November 2017

Creating Ideas: Think The Way You Think

2017-09-06T12:33:26-04:00 Categories: SandBlog, think|Tags: , , , , , |

Do you sometimes wish you had an easier way to organize or gather your thoughts? Ever been working on a presentation, proposal, or to-do list and didn’t know where to start or where you were going to go? A map would have come in handy in these situations…

Mindmapping (also known as brainwriting or concept mapping) is a technique which allows you to rapidly organize, gather thoughts, as well as lay out a presentation, proposal, to-do list or anything else you need to think through.

What makes mindmapping especially helpful is it allows you to think in the same way your brain organizes information…. allows you to think the way you think.

How do you ‘mindmap?’

The concept is simple – and you can get as fancy as you’d like.
Here are the basics: (I’ll follow along with a relevant example).


  • Grab a sheet of blank paper and a favorite writing instrument.
  • Start with your central idea, problem, or thought in the middle of the page. Write it down…. like below… items we’ll serve for Thanksgiving dinner…


  • Surround your central idea with sub-ideas. Draw lines radiating from the center to your surrounding sub-ideas. To generate your sub-ideas, ask questions about the central such as… How do we do this? What are the key parts? What are the steps?

And then…

  • Use each of these sub-ideas as a central idea and build additional thoughts.


  • Keep building… add ideas as they come to you… It doesn’t matter where… You may come up with new sub-ideas, want to change your central idea…


  • Whoops, don’t want to forget the apple cider and my pies are going to be pumpkin and pecan.
  • Here’s the finished mindmap for Thanksgiving Dinner. This helped me make sure I didn’t forget any items…


You can get as fancy as you’d like… But, you can just as easily mindmap on the back of a napkin as you can with an expensive piece of software… Here are resources to help you learn and do more..
While there are many choices, Idea Sandbox recommends…

Mapping Inner Space: Learning and Teaching Visual Mapping by Nancy Margulies and Nusa Maalx. An awesome resource if you’re just getting started and think you may use mindmapping often. (Once you get started it comes easier and easier to you).

Mindmapping by Joyce Wycoff – Joyce does a great job – taking you from the basics through advanced techniques and applications of mindmapping. “Your personal guide to exploring creativity and problem-solving.

While there are scores of software titles out there, I’ll make some recommendations for you. (Click titles for link to software site).

  • Mac/PC: PowerPoint by Microsoft – while not my preferred software-based method, nearly all of us have PowerPoint on our computers.
  • Favorite for PC: MindManager by Mindjet – a flexible program designed specifically for mindmapping. It is worth reading and learning how to use this application as you can capture ideas pretty quickly if you know how to use the software. (Also available on Mac).
  • Favorite for Mac: OmniGraffle by The OmniGroup – diagramming application with a very easy to use interface. Not solely for mindmapping, I find it a breeze to use.

No matter how you use or draw them, I hope you enjoy this technique and you find it useful.

September 2017

Three Simple Decision-Making Tools

2017-09-18T23:05:44-04:00 Categories: SandBlog, solve|Tags: , , , , , |

We make decisions all the time. Big ones, small ones, easy and challenging. Making the right choice can be obvious, and sometimes it requires time invested in thought. Luckily we have simple tools to help.

(1) Pro & Con

First, the basic Pro and Con list. A list of the good and bad aspects of a particular choice.

If listing alone doesn’t help you make the decision, consider a Pro and Con list with scores.

(2) Scored Pro & Con

You can add a numerical weight of importance to your pro/con list. For example, a pro with a weight of 5 is more important than a pro (or con) of 1.

Scoring your list changes it from ‘which side has more thoughts’ to ‘which side is more critical.’ Add up your scores and see which side comes out stronger.

(3) PMI Method

A third way to examine choices is the PMI Method, invented by Edward de Bono. PMI is an acronym for Plus, Minus, Interesting. It takes the Scored Pro & Con a step further by forcing us to think about “what is interesting” about the choice.

