Take your business on the road!

Part of this month's series on Touring (taking your business on the road)

When you own your own successful business, you have to be entreprenueral, resourceful, creative, market, and be able to supply product to support the demand of your advertising.

While growing you have to be able to do all that AND that the "show" on the road. What ever business sector your in, or the products you produce, service you provide you need to market your wares, if your a musician you  go on tour, others mayhave a booth at fairs, business expos, or larger industry conventions.

Your little "store front" Whether a large tech vendor debuting at the consumer electronic show in Las Vegas or your own D.I.Y. goods at a local community event.  In these locations you  provide your prospective customers a visual impression of what your product or service is like, and what sized market you are targeting.

This past weekend, I met a young entrepreneur named Hunter.
I was just arriving with my musical gear to perform at a local farmers market.
 For me, the farmers markets are a great way for me to encourage others to support their local farmers, I am lucky enough to meet wonderful folks in the community, and I get to play music for a couple of hours and go home with armloads of organic fresh fruit and veggies that my family gets to enjoy that week.
Just outside the entrance of the farmers market. I noticed a meticulously assembled 1/4 scale booth made with stained and sanded wood and cooragated tin,  On a polished wooden counter top a high quality hand juicer that you would see at La Sur Table sat next to a large crock bowl filled with bright yellow, plump lemons, next to a clear sealed container w/ what appeared to be sugar glistening in the morning sun, Seated on the corner of the counter was a 5 gallon igloo water jug.  The printed sign indicated this was Hunters Lemonaide Stand, and for $1 I could get a fresh squeezed cup of lemonaide (sweetened to taste). 
A bright blue summer umbrella shaded the vendor from what promised to be  a sun soaked, hot day.

 As I was passing, I recalled lemonaide stands when I was a kid, none of them met the high quality standards of this stand.  A well groomed young man stood behind the stand, slowly wiping down the polished wood counter of his stand. At 9:30 in the morning while many of us are still slurping our morning coffee, this young man was ready for business.   I asked him if  he was Hunter, and this was his stand?  He smiled and said "Yes, it is!"    Hunter appeared to be 9 or 10 I asked him if this was his first job?  He said "I  sold Lemonaide before, but I had to hand squeeze the lemons. My customers didnt' like to wait, that long for a glass of lemonaide, so I  bought the best hand juicer I could find on Amazon". He said he knew that "the time I was saving with the new juicer, allows me to serve 4 or 5 more customers during the same amount of time!"  I was really struck by how he knew he could increase his customer satisfaction, which had a direct positive impact on his sales. I asked him what he was saving for now? "I want a iPad, and my dad says I have to save, and buy it myself".  I thought of how my dad told me he would help me buy my first car, but I had to save money for insurance, and to pay for 1/2.
I was really impressed that this young man had already realized the importance of:

1) Identifying a need-  he took advantage of the hot summer weather, in a location where people were walking around specifically to buy food and snacks, have a low cost, high value item that most people would love!

2)Presentation matters:   Without a word being exchanged, I saw a very well constructed booth, with shiny clean bowls and juicer located in a place that I knew had fresh organic ingredients.

3) Have the BEST quality: Hunter focused on the important details to capture the attention of a potential audience, and had quality ingredients to back it up.

I really wanted to help Hunter get his iPad, I introduced myself and told him, I have a very loud Microphone, and I'm going to tell the shoppers to come buy lemonaide from your stand!  He thanked me, and I wished him luck!

Two and a half hours later, I was leaving the farmers market and I noticed a line of about 7 customers at Hunter's Lemonaide stand-  I waved as I went by and asked him how his day was.... Hunter was grinning and said "Thank you very much for saying something about my stand!".

As I was passing by I saw a man standing in the shade about 10 feet away from Hunter, he was waving me over to him.  I assumed this was Hunter's dad.  As I came over, he shook my hand and said  He wanted to say thanks for saying something about Hunters stand.  I was happy to help, since Hunter was working hard, and  saving for somthing important.  I said it appeared that Hunter had a good day.  The dad laughed and said "Hunter, usually does pretty well, when he does these things"   I shared that it was a good job for a kid to pick up a few bucks. I figured he probably made $50.  Hunter's dad laughed " A couple bucks?  Hunter, looks like he's gonna clear almost $500 when he finishes with this group.
I was blown away that  this kid had done so well in just a few hours.  I felt lucky to have met a young person who had it so figured out, It was a testiment to some good "teachers" guiding him, and also a testiment to his hard work.
I drove home with a smile on my face, realizing today Hunter was a example of a independent business owner doing something really well.

We can all take a lesson from young Hunter, when brining our business on the road.   You never get a chance to make a first impression.  Bring and present your best in your product or service.  Know your market and go to them,  have sufficent inventory to meet demand and repeat.

Does your business need  help taking it on the road, or a gentle facelift? Or perhaps you have  a "special project" that you need managing?

Tamra Engle is a independent Business Strategist, Producer, Speaker and Blogger based in the S.F. bay area. She assists artists and business’s via private consultations and project assignments with Artist development, Project management, Production and Lifestyle rebalancing, to help develop your independent creative business.
You can read more about services to help you and join her mailing list at: www.tamraengle.com You can email Tamra at guitartam@gmail.com

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