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The Frozen Yogurt Wars

October 13, 2011

It feels like the 1980’s all over again. I can remember the battlefield players like it was yesterday. Started by Hood, and later players like Dannon and TCBY came along.

Here we are 20+ years later and it is back. While it is still frozen yogurt, the game has changed a little. Now you walk into quaint little “yogurt parlors” and select from dozens of gourmet flavors like red velvet cake, pistachio, and cheesecake. The craziness comes when you get to the toppings bar. Yes, you will see the standard items like nuts, fruits and candies. But you may be surprised to find Fruity Pebbles, Captain Crunch or Acai Berries. Yes, it has gone extreme.

Many shops even explain the “health benefits” of the various flavors and toppings. The majority are buying their supplies from local farmers and vendors.

Yes, these boutiques are here, but are they here to stay.

After a few hours of research on the internet I have found over 20+ franchise chains (about 5 of them are pretty large) and thousands of independent shops. They all run the same – fill your dish with frozen “Semi-healthy” goodness and add all the toppings you want. Get to the end of the line and you will pay between 35-50 cents per ounce of this truly custom sinful treat.

From a business model, the franchises are all about the same. A couple hundred thousand to buy a franchise, pay between 2.5-5% of your sales in fees, and buy your marketing and other materials from the franchisor. While an independent one loses a bit because they are not identified with a larger brand, they save so a ton of start of costs that the can use to build a true community focused business.

The franchise problem is that in order for the franchise to work, they have to get enough franchises established to make the brand as solid as Subway or Wendy’s. That means their focus is on growing the number of franchisees and not so much on the brand, product or service. That requires a lot of time and money and is often the downfall. They cannot get enough franchises established quickly enough to make it work.

In the end there will probablybe  only three major players. There is always a #1 and a #2. Without them a model does not work. Crest and Colgate; McDonald’s and Burger King; Bud and Miller. You get the picture. Many times there is a #3 like Wendy’s, 7-up, or even a regional player like Menard’s or Meijer’s.

Sadly there will be a ton of losers when the dust settles from this battle, as there will only be a couple of brands that survive, and I am sure several small independents will also survive. If I was to bet, what you see now will not be what you see in three years. You will have less than 5 major players on the national scope. There is also a good chance that this trend will turn out to be a fad and become just like the yogurt wars of the 80’s.

Do you need help surviving on your battlefield? Contact the Business Accelerators at Eells Consulting. Their 5-Star Backcast Method(tm) will help you achieve long-term, predictable growth.

© 2011; Wayne Eells, Jr.

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Shark Tank Survival!

October 4, 2011

I love the show Shark Tank. I am shocked at how many people come in there, many times with a great idea and quickly turn into chum. Once the sharks get a sense that there is chum in the water, it is all over. 

So ask yourself – when you enter the shark tank in your everyday life, are you prepared to survive the shark tank, or are you slated to become chum.

Every time you connect with someone it is a business meeting of some sort. It may be a business or sales presentation. Maybe it is a job interview. When you are at a networking event it is a meeting. Shoot let’s be honest, even when you are dating is truly is a business meeting.

A business meeting is about a shark trying to determine if there is enough value in the goods and services of the other person/business to engage them. How do you benefit the shark?

Jesse Ventura served in the US Navy elite forces of underwater demolition teams (the forerunner to our Navy Seals). He stresses constantly that they were trained to think about what the enemy would do in any given situation. It was how they planned for all kinds of contingencies. It is this mindset that you must have when you are at any meeting. If you cannot realize what is in it for them, they you are already chum.

In order to survive the shark tank and avoid a short-lived life in the chum bucket you need to consider the following:

  • You better be passionate, and be able to prove you are passionate for the long haul. This is not about a great idea and a short burst of passion.
  • You better be able to take a hit, and not only survive – you have to come back to win! Can you prove it? Are you ready to take a hit in the shark tank?
  • You better know your stuff. If you don’t know it’s real value, if you don’t know all the pieces (costs, labor, marketing, when you invest, etc.) then how can you expect the sharks to want to be a part of it.
  • You better be ready to listen to them. They did not become powerful sharks without making mistakes, taking hits, and overcoming to be successful. They actually do know a thing or two. (Why else would you come to them if they did not?)
  • What makes you/the product/the service different? If you cannot get the sharks to see it, then no one else will either.  Make sure that they can see the value. What is in it for them?
  • Do not waste the shark’s time. Just as you believe your time is important, they believe theirs is also. And, quite often the shark knows they are a shark and you are one moment away from chum. So – make it count!

The next time you are headed to a job interview – be sure you are ready. As you prepare for your date and make yourself look as good as possible do not forget your mind needs to be on its “A” game also. Before you begin networking at your next event remember it is not about just business cards; it is about they value you bring to the other person. When you make your next sales pitch, be sure to listen. Sharks know their problems well.

If you want to survive and win, then you must be a good Boy Scout and “Be Prepared.” Surviving the sharks in your life really does come down to survival of the fittest.  So plan ahead and avoid walking right into the chum bucket.