  • Plus are the pros. What’s good about the idea.
  • Minus are the cons, the bad points of the idea. And finally,
  • Interesting. What is interesting? What are the possibilities?

This chart is especially handy when brainstorming and you have ideas that are not a pro or a con. Rather, ideas interesting to think about. To calculate your PMI score add up your (Plus) + (Minus) + (Interesting) scores. Items in the “interesting” column can score as a plus or a minus depending on the implication of the thought.

In the example above, the plus score added up to +13, the minus -12, and the interesting column was +3. Added together this idea scores a +4.

While it is easy to think-up why we like or don’t like something, we don’t usually think about it from the perspective of what is interesting about the idea. Using PMI encourages exploration of possibilities that arise from thinking about it from three directions. It enlarges our view of the situation.

How To Deal With Change

2017-09-06T12:25:48-04:00 Categories: SandBlog, solve|Tags: , , |

It is vexing, despite the fact that change constantly takes place in our lives, at times it can still throw us off-kilter? So what can we do to not let change get the best of us?

The Facts

NEVER: Change is never going to stop. In fact, they say the only constant in life IS change! So we need to get used to it and make the best of it.

SOMETIMES: While you can’t always control change, you can often change the outcome. By anticipating change, you can ride the wave versus letting it knock you over. And when it does, I recommend following the wise advice from the band, Chumbawamba…

“I get knocked down,
But I get up again.
You’re never going to keep me down.”

ALWAYS: You are always in control of how you act and react to the outcome of change. In fact, the only thing in life you can truly control is you!

More Advice About Change…

Check out this terrific quote by Jean-Paul Sartre…

“Freedom is what you do
with what’s been done to you.”

Anticipate change. Look for signs that change may be on the way so you can be better prepared when it arrives.

Learn to see the upside of change, and make it work in your favor.

Know the difference between things you can affect and the change that you have no control over. You’ve probably heard the phrase:

“Grant me patience to bear the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can,
And wisdom to know the difference.”

Sometimes change simply requires understanding “It is what it is,” and moving on. Acceptance and understanding can take you further than waiting for things to change back.

Finally, don’t forget the way things were. As change keeps ticking, what was considered old often recycles as new again.

Project Stuck? Try Using A “Black Box.”

2017-09-10T18:44:23-04:00 Categories: SandBlog, think|Tags: , , , |

When a scientist or engineer designs a new process, they run into many unknowns. You can expect that when creating something from scratch. However, they could have so many unknowns, if they tried to solve each as they occurred, they’d get mired in minutia and never finish the project.

To deal with these sticky spots, they put each unknown into a “black box.” The box serves as a placeholder for what they’re missing. They assume what comes out of the black box is what they need to continue the path in the process. This allows them to progress without getting distracted.

Black Box Diagram

They will come back to their black boxes later and figure them out, or find someone who can.

The black box technique can come in handy when us non-scientists get stuck on something.

For example, when working on your marketing plan, you know you should include a social media strategy. But, you don’t know much about social media or the right tactics.

Your lack of knowledge may cause you to:

  • (a) omit this as a strategy, or
  • (b) head off to immediately become a social media expert.

If (a): You may miss a potentially critical strategy.
If (b): You’ve lost focus and spun off into a tangent.

Either way, your plan may suffer.

Instead, insert a black box to represent your social media strategy. Continue with the rest of your plan, and return later to add the missing details.

Next time you get stuck on an idea, try using black boxes. Don’t let a temporary lack of information hold you back.

August 2017

Idea Generation: Great Ideas Are Looking Up

2017-08-28T09:47:57-04:00 Categories: SandBlog, think|Tags: , , , , |

Ever wonder why great ideas seem to pop into your head at the strangest (and sometimes inopportune) times? Like when you’re… falling asleep, in the shower, or exercising? It’s not a coincidence. These are times when your body is switched to autopilot, and your conscious mind doesn’t need to labor to perform these routine tasks. So the mind creatively wanders and processes other stuff. Processes thoughts and problems that have been churning in the ‘back of your mind.’

But, what if you could harness this as a skill and use it at will?

