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After the smoke clears...

That was the message awaiting me when I got home from work yesterday. I live just a few miles from the fire line in Southern California. My wife and I spent Saturday watching local stations, awaiting the latest news on the firestorm. When the evacuation zone reached a street a little more than two miles from the house--the fire was five or six miles away--we packed some bags and got the vehicles loaded just in case.

In the end, we were more fortunate than hundreds of other Orange County residents. For that we are thankful.

Back to the message that awaited me. On my door hung a flyer from a restoration company: fire and water damage restoration, smoke elimination and removal, odor neutralization, air duct cleaning and more.

Like I said, we avoided the fires and much of the smoke that blanketed Orange County--50-mile-per-hour winds made sure the smoke beat a path to the ocean. So I almost dropped the flyer in the recycling bin. But then it hit me. This company wasn't marketing its services as part of an everyday campaign. It was seizing an opportunity--After the smoke clears--and giving people a way to start putting their lives back together.

It was being nimble, proactive and useful, things all small businesses should aspire to. On the flyer was this line: Billed Directly to your Insurance Company. Not only will we help you get your house and possessions back to normal, the company was telling fire victims, we'll take care of dealing with the insurance company, too.

Consumers want to know what's in it for them. How will your product or service make their life better and easier? ProTech Construction let consumers know what's in it for them. The company did it in a timely manner and in a way that told people their needs would be taken care of at a time they need it most.