Love Thy Neighbor: Part 1

Pizza1Editor’s note: This week’s post is from Part 1 of 2 from guest blogger Aundrea Y. Wilcox, a professional business consultant and author of the bookStartup Savvy: Strategies for Optimizing Small Business Survival and Success.

I think that I’m a pretty easy going person.  I’m open-minded to most ideas and willing to try new things even if it’s outside of my comfort zone.  But my daughter says that once I get stuck on something, it’s hard to get me off of it.  I admit it’s hard for me to let go of something when I’m really ticked off, which takes some doing by the way.  Right now, I’m stuck on something that I witnessed yesterday that was mind-blowing to me.

KnockknockYour pizza is here. 

When my husband received his pizza order from a local pizza store last night, a bright pink flyer was glued to the box top.  The flyer advertised a new nail salon a mile or two down the road.  There is an existing nail salon right next door to the pizza store, which has been in business for at least a couple of years as far as I know.  I was surprised by the flyer for two reasons.  First, the pizza store was a major chain.  You would think there would be a lot of red tape involved in getting the required permission to attach a local flyer to each box.  Second, the pizza store was promoting another nail shop located in another retail center.  Would this not be an act of negligence of tenant?

Being the person that I am, it was impossible for me not to immediately look up the chain’s Values and Philosophy.  They say that their mission statement and guiding principles make up the core commitments that govern their business decisions.  They say they are committed to an inclusive culture which values the contributions of their customers, team members, suppliers and neighbors.  If that is true, then why would they treat their next door neighbor so poorly (as in this case)?  Not only is this un-neighborly and in bad taste, it’s setting a fellow small business owner up for failure.

Sadly, 80% of small businesses fail before they ever reach the five-year mark.

Common reasons for failure include: lack of money; lack of experience or education related to their business endeavor; lack of a written business plan; and lack of passion.  If you are a small business owner, how enthusiastic would you be about your neighbor helping one of your competitors promote their business across town?  Even if you are not a business owner, how would you feel about anyone sabotaging your progress?

Instead, wouldn’t it be nice if someone shared with you what has worked for them and what has not worked— ultimately saving you money, time and frustration? Wouldn’t it be nice if we all followed mom’s advice to love thy neighbor as we love ourselves, or as the GOLDEN RULE says: treat others as we would have them treat us?

If you’ve been in business for more than five years, someone out there has undoubtedly helped you grow your business into what it is at the moment.  Every day is an opportunity for you to return the favor to someone else.  Small business owners should be looking for ways to help their neighbors not hurt them.

Next week: Four things that you can do right now to help your neighbor rather than hurt them.

Aundrea Wilcox Beating the Odds Other PromoAundrea Y. Wilcox is a professional business consultant and the author of the bookStartup Savvy: Strategies for Optimizing Small Business Survival and Success.  To connect with Aundrea, follow her on Twitter @StartupSavvy, and “Like” her Facebook Author Page, StartupSavvy.  Visit for more insights and tips about small business ownership and management.


  • Sarah Kinsler says:

    Great Post! I agree 100%. Everyday is an opportunity to help others. Looking forward to Part 2!

  • Very interesting post. While I can definitely see the mutual benefit and value in helping your immediate neighbor, it’s also difficult to judge the pizza shops actions harshly based on the information presented, alone. Perhaps they are more aligned with the values and mission of the salon across town or they have an established relationship with them that we don’t know about. Good food for thought, at any rate. I’m looking forward to part 2.

    • maryellen says:

      Look forward to hearing Aundrea’s insights on that Tiffany.

      • Tiffany, that is certainly one way of looking at it, but I wonder how the pizza shop would react if the nail salon started promoting another pizzeria in the area. And keep in mind, this “pizza shop” that I’m referring to is a large chain. It’s just not good business and could easily be perceived as bullying. Perhaps you’re right. They may have a special relationship. But just because it’s not wrong doesn’t make it right. Thanks for your great remarks on this!

        • maryellen says:

          Glad to have both of your input on this. Thanks again for guest blogging Aundrea! I actually mentioned you and your book, StartUpSavvy, during my presentation in Atlanta!

    • Donna Gunter says:

      I have to agree with Tiffany. You can’t always choose your neighbors. It would be interesting to hear the “other” side of the story.

      • maryellen says:

        Well Donna there certainly are two sides to every story. I certainly enjoyed hearing Aundrea’s “take.”

  • Sue Painter says:

    It’s amazing how the smallest things can make a huge statement about a business. The sad thing is, businesses don’t have a clue.

    • maryellen says:

      Sue, helping one another out in the world we live in is imperative to everyone’s success. “A rising tide lifts all boats.”

  • I LOVE this post! Too often people forget that they didn’t do “it” alone … everyone needs help at some point, and everyone deserves the support of heir neighbors. If I were that nail salon, I’d be very upset. And frankly, it’s not smart for the pizza place to be sending people to another shopping center … if the nail salon got busier, I’ll bet pizza orders would increase too!

    • maryellen says:

      Jennifer, it appears you subscribe to the “rising tide lifts all boats” model. I think you are right that the neighbors could definitely help one another.

  • Bill Painter says:

    Unless they have a personal relationship (relative or close friend) this doesn’t make sense. I wonder how the Pizza place quouild feel if the nail salon handed out coupons for a competitor in an center.

    I wish I could hear the rest of the story i.e what was going on in the Pizza shop’s mind.

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