This information was condensed from Wayne Eells’ upcoming book “Surviving The Shark Tank: Avoiding The Chum Bucket!”

Do you need help avoiding  the chum bucket? Contact the Business Accelerators at Eells Consulting. Their 5-Star Backcast Method(tm) will help you achieve long-term, predictable growth.

© 2011; Wayne Eells, Jr.

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Deep Fried Kool-Aid Revisited

September 1, 2011

A few weeks ago I wrote about Deep Fried Kool-Aid. 

I have to follow-up with that posting. I broke down and tried that at our State Fair.  Guess what? They were pretty good.  And that comes from someone who used to be a pastry chef.

Yes, they were just like Donut Holes (I even used to make cherry ones) but they tasted much better. This guy is onto something.

If I was Dunkin’ Donuts, I would be working out a deal with Kool-Aid to make these in my shops across the US. I would also expand from Cherry to many other flavors.  Folks, let’s be honest – the kids will love these, and any smart major donut chain would draw up a licensing agreement and cross brand these awesome little balls of sweet, flavored goodness.

Are you ready to go Guerrilla? Contact the Business Accelerators at Eells Consulting. Their 5-Star Backcast Method(tm) will help you achieve long-term, predictable growth.

© 2011; Wayne Eells, Jr.

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Touchpad Madness

August 24, 2011

Just a few short weeks after releasing the HP Touchpad (a tablet computer), HP decided to pull the plug and dump the line. Within a few hours of the announcement that they prices were slashed from $500 to $150 for their 32 Gig model – over 250,000 units sold in less than 4 hours.  That is over 1,041 a minute or 17 a second.

Now, I will not debate why the HP systems were not selling as they had hoped. Yes they were late to the market, yes iPad dominates, etc. There are some powerful lessons that can be learned and had HP actually played this smart – well things would be different.

Within minutes of the announcement about slashing prices, people who visit www.Slickdeals.net had posted the information and the news went viral in seconds.

Here is what HP should have done.

1>     It is reported that the 32 Gig model only cost about $320 to make. They should have sold it at close to cost so it was significantly cheaper than they iPad.

2>     They should have worked out deals to increase the number of Apps in their store. It is reported that the total number of Apps that work on WebOS is around 8,000. If you look at the numbers – there are now 250,000 Touchpad users looking for apps, and there are more touchpads to be released. Even at 99c an App – if you create a good one, you can see an income of just under $250,000.  That is a nice boost to the bottom line. And because the OS is based in Linux and not too far off from Android – I am sure some modification to Android Apps would be worth the time and effort.

3>     HP should have learned from Sony when it releases it Play Stations systems. Release them in batches, create demand.

4>     As an initial Launch, HP should have run a slashed price promotion on the first 250,000 units. The ensuing rush, demand would have dominated the news like it is now. HP is getting a ton of press over this, but it is not good press. They could have created a hype which would have been all over the news, Twitter, Facebook, and sites like www.Slickdeals.net. The viral madness would have created a huge dent in the iPad world.

What can we learn from this – if you want to play in a market where is it already dominated, you better be ready to play or go home.

1>     Be ready to do what it takes to get the news to go viral.

2>     Be ready to be price competitive (not just in the same price range, but a great value).

3>     Be ready to have support for it.

4>     Find ways to create demand. Demand creates Hype. Hype creates Viral (See #1)

5>     Want to take it up a notch? Do what Apple has done for years in order to get market support. Take it to the schools (Apple gave schools their computers for years – all those kids grew up using them. Now what do they buy? iPods, iPads and iPhones).

Want to create Madness about your product or services? Contact the Business Accelerators at Eells Consulting. Their 5-Star Backcast Method(tm) will help you achieve long-term, predictable growth.

© 2011; Wayne Eells, Jr.

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New iPhone Secret Revealed

August 9, 2011

By now you are hearing it all over. The new “iPhone 5″ is getting ready to be released. Everyone wants to get inside information as to what the changes will be. What will it look like? What new features will it have.

Yes, we all know they keep it tight-lipped at Apple so no one will know what it is (remember all the excitement when the real iPhone 4 was lost, and someone posted about it on the web? That was viral in seconds).

Here is the secret – The true genius is that Apple teases the consumer. They leave them wanting more.

They treat the new product like Lingerie. They tease you, leaving you to want more. they get your imagination going… you start obsessing over it, it starts to consume you. marketing Genius.

Rogue Recruiter and Author of the Guerrilla Marketing for Job Hunters series, David Perry puts it this way – “You have to show them that you can fill their need(s) in such a way that they become obsessed with you.” While he is talking about how to create the most effective resume, he is correct. You see a resume is just a personal marking piece that you use to entice a hiring manager to consider you above everyone else for the open position.

You have two choices when it comes to your marketing plan.

  1. Find a way to get their interest, tease it, and leave them wanting more. Think Lingerie.
  2. Do what everyone else does and just do regular utilitarian marketing.  This is what I call flannel pajama marketing. It serves a specific purpose.

