In today’s economy, you have seen many local business ads promoting their “Going Out of Business Blowout” or “Store Closing Mega-Sale.” You may have given these ads little thought beyond briefly pitying the unfortunate owner of the closing company. However, here is a little secret that may shock you: some businesses promote their “Going Out of Business” sale before they have officially decided to go out of business! Believe it or not, many store owners are actually using these sales as last ditch efforts to see if they can still save a failing company. If their “Going Out of Business” sale is successful, they will simply remain in business and play off the extravaganza as a happy accident. While this tactic may work occasionally, it does not bode well for your branding efforts. Furthermore, you are sure to alienate your loyal customer base. But just for fun, let us look at some of the other tacky tactics of shameless entrepreneurs. • Stock Market Pricing – This is a trick that is more common in small bars and cafes. The latest trend in lounges and taverns is “Stock Market Pricing.” Since the prices of drinks in bars tend to be more ambiguous and arbitrary than in a shop that sells tangible goods, many bar owners are actually raising or lowering drink prices on a day to day basis based on the patterns of the stock market. However, while Stock Market Pricing may seem somewhat logical and relatively tame, here is why it does not work: while this price system may build the business a fan base one week, it may chase them away the next. • Guilt-Inducted Advertising – Unless your small business is a funeral home, there should only be happy feelings associated with your business. Therefore, it is hard to believe that many small business owners are using guilt tactics to draw in customers. Guilt tactics are any marketing slogans or themes that rely on guilt or other negative emotions to bring in customers. For example, if a pet store promoted a sale on puppies by using language such as, “In this economy, a new pet is the least you can do for your child,” this would be a marketing strategy that relied mostly on guilt and negativity. This does not work for obvious reasons: it’s cheap, tacky, and transparent. To avoid being like one of these awful failing businesses, follow one key rule of thumb above all else: promote your company, but be honest and frank. Your forthcoming, cheerful, and positive attitude will bring in more business than any unscrupulous strategy.