with Mark de Roo

Location, Location, Location!
Drenthe. Borculo. Overisel.
You’re probably wondering what those three words are. Are they things? People?  Fictional places? No, they’re actually little “bergs” around Holland, Michigan. While Holland isn’t Chicago, it probably feels like Chicago to know residents from those tiny villages.

Well, one of those hamlets is called Graafschap. It doesn’t get much more Dutch than this. Within that little town are a church, a firehouse, a pretty good sized hardware store, and a handful of houses.  Oh yeah, there’s one more place….a bike shop. Yeah, a rather high-end bike shop.
You gotta wonder.  Why would anyone want to have a bike shop off the beaten path?  Besides, the history of that particular location is pretty revealing.  Prior to it housing a bike shop, it was a used car lot, then a coffee shop.  Both of them were short-lived.  I hope the bike guys makes it, but I have my doubts.  And there are three reasons for my skepticism:  location, location, location.   If you have any experience in retail, you know these are the cardinal rules for success.

In the words of a trucker, “What’s your 20?

Let’s take that premise beyond the retail arena. As school communicators, I wonder what your “location” might be.  Allow me a few questions:

  • How visible are you?  What’s your “location?”  To what degree, do you attend various school functions to monitor the pulse of the teachers, the administrators, musical events within the organization, and certainly at athletic events?  And when you’re there, do people notice you?
  • How visible are you within the community?  Sure, your plate is full with school events, but how obvious are you within other community activities?
  • How “visible” is your workspace or office?  Are you at the organization’s “water cooler” or crossroads where you can both listen and share?

    Not OK.

  • When it comes to attending various functions, do you tend to migrate to the back of the room or off to the side?  Or, are you fairly apparent?  How would it feel if you took a center seat at a meeting versus sitting at the end or the outside of the circle?  Sure, you don’t want to upstage key people.  At the same time, you are one of those key persons with something to contribute.

So, here’s your challenge:  Get yourself a prime “location.” Make yourself visible. Grab some attention. But, just don’t take my word for it. Woody Allen said, “80 percent of success is just showing up.”  I think the other 20 percent is location, location, location!

Photos by c.j. sorg & anemoneprojectors