Thinking Outside the (Sand) Box

beachI have used this photo for dozens of presentations I have given to leadership teams of amusement parks and other leisure time venues, on the topic of growing sales and profit.

The message... If you want to get the attention of today's consumers... you better stand out.

Laying on the beach in Cabo San Lucas, you will experience a never ending stream of vendors. They are like white noise... a constant with their presence. Simply a part of the beach and vacation experience.

And they sell everything. Jewelry, sunglasses, wood carvings, hair braids and bracelets, souvenirs, t-shirts and hats, mangos and margaritas, boat tours, booze cruises and jet ski adventures, time shares,and much, much more. You'll likely even be offered a few things that are illegal on this side of the border.

They are pleasant and friendly. Relentless in their selling... they handle hearing "no gracias" or "mañana", very well. And they always are experimenting with different sales strategies. They work hard! Spending hours on the beach, in the heat of the sun, lugging their inventory with them.

But even with the persistence and commitment that they give their trade, at the end of the day, I don't think that any one of them actually sells much. Their sales trays and back packs aren't much lighter when they go home.

After a while they all just blend together, and you tune them out... knowing full well that you can acquire the same goods in the stores in town.

Sometimes well meaning hard work does not translate into a successful business.

Today was different. From a distance you could see a vendor that stood out. His "merchandising" rose high on a pole, much easier to see. Out of maybe a hundred vendors, he was the only one selling this product... like he had the exclusive franchise. He didn't have to work as hard as others.

You may think that would be the last thing that would sell in the hot sun. While not everyone with a cerveza in hand, ran to get a cotton candy... enough did.

...I only wish I had the picture of the empty cotton candy pole on his return trip down the beach!

He had a sales strategy and clear point of differentiation. He had better margins. His marketing was effective. And he had exclusivity.

I remember years ago being in Hawaii, again laying on the beach... and seeing everyone walking around with bright colored plastic "flower cups" . Their shaved ice was being sold in these. They caught my eye... and really stood out. I had never seen these before and was unaware of a supplier on the mainland. While still there, I located a supplier, and ordered product to be shipped to California. The result... we were able to double the retail price, and we doubled our unit volume. That's a good thing... right? I need to go on vacation more often!

New product ideas, and successful new strategies of doing business are everywhere. Look for the transferable concept and how you can put those to use in your business.

Are those elements in place in your business? Have you found incremental revenue ideas in unusual ways or places? If not... maybe a trip to Cabo or Hawaii is in order!

About The Author

ken whitingKen Whiting is an amusement park and attractions food and beverage operator, and industry consultant for improvements in F&B, retail and workforce productivity. Reach out with any questions or comments you may have at: