A Million Dollar Idea

A million dollar idea

Last evening, I had the opportunity to visit my local Chamber of Commerce’s meeting, whereby they had approximately 52 tables set up by various local vendors.  They called it “Sizzling Summer Business Expo 2009.”

They also invited all of the restaurants in the area to rent a booth and created an area outside the exhibiting area, just for those nibbling on the offerings from the restaurants. 

Here are a few lessons from this experience…

The companies there paid $250 for a table, and no one…and I do mean NO ONE…thought to offer a response mechanism…something that would prompt the attendees to communicate with the vendor.  Sure, they gave out many items as gifts with their name on it, but nothing to prompt anyone to do business with them. 

Also, there were 22 local restaurants, which created 3 or 4 various dishes.  There were lines for the food, but guess what?  The attendees got their food and moved on.  Why didn’t these restaurants offer a coupon, for let’s say 20% off your dinner when you come in?  They didn’t have anything to give out to generate a customer.  Sad!

But let me tell you about a million dollar idea I gave one of the exhibitors.  His company does pest control.  Two years ago, I was having a problem with birds nipping away at the caulking around my skylights, and I put an item called a Bird Repellent Spider on the roof near the skylight.  In fact, I put 4 by my skylights.  This exhibitor had one of these on the exhibiting table and when I mentioned to him that I also had Spiders on my roof, he was happy to hear that someone had installed the them.  He asked me what pest control company installed them. I told him none.  I googled bird repellants, found and bought 4 of them, and hired someone to install them on my roof.

When I asked him how many homes his company had installed these units on, he said “None.”  He mentioned how difficult it was to convince a homeowner how important it was to install these spiders.  To make a long story short, his company had no way of convincing a home owner about why they needed these Spiders and how they would benefit by installing them. 

Here’s what I said to him.  Research the damage birds do to a home, or building, and the health ramifications that would result when someone catches a disease that many birds ccarry, then present it to the homeowner as a health and safety issue.  He and the others at the table loved the idea.

I then told them to research articles or studies that were done where birds have done serious damage to light posts along the road, light posts in Marinas, or any kind of poles.  They can create a new market to sell to by extolling the reasoning that the Spiders installed atop the light posts will stop birds from destroying the metal, and over the long run save the township, or marina, money.

This product, the Bird Spider, can be used in many other areas as a deterrent, so I told them to think of other areas to create a new market.

I asked them what this idea meant in money to them, and they said over a million dollars and that is why I titled this article “A Million Dollar Idea.”

Let me know your thoughts on this or any input you might have.

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2 Responses to “A Million Dollar Idea”

  1. Hi Ken,

    Hope all is well! Love the blog and thank you!

    On this most recent posting….what is it someone could do for an automatic response mechanism at a trade show?

    What I have tested is a give away drawing BUT to gather their email, name, and phone info and then send them a Free Report and get them on the auto responder conveyor belt which has worked okay.

    Is okay (which is indeed business generated) just fine OR can I go from okay to tremendous by doing anything differently? Understand these trade shows generate a profit, so a bit of a “greedy” question here…..thanks!

    Mike Carroll


    admin Reply:

    When I attended trade shows, I did a variety of things depending on the Audience that was attending. For example: At my Nurses conventions, I’d offer a $1,000 scholarship award, but they had to legibly complete the information form. Naturally I had boxes of pens for them to use. Since I gave 20 of these scholarships per year, I just fit this one into the mix.

    Also, when you are attending a business trade show, or a chamber of commerce meeting, or wherever business owners gather, you can hand out hard copies of my e-book, “10 Marketing Mistakes that Steal Your Cash”. I have found that handing out the book at various networking events created a great impression with the individuals the book was given to, and many of them have mentioned this to me.

    Doing something because it’s OK, as you mentioned, is OK. Ha Ha. Seriously though, I agree with you that you should be trying to do better than ok…we should always be trying to improve on all that we do. Never take anything for granted. Always pursue the thought of doing better than expected.

    Hope this answers your question and that others reading this post will give you some additional ideas.


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