It’s probably not realistic to think you’ll be able to tell your boss…

“I just finished lunch and will have some BIG ideas for you later this afternoon! I’ve got to try to fall asleep first!”

So if a midday nap or at-work shower isn’t practical, what else could you do to allow your mind to creatively wonder? Idea Sandbox recommends:

Cloud Gazing


Yep, that’s right. The same techniques you used when you were a kid (i.e. looking up at clouds, inspired by their formations, and seeing shapes… ducks, bunnies, and bears) can be used to arouse great ideas.

So how does it work?

The secret to this technique is to allow your mind to drift – like the clouds – versus concentrating. Take a 15 to 30-minute recess from your project. Get outside, or at least to a big window – and gaze. Toss your (problem, opportunity, challenge) out to the clouds, relax, let your mind wander, and see what forms.

I can’t guarantee every time that the new bottle design you need will reveal itself in cloud shapes. Or that forming clouds will definitely inspire the new customer communication strategy you’re seeking. However, I can assure that you’ll be a bit more relaxed, energized, and focused when you return to your desk.

I hope you give Cloud Gazing a try and see if it works for you. Good luck! And remember… only use your new Cloud Gazing powers to do good!

October 2015

7 Steps To Build Your Annual Plan Like A Pro

2015-10-21T16:18:01-04:00 Categories: create, Sand for Your Inbox, SandBlog|Tags: , , , , |

It is the time of year again when we start thinking about next year… The plans, programs, and activities that will allow us to meet and exceed our 2016 goals.

We at Idea Sandbox like to approach nearly any type of planning as if it were a road trip. Like a road trip, you need to figure out:

  • Where you are,
  • Where you want to go, and
  • What you need to get there.

We’ll break it down into these bite-sized chunks:

  1. Goals, Goals, Goals
  2. Focus / Business Themes
  3. Seasonal Objectives
  4. Seasonal News
  5. Budgeting
  6. Consumer Promotion
  7. Localized Goals

Now a little more detail on each area:

1. Goals, Goals, Goals

How easy or hard are your sales goals for next year?

How well did you meet this year’s goals? Do you need to be super aggressive? Or can you relax a bit?

Break your sales goals down by quarter and month. Then, concretize goals by converting them to understandable quantities.

Instead of asking store teams to increase sales by $45,000 per location, it is much easier to grasp if they can:

  • Add 10 more customers per store per day,
  • Increase ticket by 50-cents more per customer, or
  • Try to get 3 more dessert orders per shift.

So, once you figure out what sales goals need to be met, you can then plan to add non-sales specific initiatives in the “easier” months. Conversely, you’ll want to plan marketing initiatives when it seems making goals will be a challenge.

Beyond sales goals, what about your performance with Customer Service scores? Local Review Sites? Number of hours of community service or donation amounts? How is your customer database of newsletter subscribers?

What goals do you have for Customer Experience or the Brand for this upcoming year? Are you continuing existing initiatives? Need to start new ones?

Keep all these goals in mind. They may drive a key focus, messaging themes, promotions, and need to be incorporated into your planning calendar.

2. Focus / Business Themes

A business focus or theme represents overarching sentiment, messaging, program or experience for a time period. It may center on a customer facing initiative such as customer experience, new products or services. Or it may be internal focused supporting competitive issues, strategic weaknesses, etc.

Their duration could be for years, or for a quarter, or a season. Like anything you want groups to rally behind, a business focus often has its own tagline, a rallying cry! Here are a few faux-examples:

  • “100 in 3!” – A goal to increase sales per location by $100k during a fixed period of time. “Grow $100k in 3 (months)”
  • “5 Star Success!” – Service goal to get locations to score 5-stars on their secret shopper reports.
  • “Light Bright” – Competitive goal to increase sales during your slower evening daypart.

Sales Goals + Business Theme → Seasonal Objectives + Seasonal News

Typically your sales goals and business theme will drive your seasonal objectives and news. Sometimes you’ll use your seasonal goals to determine the focus.

