The Groupon Illusion

For the local business owner, Groupon appears to be a dream come true. The platform allows the small business owner to short circuit the traditional means of acquiring new customers and revenue. The traditional method is rooted in grass roots marketing efforts and word of mouth to spread the news of the new product or service that the small business owner is offering consumers. Instead, Groupon allows the small business owner to acquire hundreds and even thousands of new consumers with less than half the time and effort by offering consumers promotional price discounts. Awesome, right?

Not so fast, what small business owners soon realize is that the increase in demand is short lived. Consumers only value the price discount – not the product or service the company is selling. This is not a sustainable, long term way to build and grow a business. It is a shortcut. A shortcut around doing the hard work that it takes to build a product or service that speaks for its self. The shortcut around the time it takes to build a product or service that people actually need and value.

We, as individuals, have been impacted in a similar way by this Groupon Illusion. Our current culture thrives on the idea of the life hack – self-help books and power poses. Shortcuts intended to help us get the results we seek with less time and effort than it would have otherwise taken. However, as with the small business owner, there are no shortcuts to living the life you intend to lead or being the person you aspire to be. Sustainable improvement comes from work. It comes from the investment of time, energy and resources to be better. To be a better spouse. To be a better sibling. To be a better employee. To be a better student. To be a better citizen of the community.

Let’s unsubscribe from Groupon and embrace the “long cut” – investing the time and energy to build the change we want to see in the world.