I have a new love — and it’s not a man or a house or a car. It’s an edgy Showtime television suburban satire, “Weeds”, in which Mary Louise Parker plays a widowed soccer mom, Nancy Botwin, in a fictional subdivision of Los Angeles called Agrestic. Nancy struggles with the sudden death of her husband from a heart attack and agonizes how she’ll support her family in their upper-class lifestyle. Not having any discernable job skills, Nancy discovers the lucrative income in being the local neighbor pot dealer.
The show is quirky, irreverent, and raunchy. The dysfunctional family dynamics are hysterical, especially when her unemployed pot-head brother-in-law, Andy, arrives on her doorstep. Her interactions and affection for her supplier, a black ghetto family headed by matriarch Heylia James, and Heylia’s unwed pregnant daughter and ne’er-do-well son, Conrad, are a stark contrast to her daily life in Agrestic. And, the broad social and political statements that are constant undercurrents in the series are really just right on the money.
This show is a big shift for me — I’m probably the only person my age who’s never done any type of drug — so admitting I love a show about a pot-dealing suburban mom is strange, I admit. What’s most fun for me to watch is Nancy’s development as a entrepreneurial businesswoman who’s going to do what it takes to be the most successful weed dealer in Agrestic. There’s not alot of difference between Nancy and me in the quest to build successful businesses, except that my business is legal, of course, and I don’t have to dodge bullets in drive-by shootings at my supplier’s house.
Here are some great lessons on building a business from suburban pot mom Nancy Botwin:
1. Fish where the fish are. Due to her friendship with her accountant, Doug Wilson (played by Kevin Nealon), and his group of friends, Nancy quickly realizes that Agrestic is a wonderful market for her product. She finds a great source of pot and is easily able to sell it, as her upscale target market is eager to buy and can easily afford her prices.
Lesson: Know your target market. Are they male or female? What age group? What industry? What socio-economic group? Where do they hang out on- and off-line? What do they read? To what groups and associations (real and virtual, personal and professional) do they belong? How much money do they make? Can they easily afford your product or service?
2. It’s all about benefits, not features. Doug discovers a cheap source of medical marijuana in a clinic in LA and thinks he’s discovered a gold mine. However, in order to use the clinic, he has to get a prescription for medical marijuana from a shady physician and then drive an hour into the city every time he needs a refill. Nancy offers him the opportunity to buy the same stuff locally, without the drive, and no prescription needed.
Lesson: People do business with you because you can help them solve a problem. They care little about how you solve it (the features of the solution). They just want you to make the problem go away so that they have one less thing to worry about (the benefits of doing business with you).
3. Understand the needs of your target market. Nancy takes a trip to LA to check out the medical marijuana clinic, and discovers a sheer cornucopia of pot, available in more varieties than she’d ever imagined. This visit makes her realize that she’s buying the bottom-of-the-barrel weed and gives her supplier a list of the “good stuff” that her clients really want. Then, to give her clients a better high for their buck (and enable her clients to hide their marijuana use), she begins to package the pot in various baked goods that she makes in her home kitchen. One client cleans her out of baked goods in one visit.
Lesson: Give your clients what they want, not what you think they need. Many service business owners head into the marketplace and have no idea if they offer a product or service that the public wants. Or, they offer what they think is good for a client rather than what will solve a client’s pressing problem. Do your market research to understand the needs and problems of your target market.