Why Honeycomb Credit Kicks Our Employees Out of the Office - NIHITO
Updated: Mar 20
Our CEO, George Cook, did his NIHITO at Millie's Ice Cream - a Honeycomb Alumni!
At Honeycomb, we work with local business owners on a daily basis; talking to them about their plans for the future, coaching them along the crowdfunding journey, and celebrating their wins when their community invests in them! However, much of that happens within the safe confines of our office, or our homes when we work from home. This makes it all the more important for us to get out of the office and get to know the independently-owned businesses we work with!
When Director of Product Joe Lipple came aboard, he introduced the concept of NIHITO to the Honeycomb crew: Nothing Important Happens in the Office. He learned about it when he took a course in Pragmatic Marketing. The essential main point of this philosophy is that you’re never going to learn about your customer unless you get out of the office and learn what it’s like from their perspective.
This is why at Honeycomb, we’ve initiated a movement on our team where every quarter, we all get the opportunity to spend a day shadowing a local business owner. Sometimes we work with Honeycomb alumni businesses, other times we seek out business owners we just really admire so we can learn from them.
What we’ve done outside of the office.
Honeycomb team members have had lots of adventures outside the office during our NIHITO days. Here’s a rundown of some of our antics:
Slinging charcuterie at Pittsburgh Winery
Learning about lash extensions at Lash Nouveau
Washing out soap bottles at Pip and Lola’s
Prepping meals at Plenty Goods
Canning beer at Arboretum Trail Brewing Company
Picking rosemary at After the Fall Cider
And so much more. It certainly beats hanging out behind a laptop all day!
What we’ve learned from small business owners
There are so many small things you learn just by spending one day with a local business owner. From a product side, one of Joe’s takeaways has been the language that they use. “Do they call their customers ‘customers’, or do they call them ‘clients,’ or ‘guests?’,” he notes. It’s also really important to do NIHITO regularly, especially from a product perspective, because things change so rapidly for independent businesses.
Doing lots of NIHITOs also helps us at Honeycomb identify key trends that are impacting local businesses - whether it’s widespread issues like inflation impacting a restaurant’s bottom line, or small micro-issues like witnessing a small retailer dealing with the same issues another one down the street is having with their landlords. So, when we identify these problem trends, we have the unique opportunity to help other local businesses avoid them, and find solutions!
In this way, NIHITO helps Honeycomb in our mission of being community builders for local businesses and the people that love them. “It leads to a better experience, a better product, a better relationship, and a better network,” says Joe.
One of the unique things about Honeycomb’s model is that the people who often invest in local businesses are the people who live in their communities. Joe has noticed that some of the investors he talks to also perform their own NIHITOs. They go in to learn more about the business that they’re investing in, see how it runs. This also often turns them into regular customers!
Hitting the pavement to better work for local businesses
We look forward to getting out of the office each quarter to spend a day walking in the shoes of the business owners we admire in our communities - and we’re so grateful to them for allowing up the opportunity! To learn more about how Honeycomb supports independently-owned businesses in their growth, head to https://www.honeycombcredit.com/grow and fill out the form below!