3. Seasonal Objectives

Use your Goals from above and split them appropriately through the year. Break them down by season, quarter, or promotional period. For example, at Starbucks the Christmas holiday season was a very intense sales period that lasted from mid-November to just after the New Year. There were sales and service goals set solely this 7 or 8 week period.

4. Seasonal News

What do you have planned to meet or exceed your seasonal objectives? These may include:

  • products,
  • services,
  • programs, or
  • initiatives.

Back to the Starbucks example. For the Christmas season the “news” is intense. Back in the day, for a limited-time in-store would feature:

  • Holiday beverages (Gingerbread Latte, Eggnog Latte, Peppermint Mocha Latte),
  • Christmas Blend coffee,
  • Tazo Joy tea,
  • Special food items (Cranberry Bliss Bar – that tastes awesome paired with Christmas Blend),
  • Holiday themed serveware for home – coffee mugs, plastic tumbler cups, etc.,
  • Coffee Brewer / Espresso Machine sale,
  • Christmas music CDs,
  • Product Bundle Giftpacks and gift tins (created specifically for the holiday season),
  • Community Give-Back Coat, Toy or Book Drives,
  • At one point Garry Trudeau “Doonesbury” merchandise (profit went to charity), and
  • Pushing heavily, Starbucks Gift Cards!


This promotional period had the highest number of featured and new products, and the shortest number of weeks. But, we knew a great Christmas season would roll into a great new year!

All these new, limited time items create news for customers. In fact, during the Holiday season Starbucks turns their white cup with green logo red. Some customers start to salivate just seeing the red cup. For them Christmastime starts when Santa is in view during the Macy’s Parade and the red cups arrive at Starbucks.

Fun fact: January thru March – the First Fiscal Quarter of the year and typically slower time for restaurant and retailers is Starbucks second fiscal quarter. Starbucks decided Q1 takes place from October thru December – a busy time of the year. This ensures Starbucks starts off the year strong with a great Q1. Clever, huh?!

What do you already have planned that is “news worthy?”

If you don’t have news, you may need to create it. This is where – during the Sales Goal portion of your planning – having an honest understanding of how hard or easy it is to make your goals is important.

5. Budgeting

If you haven’t already, you need to determine the investment needed for funding the programming to meet or exceed your goals and objectives. This may range from training, to advertising / marketing budget, product or service development, and more. There are two ways to look at this funding…as an expense or an investment. We always feel money spent to improve the experience for customers is an investment that delivers return.

6. Consumer Promotion

I’ve always thought of a promotional theme as the bow that ties together all the programming and activity in a way that is relevant and meaningful to the customer. This is where we build the communication and marketing programs to communicate the themes and news to our customers. Since you know what you’ll be featuring, what your “news” will be – what will be the theme to tell the story?

7. Localized Goals

If you aren’t a single-location organization, you’ll want to consider how you’ll split the sales responsibilities among your leaders, departments, and locations. And you’ll want those teams to break goals into those concrete, understandable measures.

Yes, we know we’ve simplified the steps, but hopefully this will serve as a nice guide for you and your team in prepping for an amazing 2016.

Happy Planning!

Paul's Name
Paul (and the Idea Sandbox Team)

June 2014

12 Tips For Successful In-Store Events

2014-08-24T15:38:37-04:00 Categories: Sand for Your Inbox, SandBlog|Tags: , , , , |

No matter what you call them… your customers, clients, consumers or participants – they are all Guests when they visit your location. Being a great host to those visiting your location is no different from entertaining friends and neighbors at your house.

While we do think about details when planning a big event at home, as restaurant and retail owners, we and our teams need to be a great host to Guests every day.

Here is our guide to being a great host to Guests – from preparation and during to after your event.

♦ Planning ♦

Have A Plan

You’ve got to prepare and plan if you want to make a great impression. You can’t just wing it and hope it comes together.

At home you’d use PaperlessPost, Evite or good, old-fashioned printed invitations. At your location, if you are hosting a special event (a sale, grand opening, seminar, etc), you’ll use postcards, social media, and good, old-fashioned printed invitations.

