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Who Should Think Big? 1

Are You Thinking Big?

Traveling to Yorktown, Virginia from New Jersey, I cross the Potomac River on Route 301. Three miles from the river, at the top of a rather steep hill, is a furniture and carpet shop. The shop has been in business for decades. I’ve been driving this road for 21 years, but the store never stood out in my mind until….

On a recent trip, I saw a giant chair in front of the store. I had a flashback to Lily Tomlin and a character she developed that sat in a humongous rocker. Now, as I cross the bridge into Virginia from Maryland, I am anticipating the chair.

I might have the radio on but I’m concentrating on the road as the two lane Potomac River Bridge is very narrow and Route 301 is a major tractor-trailer highway. Then, out of the blue, a vision of the chair flashes in my mind. I think, “is it still there”? As I drive up that steep hill from the riverbed area up onto the rolling hills, I spot the chair at the front of the parking lot.

I don’t think I will ever drive this section of highway without thinking about this chair. Thinking BIG paid off for this business. I certainly remember them.

Everyone should think big. In business, stores don’t take 75 cents off a $300 TV, they slash prices to the bone! As a candidate for a job, you don’t say you can do slightly better than the next guy, you spell out the tremendous skills you have and then share stories that highlight those skills. As a parent, you don’t encourage children to be average, but to reach for the stars, to follow their dreams. Even in our personal relationships, there’s a place for thinking big.

If you are ever on Route 301 in Virginia, between the Potomac River Bridge and where Route 3 crosses it leading into Fredericksburg, look for the chair. And when you are going to do something, choose to do it BIG. Big gets remembered!

“Not in this economy!” That’s not why I buy 7

I was speaking with a vendor who services many supermarkets. He was talking about how his sales have changed since 2008. As the subject of advertising came up, I asked him how effective  POP (point of sale) signage is in this economy. It seemed to me that this would be a great way for people to see the value in an item as they were making their selection.

My friend had a different view.  He said:

“People aren’t buying POP ads anymore; not in this economy. People are shopping with a calculator.”

An informal poll among two or three shoppers in the aisle did not reveal any evidence either way, so I thought I would put the question to you, my readers. Please take a moment and let me know your thoughts. Not that I am competitive, but I can’t wait to see who is right.

Create Your Own Mardi Gras Tradition 0

Fat Tuesday Parade
Fat Tuesday Parade

The reporter said yesterday that the annual Mardi Gras Celebration in New Orleans generates over 500 million dollars in revenue for the local economy. What if you could create your own Mardi Gras event for your business? Create world-wide recognition of the event just by saying the name? Have people the world over mark your event on their calendars, search on-line for details and ultimately be at your event, just so they could say they were there? What impact would that have on your business, your non-profit, your town, city or state?

Now I can already hear the nay-sayers going “I’ll never be able to create global excitement like Mardi Gras”. And maybe your ad budget isn’t in the millions and maybe you don’t have hundreds of years of history (The starting date of festivities in New Orleans is unknown. An account from 1743 notes that the custom of Carnival balls was already established. Processions and wearing of masks in the streets on Mardi Gras took place. Thank you Wikipedia.)  To create your own Mardi Gras, you need three things.

1. Tradition -There are great traditions that generate income. My town of Lakewood, New Jersey holds a concert in the band shell on the 4th of July followed by fireworks from a barge on the lake. Hundreds of merchants and enterprising entrepreneurs benefit from the annual event. One of the keys to creating your own Mardi Gras in consistency. I have been in New Jersey 21 years and the town was holding this event at least 25 years before I got here.

2. Size – It must be big enough based on your situation to inspire people to action; The largest state fair east of the Rockies, the largest collection of antique cars ever assembled in Detroit, or Uncle Buster’s Annual Special Soup Cellar Collection Event, Main Street, USA

3. Economic benefit – You must decide on your ROI. How will you measure success? (  In 1833 Bernard Xavier de Marigny de Mandeville, a rich plantation owner of French descent, raised money to fund an official Mardi Gras celebration. Again, thank you Wikipedia) If your event generates sales, new customers or adds to your Brand, you may have a winner

So as you decide what to wear (or not to wear) for today’s  Mardi Gras Parade, spend a few minutes thinking about how you can start or build on something you do. How can you create an annual tradition that will create excitement, generate revenue and create a loyal following? When it becomes big enough,  they may write about it in Wikipedia.