Is your business needing some marketing lingerie? Contact the Business Accelerators at Eells Consulting. Their 5-Star Backcast Method(tm) will help you achieve long-term, predictable growth.

© 2011; Wayne Eells, Jr.

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Is the lockout really over?

August 2, 2011

Right now most of the sporting world is excited. The NFL lockout is over, and there will be a season this year. The fans are excited. Fantasy Football is back on track, wives will lose their husbands on Sunday’s and the NFL merchandise sales will start-up again.  I think Indianapolis is the most excited. After spending Millions and Millions of dollars to build a new stadium, make huge downtown improvements – they had the most to lose if there was no season this year.

But there is a bigger question that needs to be asked. When you look at the economic numbers for the United States it appears there is still some sort of lock out. Banks are not lending to small businesses, consumers are not spending, companies are laying off – and we won’t get into the US National Debt Limit.

What are you doing at your business to break the economic lockout?

Let me share with you a recent experience.

We decided to upgrade our camper. I love our Rockwood Roo Hybrid, but my 12-year-old son was not supposed to be 6’1″ and 205 pounds. So we needed to upgrade to preserve the peace when camping. We went to a nearby RV dealer and looked at a model we really wanted. We had done our research, priced it out, and were ready to buy. In the end it came down to $2,000 difference between the price quote from a dealer 4 hours  away (round trip) and this one.  The “Local” guy kept telling us he was only$2,000 more than the other guy, and he then insinuated that the other dealer would give is bad service. Over and over we kept hearing – but folks, its only $2,000 difference.  I really hated that he spoke that way about another dealer, and I was tired of being told that we were cheap. I was willing to drive 4 hours round trip to save $2,000. Shoot that’s $500 an hour. Now I was finally making lawyers rates!

We made the right choice. When a small issue came up on our camper, the dealer came and got the camper, fixed and drove it back to us. Now that is service!

Why do I share this story? Because the actions we took are the same actions every consumer is doing. Ask yourself – how are you making your business work?

  • Are you treating your customers like they are the only customer in the world?
  • Are you sensitive to pricing like they are? Everyone is facing financial challenges.
  • Are you trash talking the competitors?

Want to break the lockout going on im your business? Then step outside the box, set the standard higher, and take care of your customers.

Do you need help ending the lockout at your business? Contact the Business Accelerators at Eells Consulting. Their 5-Star Backcast Method(tm) will help you achieve long-term, predictable growth.

© 2011; Wayne Eells, Jr.

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Fried Kool-Aid or Deep Fried Guerrillas?

June 22, 2011

Ok, I will admit it. I thought when the world created Fried Butter that all culinary creativity had been nearly exhausted.  When I was at the State Fair last year and watching people eat what looked like Dunkin’ Donuts Munchkins (Donut holes) filled with melted butter I was shocked.  People were in long lines to eat it.  Some hospital would have been smart to market their services that week – “Free Cardiac Evaluations.” They would have been rich.

Because I used to be a pastry chef, it was impossible for me to see the attraction to it. There was no artistic appeal which make you just have to eat it. The flavors were not inspired like a good Strawberry Cassis Sorbet. It was just breading and butter. Ick!

Now, I am reading that this year’s fair rave is Fried Kool-Aid. Are you kidding me?  While my brain says why not create Fried Caesar Salad or Fried Refried Beans?  If someone is going to do it, why not me?

All the strangeness set aside, the folks that create these things are pure genius.

They take foods that people thought you could not do anything else with, and they create something different with it. They know American’s will eat about anything. If you do not believe me just watch some of the food network shows. There are shows dedicated to people who eat the oddest things.

The creators of these foods not only get that people will eat it, they understand that the product itself is a Guerrilla Marketing tactic. It creates its own interest, and advertising. Just this week Fried Kool-Aid was one of the most searched terms on Yahoo, Bing and Google.

Guerrillas who understand Marketing know that if you can get something to go viral through social media, you probably have scored the best marketing program ever. And best of all – it is nearly free.

So, if you are using Guerrilla Marketing for your business or Guerrilla Marketing for your Job Hunt, there are lessons to be learned from this.

Be bold, be different.  Yes, the creators of these foods may seem a bit off centered. Yet, instead of doing what everyone else is they stepped out of line and tried something new and different from everyone else.  This is what Guerrilla Marketing is about. Finding new ideas and ways to connect with people.  If everyone else is doing the same thing, how can someone find you?

If everyone is using Direct Mail Coupons, will your Direct Mail Coupons get you business?  If everyone is playing in the Groupon Arena; will your business stand out from the others when you use Groupon? Are you ready to use Guerrilla Marketing for your Business?

If you’re a job seeker and your resume looks like the ones everyone else uses, will yours get read?  Are you using a Guerrilla Resume to stand out? Are you ready to use Guerrilla Marking for your Job Hunt?

I think it is due time for some Deep Fried Guerrillas.

Are you ready to go Guerrilla? Contact the Business Accelerators at Eells Consulting. Their 5-Star Backcast Method(tm) will help you achieve long-term, predictable growth.

© 2011; Wayne Eells, Jr.

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