Plan for how many people you want and expect to attend. Plan to have enough: food, drink, entertainment, supplies, and helpers to make the experience just as pleasant and fresh for the first to arrive and the last to arrive.

Additionally, at your location part of your preparation is making sure you have enough staff, that they get time to take breaks and lunch – so they can stay fresh and “on” for your guests.

Invite People

This sounds quite basic… But, if you want Guests to show up, you’ve got to let them know it’s taking place. Give enough advance notice so your Guests can work the event into their calendar.


Sounds basic… but… put your best food forward. A great chance to do a “spring cleaning” – making your place spick-and-span.

At home you make sure at least the rooms your party guests will be in are clean. The main room, kitchen, living room and bathrooms. You vacuum, dust, wash windows… making sure your place is comfortable and leaves a great impression. At your location – it should be the same thing. Each day should be prep-cleaned. Why does dust build up on your light fixtures, merchandise shelves, and massive dust bunnies on the floor? You wouldn’t let that happen at home.

Ambiance: Sights

At home, in addition to cleaning, you may want to make sure you’ve spruced up the place with decor. Put out a few vases of fresh flowers, light candles. Finally hang those pictures, get the carpet cleaned. Too at your location, be sure you’re keeping your decor looking fresh. Maybe change out the drab silk plants. Take down a few of the notes and stickies that are collecting at the POS area.

Ambiance: Smells

What does your place smell like when people first walk in? Is it pleasant and welcoming?

At home the smell of appetizers and cookies baking may be all you need. But, your cleaning helps to rid your place of any stale smells. At your retail shop and especially at your restaurant, the smell of cleaning supplies and bleach is not a good smell. We want to see you keep it clean, not smell it! Get an outsider to tell you how your place smells. We spend so much time in our locations we no longer can pick up if there are any unpleasant odors.

Ambiance: Sounds

What sounds do you hear? Is there music that fits your event? Do you bring in live entertainment? Are there sounds guests shouldn’t hear? Employees gossiping to each other? Loud kitchen noises?

♦ During ♦

As Guests Arrive…

Greet Guests – Make sure someone is there to greet and welcome your guests as they first walk in. Make a nice first impression. This is the same at home or at your business location. A smiling, cordial, warm greeter is a perfect way to introduce Guests, and especially new Guests to your location.

Don’t Let There Be Strangers, Make Introductions

At home, you would introduce your guests to your spouse and family. And introduce one Guest to another. You’ll let them know where the bathroom is, where they can get a drink and where the snacks are. At your location…while maybe you’re not having customers meet each other, it makes sense to ensure they know who on your team is there to assist them – make their experience better.At your location, you don’t want customers to be strangers to your offerings – your products, services – and the layout of your location.
Here are the changing rooms. Here is the bar. The toilets. The coat check. Here is how you order. Here is how you pay.

As It Continues…

Re-Stock & Refresh – As people dig into your offerings, the display is going to be depleted and messed up – whether a bowl of buffalo wings, a shelf of shirts, or wall of widgets. Plan to refresh with extra supplies, straighten up what gets messy, and take away what’s finished.

Join The Fun – Make sure you mingle with your Guests. Take this opportunity to get to know who is attending and get to know more about them.

Look For Cues – Watch your guests for non-verbal cues that they may need help. Make sure they don’t look too warm, too shy to ask for help, that their glass isn’t empty.

As People Depart – As they depart, thank them for coming! Ensure they know the event was even more special because they were there. Send them home with a party favor. Perhaps even an offer to return again soon!?

♦ After ♦

Send Thank You Notes – While the Guest is typically supposed to send a “thank you” note, as a business – why not send thank you notes to your Guests? Let them know you appreciated their visit.

We hope this guide helps you and your team be the best host to all your Guests.

December 2013

Go Beyond Customer Rewards, Create Loyalty

2014-01-22T16:46:10-04:00 Categories: Sand for Your Inbox, SandBlog|Tags: , , , , , , |

Sand for Your Inbox
December 2013

We all want our customers to return to us. In a moment of choice, we hope they would choose us again over a competitor. That they’ll be loyal to us.

