My family and I just completed our annual vacation in Florida. It was a great time. I tried to avoid phones and computers as much as possible and we enjoyed lots of attractions and down time by the pool.
Each year we go to Florida and we always visit a park. This year we went to Sea World. In years past we have visited the other parks as well. This trip we rented a home less than 10 miles from Downtown Disney. Throughout the trip three things struck me as we visited various attractions and parks. These things can be applied to any business.
- The sheer number of people that come to this area.
- The experience and customer service received.
- These parks maximize their income at every turn – literally.
I would be insulting your intelligence to sit here and tell you the first key to a successful business is attracting customers. You can see the importance of that, so I will spare you. Yet on this trip it hit me that a step so obviously important is often overlooked.
So many people start a business thinking the people will come after the doors are opened. They have a great business idea so naturally the customers will flow in. This is a shot in the dark. You should have a good idea of the people you can reach and draw to your business. Whether it is online or brick and mortar.
You can also maximize the people coming through your doors by running promotions and specials for current customers to bring a friend. There are plenty of ways to increase traffic. See the writing of Jay Abraham for more ideas. He makes sales and exact science.
Customer Service & The Experience
There is no question that these places set themselves apart with their customer service and the experience they provide. Any business can do this. In the E-Myth revisited; the author explains that in their research they found that is a person had a good experience they were likely to come back to that business. If that same person came back and had a good experience, but not the same, they were less likely to come back.
What this tells us is people are fickle and you have to manage their expectations. You must provide excellent service and, on top of all else, it must be consistent. So when you are deciding what type of service to offer, make sure you know what you can handle. You can always improve it in the future. Just remember to under promise and over deliver.
If your business can provide an “experience” to the customer this is an even easier sell. People are often willing to pay extra for that experience. If you can set yourself apart from your competition using the experience.
On our trip we went to Texas De Brazil. This place is $50 a person. A price I would never pay for a meal. But the experience is second to none. They have about 20 different kinds of meat being walked around on skewers. They also have an excellent salad bar and the service is second to none. It is not something you do often, but when you do you don’t mind paying extra for it.
Must expenses are fixed. You have rent, electric, trash, payroll, and other fixed costs. If you can make additional sales without increasing your overhead this is known as “free money.”
Witnessing Sea Worlds ability to increase revenue was very enlightening. Do you know that they charge people to purchase food to feed their animals? This is genius. What should be considered overhead; they turned it into revenue. These theme parks have made it a science of getting people to spend more money without increasing their overhead.
This too was genius. Sea World offered a promotion where you could visit the park a second time for free within 7 days of purchasing your ticket. At first glance you would ask why they would do that and lose out on the $80 bucks for the ticket. At second glance though it makes total sense.
It cost me $14 to park and no less than $50 in expenses at the park. I can tell you that we seriously considered going to the park a second time. Why would we spend another $160 in tickets when we could go to Sea World for free?
And that is the point. Sea World knows that most people come to Orlando for one week’s vacation. They are not going to pay to visit the same park twice when they can go to a completely different park for the same price. So they offer this promotion knowing you still have to pay to park, eat, and do all the other extras at the park.
Take some time to think about how you can do this in your business. There is an example of one business just renting out their space after hours. Adding a couple hundred bucks to your account can be the difference between just making it or making money.
These things can easily be applied to our businesses. Often times too many of us get in the rut of running our business we forget to run our business. Set time aside each week to work on ways to improve service, increase business, or cut expenses. It will be time well worth it.