article “Peaches and Business”? Everything I experienced during my fruit harvest relates to pursuing new customers for your business.

The Low-Hanging Fruit

While the low-hanging fruit may be easier to get and there is more of it, it’s not always the best choice as far as gaining long-term client relationships. If you offer the cheapest rate just to undercut your competition, those customers who came to you because of that cheap rate may leave you for the same reason… someone else will be cheaper next time. The low-hanging fruit can also have ‘dogs of business’ fighting for the same fruit. Also, that low-hanging fruit may be more rotten than the fruit that resides a little higher on the tree.

The Hard-to-Reach Peach

It might take more work and time on your part to reach the higher fruit on the harder to reach branches, but that fruit will most likely taste even sweeter. Sure, there might be some competition buzzing you or technology that is trying to distract you from your goal, but you have to stay focused. The business that you can gain by reaching farther and pushing yourself could turn out to be the best client you’ve ever had. Sometimes the ‘long-play’ will result in even deeper customer relationships and more trust – keeping them with you when the dogs of business pursue their low-hanging fruit.

That’s Just Peachy

If you want to grow your business and build better client relationships, consider reaching a little higher and going the extra mile. When you are able to finally harvest those hard-to-reach peaches, the reward will be so much sweeter!

At Mr. Freeland Design, we strive to help you reach the sweeter fruit at the top and avoid the rotten fruit that the other dogs are fighting for. Contact us today and we will provide the tools necessary to reach more clients with a more concise message. And that’s just peachy!

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Service with a Smile


Today is evidently World Smile Day. And lately I’ve been thinking a lot about smiles and how powerful they can be. As Buddy the Elf would say, “I just like to smile. Smiling’s my favorite!”

Have you ever walked into a store to purchase something and the person working the counter notices you, but doesn’t greet you? Have you walked into a shop where the employee greets you with a huge smile and a verbal “Welcome to ______!” Notice the difference? Which business would you want to return to? Most likely it’s the one where you are greeted with confidence and with a genuine smile.

Today, service with a smile seems to be a lost art.

At your company, are the employees taught and coached to smile at customers when they walk in the door? Does your sales team greet potential customers with a smile and a firm handshake? Do your cashiers greet people with a smile when ringing up their items? If you answered no to any of the above, you need to re-evaluate your employee training techniques.

Smiling Sounds Better

It even shows over the phone. Smiling when you talk on the phone can actually make you sound more friendly. One thing that is taught to phone reps (or should be if it is not) is to smile when answering the phone to achieve better customer service. Are you teaching your employees to smile even while on the phone?

Smiling is Contagious

When you see someone smile, your automatic instinct is to smile back (hopefully!). It’s in our nature. Smiling at someone can brighten their day, even if it’s a stranger on the street. Most people will return a smile, even if their day is not necessarily going ‘as planned.’

Save the Drama for Your Mama

We all have personal lives filled with ups and downs. That’s life. But once that personal drama begins to interfere with work, that’s a problem. Customers do not care that your cashier has been on her feet for 6 hours. They don’t empathize with an employee’s bad attitude because that staff member only got a 15 minute lunch break. People are at your business to do business. It’s that simple. Bad attitudes result in bad return for your business.

Without even getting into any scientific data about endorphins or your muscle system, smiling can actually make you feel better. Try it. Right now. Do you feel better already?

Don’t make today the only day you or your employees smile while at work. Make every day World Smile Day!

The Day I (Almost) Got Scammed

The Day I Almost Got Scammed - It's a Trap!

Sometimes, the age old advice of “Don’t talk to strangers” can apply in the business world. I’m not talking about general cold calls or prospecting for your business, but I am going to talk about the day I almost got scammed.

Last week I received a project inquiry via a text message. Fairly random, but all seemed legit at first. This person asked me if I was interested in a project because they needed a web designer. I texted back saying that I could help, but if they could email me some details on the project we can begin a conversation.

Their email read as follows:

Thanks for getting back to me, I have small scale business which i want to turn into large scale business now it located in MI and the company is based on importing and exporting of Agriculture products such as Kola Nut and Cocoa so i need a best of the best layout design for it. I hope you can handle that for me. Check out this site: (external link removed…), I will be happy if you can give me something better than this if its possible. The site would only be informational, so i need you to give me an estimate based on the site i gave you to check out. The estimate should include hosting and i want the same page as the site i gave you to check out. I have a private project consultant, he has the text content and the logos for the site.


1. I want the same number of pages with the example site i gave you to check excluding videos and blogs.
2. I want only English language
3. I don’t have a domain yet but i want the domain name as
4. you will be updating the site for me.
5. i will be proving the images, logos and content for the site.
6. i want the site up and running before ending of next month.
7. My budget is $3000 to $5000

Kindly get back to me with:
I. An Estimate
II. Cell-Phone Number


Okay, my next question was “How did you come across my company?” Since I like to thank any referral partners who pass my info on and I track where leads come from, I am always curious as to where people hear about me. I was interested to learn they found me on

Okay, still seems somewhat legit.

Despite the fact that he seemed pretty demanding and requested immediate responses via text message, I emailed back and said that I would like to have a Discovery phone call to discuss more of the project, which ‘James’ agreed to do. However, I then told him that prior to our conversation I would need to see some more documentation from him about his company, so I requested the following basic information specific to his type of business:


Can you please provide the following:

A copy of your US agriculture import/export permits.
Your formal business name, address & telephone number.
Your private project consultant’s name & telephone number.
A tax ID number for the business.

Once I have this additional information, we can proceed with our phone call.

Best regards,

After that last request, I never heard from him again, despite his initial push to contact me and expect immediate responses. So, I did a little more research and this email is similar to others that appear to be targeting designers and web companies. I found a similar case on Graphic Design Forum with almost an identical email inquiry. Evidently, these scammers request that after they give you their credit card number, you then use that card (most likely stolen) to pay their ‘private project consultant.’ Although I never got that far into it, this has apparently been going on for a while now and others have almost been scammed by the same inquiry.

Be careful and don’t talk to strangers!

The moral of the story: ALWAYS do your research on prospective customers. ALWAYS ask the right questions up front. And ALWAYS get the right documentation in place before you sign on with a new prospect.

Too Busy To Care

toobusy_headerThese days, when someone asks us “How are you?” the typical answer in most cases is: “I’m busy.” It’s no longer the norm to answer the question as “I’m fine.” or “Doing great!” It’s not about how we are doing, it has become more of what we are doing and how much of it we are doing. We are too busy to care – or at least that’s what it may look like to customers.

Our lives – especially around the end of the year holiday season – have become so busy that we no longer appreciate the little things. We have apparently made the choice to fill our lives with activities and scheduling, instead of filling our life with quality time spent with people. I’m talking about real people here, not your Facebook or Snapchat friends. I’m talking about real customers and referral partners for your business. When is the last time you connected with them? (Besides sending them a bill – that doesn’t count)

Recently my family and I went to a pizza restaurant. We ordered a large pizza – half cheese, half meat – and sat down to wait for our delicious dinner to arrive. About 45 minutes later, the pizza was finally done! During the wait time, I had approached the counter to ask about the status of our order and the woman behind the counter answered the phone – TWICE – instead of helping me, a live customer standing right in front of her. Then, when the pizza was finally dropped at our table, there was no apology for the wait. She simply said, “We’re busy” and walked away. Needless to say, we were not happy customers and afterwards went straight to Yelp to give our thoughts on the restaurant.

Always keep in mind the power of Word of Mouth advertising!

How have you treated your customers recently? Are you ‘too busy’ to manage your current client relationships or referral partners? As with the pizza place, if your excuse for terrible customer service or delayed service/product delivery is “We’re too busy,” then your customers aren’t going to stick around. And you have to always keep in mind the power of Word of Mouth. Today, people go to their family and friends (and internet reviews) for recommendations on where they should buy or who they should hire, so your reputation is on the line with every customer you serve.

Don’t get wrapped up in pursuing things that may take you away from retaining your current customer base and developing your referral partner network. Don’t let yourself get too busy that you are working 80-hour weeks and your family life suffers. Don’t let your answer to “How are you?” be “I’m so busy!” People don’t care how busy you are, but they definitely care if you come across as too busy for them. Be careful, or they might become ‘too busy’ to stay in contact or give any more business to you.

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