Google will provide you with thousands of ideas for both reward and loyalty programs. You’ll find the terms Reward and Loyalty used interchangeably. This creates confusion as rewards don’t drive loyalty. And, if we’re calling our reward program a “loyalty” program thinking we’re building loyalty – we’re doing the wrong things.

Reward Programs

Rewards are typically based on games, points, and providing incentives to drive customers to meet purchase thresholds. If customers behave like we want – visit more frequently, increase average ticket – we’ll reward them.

Loyalty Programs

Loyalty, done properly, involves understanding our customers by collecting information and using that information to personalize their experience. Loyalty is perceived as expensive and not easy to track, so we settle for rewards.

Reward Example: The Starbucks Card

Let’s look at the Starbucks Card. At its core, it is simply a form of currency. You give Starbucks money in advance, and they hold it for you until you swipe your card to spend it.

After you register your Starbucks card, you earn “stars” for each transaction. Earn enough stars and you earn discounts and free drinks and food.

[image_frame style=”framed_shadow” align=”center” alt=”Starbucks Card Prizes” title=”Starbucks Card Prizes”]×313.jpg[/image_frame]

This is a digital punch-card program. It rewards heavy users and creates a bit of status for regulars. You feel appreciated for giving your business to Starbucks. The star system encourages frequency and a bit of urgency – like airline miles – if you don’t earn enough you lose your status and rewards drop. Buy 12 get one free.

They do give you treats on your birthday – which is nice!

Earning Loyalty by Giving It

Loyalty is defined as faithfulness or a devotion to a person, country, group, or cause. A strong feeling of support or allegiance. We all want this from our customers, but are we offering it to them?

Are we faithful to them? Devoted? Do we support them and pledge our allegiance?

The secret to shift from rewarding customers to making them loyal is… to be loyal to your customers first.

Like A Good Friend

A good friend is loyal. They remember your birthday. They know your favorite color, your ring size, your shirt size. They buy you great Christmas presents that are a perfect fit for you – because they know you.

The Starbucks Card could be easily turned into a Loyalty Card if Starbucks used data to better understand customer likes and preferences at Starbucks.

For example, let’s say you typically buy a mocha or caramel flavored latte at Starbucks. Starbucks would know this from your purchase habits. The holiday season arrives and they send a personalized message to you announcing the Gingerbread Latte is coming soon! Or perhaps they provide you a cardholder-only taste preview of the new flavors Cherry Jubilee Mocha or Chestnut Praline Latte based on your preferences, not just what their promotion is.

Starbucks sees you purchased a Verismo brewer this past summer. Knowing this, they could email and offer for a trial pack of the holiday blend pods. Starbucks benefits in creating a sampling opportunity of these coffee flavors, and may drive an incremental visit. But, the real reward is being highly relevant to customers.

Like that loyal friend, they would understand customers enough to know what they like and prefer.

Hotels Have The Right Idea

Ritz-Carlton_LogoRitz-Carlton hotel staff take notes about guests preferences – likes and dislikes – from choice of wine to how many pillows preferred, and they tailor the guest experience accordingly.

W-Hotels_LogoStarwood’s W Hotels have systems to document customer preferences. For example, if a guest expresses a love for a certain sports team, the Welcome Desk staff from property to property will provide a game schedule and list of local channels so the guest may watch the games.

Low Tech, Too

So far I’ve only mentioned expensive computer-based tools. But, you could launch a system tomorrow for the price of a stack of index cards and file box.

[image_frame style=”framed_shadow” align=”center” alt=”Index Card Box” title=”Index Card Box”][/image_frame]

A coffee shop I used to frequent in Jacksonville, Florida would store customer buy-5-get-one-free punch cards in a 3″ x 5″ index card file box. They would also make notes about customers on 3″ x 5″ cards. While this manual system sounds archaic… it was cheap, quick, and allowed any employee to access information in moments. Organized by first name, they also learned our names much faster, making it a more personal experience.

