19 Jul 2015

A Stark Example Of The Tail Wagging The Dog

I have to share with you a conversation that I had with a business owner this weekend because I think it highlights just how people in business can really miss opportunities that are right under their noses!!!

I took my son to one of those play venues yesterday - you know the ones where the kids have all this stuff to climb and jump over and "whack" one another with those rubber staffs and what not?!!!

Anyway, there were about 200 people there - that's right, the place is jam packed - and almost half of the visitors are the parents of the kids playing there.

My son is off running around with all the other kids so I decide to get a coffee - only to find that the only coffee available is in a cheap coffee dispensing machine that you have to drop coins into to buy.

I - as is often the case - have no coins with me (I'm one of those weird people who doesn't see much sense in carrying cash around these days when I have a card that I can pay for things with - do you know anyone similar?!!!), so I ask the staff how am I able to buy a coffee to which they reply "You can't unless you have cash".

Needless to say, I don't get a coffee and sit back down and start listening to the other parents around me who are commenting on the fact that you can't get a coffee unless you have cash.

Before I go on, it's probably a good idea to let you know that I do have some knowledge on the subject of these kid's play centres because about 10 years ago I went very close to buying one (we didn't proceed because the insurance costs on these places is incredible) and while we were completing our business plan to purchase a centre, guess where we identified where the biggest income stream was going to come from?

That's right - food and beverage purchased by the adults!!!

Think about it for a minute - the only way the kids get to these places is when an adult takes them there - the kids run around for 2 hours and occasionally come back for a drink before heading off to play with their mates again and while this is happening, what to do the parents do?

They sit there, chatting to one another!!!

Isn't this the perfect opportunity to sell things like coffee, tea and adult "stuff" to them?

I thought so - and our business plan backed it up - so I spot the owner and decide to go up and have a chat to him about it.

So I go up to this guy - have the usual "chit chat" - then I say to him "Want to know how to double your income in this place?" to which he replies "Sure do" and when I say to him "Think about providing the parents with better eating and drinking options" his reply is -

"Why? The parents aren't our customers - the kids are."

It took every piece of self control I had not to laugh in his face!!!

Here's a couple of questions that I would have loved to have asked him -

Who brings the kids to your place?

Who pays for the kids to get in?

Who sits here for two hours bored stupid while their kids run around (that's right, it doesn't cost anything for the parents to be there - only the kids pay for the privilege!!!)?

There were a couple of other not so pleasant things I would have loved to have said to him as well, but my lad was enjoying himself and I didn't want to be asked to leave, so I politely said "Ok" and walked away shaking my head.

If you are looking for ways to increase the revenue in your business, take a moment to make sure that you are really serving your customer and not people who "appear" to be your customer - you could be leaving a heap of money on the table by not doing so!!!

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