Why Isn’t My Business Making Money?
By Sam Horn
hotel bar/restaurant had a problem. No one was coming to their
happy hours. Why?
They were one of dozens of restaurant/bars in the area hosting happy
hours. No wonder they weren’t making any money; they were getting
lost in the crowd. The question is, how could they stand out from
enterprising manager noticed that one of their loyal patrons tied
his dog up outside when he came in for a cold one after work.
Light-bulb moment. Why not offer a special happy hour for
professionals who wanted to bring along their poor pooches that had
been cooped up all day while their owner was away? They could put
out water bowls, hand out dog biscuits and offer a discount on beer
so it was a win for everyone.
call this? Well, use a POP! technique called Alphabetizing in which
you talk your word through the alphabet, “Aaapy Hour, Bappy Hour,
Cappy Hour, Dappy Hour”…and you eventually get to Yappy Hour! You
may be thinking, “Big deal, so it’s a clever name.”
it’s a big deal. The Washington Post wrote an article about
the throngs of people showing up for the restaurant’s wildly popular
(and profitable) Yappy Hour. That article was picked up by a
hundred newspapers across the country. As a result, millions of
people now know about the Alexandria, VA Holiday Inn’s successful
business not making as much money as it could or should? Chances are
you’re one-of-many. One of many restaurants, consultants, stores or
companies that all look alike. If you’re offering the same services
and products as everyone else, how are people supposed to notice
you? Here’s five of the top ten ways to be one-of-a-kind (instead of
one-of-many) so you break out instead of blend in and increase your
volume of customers and income.
Give your business a one-of-a-kind name that generates free
media attention. Sure, you can call your business The Nail
Place—or you can call it Texas Chainsaw Manicure. Guess
which attracts clients from around the world because they’ve read
about it in syndicated columns or seen it featured on TV?
where your competitors zag. Enterprise wanted to enter the
crowded car rental industry but Hertz, Avis, Budget and Alamo owned
the market. Hmmm . . . how to differentiate themselves? What did
competitors have in common? They’re all situated next to airports.
So, Enterprise located their branches in neighborhoods. What didn’t
the other agencies offer? No pick up and drop off service. So,
Enterprise offers to drive you to and from your home or hotel. The
moral of this story? Don’t do what everyone else is doing; do the
opposite. The best way to stand out from your crowd is to lead it,
not follow it.
If you have fun, your customers will too. Art Buchwald
said, “I learned when I made people laugh, they liked me.” Read
your signage, web copy, and marketing material. Does it make you
laugh? If not, it’s probably costing you sales. Inject some humor
into your communication to increase likeability. A local ice cream
store has a sign by the cash register that says, “Why do we have
square containers? Because we don’t cut corners on the quality of
our ice cream.” A shoe store replaced their standard “Sale” ad with
“ Shopportunity. 50% off -- and that’s just the half of it.”
Which ad do you think generated more business?
Turn generic into genius. Jay Sorenson saw what everyone
else saw – those cardboard insulating sleeves you put around your
cup of coffee so you don’t burn your fingers– and turned them into a
15 million dollar a year business. How? By giving a common product
an uncommon name - Java Jacket. Sorenson said, “That
trademarked name is worth more than our patents – it has such a
dominant market awareness that people who meant to call our
competitors call us instead.” That’s branding! Say Dunkin
Croissants. Best Purchase. Those words sound clunky, don’t
they? Now say Dunkin Donuts. Best Buy. Give your business a
short, alliterative name that’s easy to pronounce and remember . . .
and you’ve just given yourself an attention-getting, money-making
Listen to your customers whine. “What?!” you may be asking
in disbelief. “Why should I listen to people complain?” Because
they’re telling you what they have a problem with. If you fix that
problem, they’ll flock to you. For example, a Hawaii dive shop got
tired of turning away customers who didn’t have a current scuba
certification. Solution? Why not have an air hose from the boat
people keep in their mouth, kind of like an elongated snorkel? This
way, anyone can swim with the fishes 10-20 feet down without
risk (you can resurface in seconds) and without hauling around heavy
oxygen tanks. Let’s use a POP! technique to coin a brand new name
for this activity. It’s half snorkel – half scuba. It’s SNUBA!
Solve a common industry problem and give it a clever name and
customers will seek you out because you’re the only one offering
this first-of-its-kind option.
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