In Conclusion…

If you want to drive long term loyalty from your customers, consider the programs you now have in place, and what needs to be added to first be loyal to them!

More than simply rewarding frequency or ticket, whether you use high- or low-tech tools, loyalty comes from understanding and being loyal to your customers.

August 2012

The One Question You Need To Solve Business Challenges

2017-08-21T16:27:53-04:00 Categories: Sand for Your Inbox, SandBlog, solve|Tags: , , , , |

When business isn’t running as we’d like, it is easy to become fixated on end results. “If we could just drive sales….” “If we could just get more traffic…”

While these results are important, what we really need is the how. The strategies, tactics, and action steps that will get us to the end results. Team members repeating “I need more sales” is not going to do the trick.

Working this out doesn’t require rocket science, but applying these ideas may sky-rocket your business.

A simple method to get to those solutions is to spend time asking:

“How can might we…?”
How might we drive sales? How might we drive traffic? Determine at least four “how might we” answers. Then, for each of those answers ask again “How might we” identifying at least four responses for each.

The best tool for this exercise is a simple outline. Indent for each round of answers.

Let’s use the “How might we drive sales?” as an example.

Round 1:

How might we… drive more sales?

Here are four ideas…

  1. By building more awareness.
  2. By charging more to those already coming in. (Raise Prices)
  3. By getting existing customers to visit/buy more frequently. (Increase Frequency)
  4. Get people who come in to buy more than what they normally do. (Add-on Sales)

Round 2:

How might we… drive more sales?

Let’s take those first four answers and ask “how might we?” about each.

1) How might we… build awareness?

  • Do advertising.
  • Do PR.
  • Do community events.
  • Word of mouth: get current customers to tell others.

2) How might we… raise prices?

  • Increase prices across the board.
  • Increase price of most popular products.
  • Add perceived higher-tier items – that command a higher price point.
  • Remove lower-priced / smaller sized options from the menu.

3) How might we… increase frequency?

  • Add items for a different time of the day/daypart (e.g., add breakfast).
  • Offer special in-store events to encourage non-traditional visits (e.g., art events, live music).
  • Run frequency-building consumer promotion(s).
  • Create/suggest additional uses for your product (e.g., baking soda for cleaning, cranberry sauce – not just for Thanksgiving).

4) How might we… get add-on sales?

  • Put impulse items near the cash register.
  • Offer add-on extended warranty/product insurance.
  • Show customers products that pair with and enhance what they typically buy.
  • Offer specials to encourage families and group sales.

You should keep asking “how might we…?” as many times as you can. I’ll stop here. As you can see, with only two rounds, there are some great ideas in the works.

We now have sixteen different options to help drive sales. Some will make a big difference, others not as significant. But, now we’re armed with strategies and tactics that will get us to our desired results.

So, when you find yourself or your teams dwelling on that end result, try a few rounds of “How might we…” to get to the actions steps you need.

January 2012

Achieve Goals + Resolutions With Bite-Sized Chunks

2017-08-21T16:35:23-04:00 Categories: Sand for Your Inbox, SandBlog, solve|Tags: , , , |

Have you ever tried to put together a jigsaw puzzle with 500 or 1,000 pieces? It takes a while… And, needs to be done in more than one sitting.

One of the reasons we miss achieving goals, New Year’s resolutions, and business strategies is that we try to accomplish too much at once. We approach the 1,000-piece goal as if it can be finished in one sitting.

We get frustrated, the finish line seems a million miles away, and, we lose motivation.

A better approach is to cut your goal into bite-sized chunks.

Take the big idea and cut it into milestones. Cut milestones into projects. And further slice projects into tasks.

You then tackle the smaller, easier to accomplish tasks. Each task another puzzle piece. Before you know it, you’ve achieved several projects and reached most of your milestones…

I know… this idea isn’t rocket science… but sometimes in our excitement (and impatience) to get things done, we forget the basics. I wish you the best in meeting your goals, achieving your resolutions, and creating truly innovative things.

I wish you the best putting that puzzle together.