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5 Tips Small Business Owners Can Learn From Pokémon Go


Pokémon Trainers, rejoice! The popular game from the 90's is back and as hot as ever. While playing working hard, we discovered some valuable tips for small business owners from Pokémon Go.

But before we get into the business tips, let's back track for those of us who didn't grow up in the 90's. The original video game, Pokémon, came out in 1996. And they recently released a new version of the game as an app for smart phones. The app uses augmented reality, which forces users to walk around outside in order to play. The objective of the game is to catch various monsters and use them to fight each other. Here's an article explaining the game in detail. 

Now for the good stuff. Here are the valuable business tips we've unearthed from the Pokémon world: 

1. Be a PokéStop

Your customers are seeking to fulfill a specific need. That means your job is to provide what they need. Just like a PokéStop in Pokémon Go. A PokéStop is a place where trainers (the player) can gather items needed for catching all the Pokémon (the monsters). Just like customers searching for the right business to meet their needs, Pokémon trainers search for nearby PokéStops to load up. 


As a business owner, you know that foot traffic at your location is key to growing your business, especially if you're a restaurant, salon, or gym.  And like a PokéStop, you must offer some kind of incentive to keep your customers coming back to your business to fulfill their needs. Here are a few ways to foster loyalty: 

  1. Offer a unique product or service (see more in tip #5)
  2. Offer regular discounts 
  3. Create events and promotions that enhance your product 
  4. Partner with Causely to draw people in by being more charitable (shameless, aren't we?). 

2. Have a ”Catch 'Em All" Mentality

In order to grow your business, you have to gain customers. In Pokemon, the objective is to catch as many Pokémon as possible. Same goes for you business owners. While it's important to have a "niche," it is equally important to not be "too niche." Make sure your product isn't "too niche" that it turns away customers and keeps your business from growing. 



3.  Throw Your Poké Balls

Marketing your business is vital for success. Which means sending the right marketing message is high priority. In Pokémon, you catch Pokémon by throwing Poké Balls, which are limited and should only be thrown with concentration and strategy. Just like your marketing messages! In order to grow your business and "catch 'em all" you have to send the right marketing messages. 



Treat your marketing as you would a Poké Ball—make sure it's targeted, thought-out, and worth the investment. Though it may not seem true, sending out fewer, targeted messages will reach more people and generate better quality leads than spitting out hundreds messages into the void.

To begin the process of targeting, you will need to create personas of who you need to target. This blog post will show you how. 

4. Choose Your Team Wisely

Hiring the right staff can make or break your business. The same is true in Pokémon when you reach the battle level and have to choose a team. When hiring, make sure you hire the right people for the right job. Do you want your team to be the Mod Squad? or the Avengers? (Answer: Avengers). Here are a few traits to look for: 

  1. Talent -If hiring for a specific role (like a chef) make sure the person has the talents you're seeking. 
  2. Willingness to learn - Teachable employees create opportunities for growth and development.
  3. Humility - Ego-driven is never easy to work with, especially in a supervisor-employee relationship. Find people who are confident in their abilities but humble enough to not be perfect. 
  4. Amicability - Every company needs people who thrive in customer relations. 
  5. Rationality -Drama queens can be toxic in the workplace. Find employees who can leave drama at the door. 


(Make sure your team is the best of the best.

At Causely, we take the hiring process seriously in order to experience less turnover and happier employees. People in the right role perform better and remain happier for longer. Here's a few tips on hiring.

5. Make Your Business a Pokemon Gym

Much like our first tip, you want to create a reason for your customers to keep coming back. This means providing a product or service that no one else can and making sure you're known for it.

In other words, be a Pokémon gym. In Pokémon, battles can only occur at gyms, which are located at places of interest all over the world (e.g. Buckingham Palace). Like your business, Pokémon gyms aren't everywhere, which makes you all the more important to customers. 

Find Other Tips for Small Business Owners From Pokémon Go? 

Fill us in by leaving a comment below! 

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John Rougeux

John is co-founder and CMO at Causely. When he's not trying to build the most philanthropic company in the world, he's probably hanging out with his wife and three daughters in Lexington, KY. You can also find John on Twitter and LinkedIn.


Matthew Watson

Matt is Customer Success Manager at Causely, where he does everything in his power to help our customers succeed. He loves sports, his wife, his dog, and the great outdoors, but not in that order. He may love his dog more than sports. You can find Matt on Facebook and Twitter.


Sarah Werner

Sarah is a writer, marketer, and brand specialist. She has experience in both non-profit marketing and financial development as well as for-profit content marketing and social media. She holds degrees in English and Art from Asbury University. When she’s not writing content for Causely, you’ll find her outside with a book or camera enjoying the company of trees. You can also find Sarah on Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.

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