It has taken me years, and my lovely wife, who has no qualms pointing out the flaws in my thinking, to realize that I am probably not a jinx. Do you know when I purchased my first diesel vehicle? About a week before diesel prices surpassed gas prices. This past week, as the discrepancy between the two prices hit fifty cents a litre, I mused to Trish that it wouldn’t really matter if I switched back to a regular gas vehicle because as soon as I did gas prices would soar. “Yep, that’s right Chuck,” an amused Trish said. “All of the world’s oil company executives are just waiting for YOUR next move to decide world fuel prices.” It’s not the first time she wouldn’t let me wallow in self-pity and I am sure it won’t be the last. When plans are rained out and I am feeling like Mother Nature’s victim, she is quick to point out that a) Mother Nature doesn’t care about my plans, and b) there are people all across the area who are probably more impacted than I am by the weather (and I secretly bet that every one of them is feeling that Mother Nature is against them too!). Then we figure out how best to salvage our plans to ensure we still have an enjoyable day.
When it comes to things that are actually within our control, she really doubles down. When we opened our second GlowZone 360 location in Mississauga, sales were slower than anticipated in the first two months. The ownership group was doing the same advertising as when we opened Brampton and we were all getting concerned that perhaps we had made a mistake with the location, which is in a much higher traffic area but further from residential areas than the Brampton GlowZone 360. We were starting to feel like victims of some poor planning. One evening, I offloaded my fears on Trish knowing that there would be inspiration through a reality check. “So, what the hell are you going to do about it?”, she asked. “You are in a new market, with new opportunities. Maybe you need to do more and work harder to get this location up and running. What else is around you?” That led to a new plan of attack that had Mo, the operating partner, going to all of the area hotels (something we don’t have in Brampton) to let them know we were open and provide all of the front desk staff with free passes. He also went to the big police station next door, the Canada Post sorting centre across the street, and many of the other neighbouring offices (also something we don’t have in Brampton) and provided them information on our corporate and team building events, along with hundreds of 2-for-1 passes. We reached out to Tej, at Mississauga Tourism, to ensure that they knew about us and would include us in their promotional materials for their leisure markets and when talking to sport tournament organizers. We doubled our marketing efforts and put information on a few buses through Mississauga Transit.
In a nutshell, we decided we were not going to be victims of a bad decision. We were going to do everything in our power to right the ship or go down swinging, knowing that we left no stone unturned. And it paid off. Within two months, Mississauga sales were equal to Brampton and now they are consistently higher than Brampton’s, which is what we had forecasted in the first place.
The reason I am telling you this is to let you know that you are not alone in your feelings that sometimes the world is against you. It is way easier to sink into it than it is to fight your way to achieving your goals. We get that, and that is one of the main reasons that we host the tourism symposium. Our event is specifically designed to brighten your outlook by doing three things: 1) Giving you a chance to connect with your peers, 2) Letting you hear, from local stakeholders, about some best practices that have helped them overcome their challenges, and 3) Helping inspire you to implement an idea or two that will lead you towards more success. Our symposium, by design, is meant to provide useful, implementable ideas for you and your community to grow the visitor economy. It is a jam-packed day that will leave you energized and ready to become the master of your own success. There is a lot more information about the symposium in this newsletter.
The one new thing we are doing is providing you an opportunity to show off your business through an in-kind table sponsorship. Our vision is that each table will be decorated by a business and every person sitting at that table will take with them products from that business. It is going to look so cool to walk into the main room to see each table, and their gift bags, looking different. People are going to wander around to see who did what before finding their seat. We are hoping it encourages people to not just sit with the people they know, but to sit at the table that inspires them. Please consider sponsoring a table if you have the ability. It is really going to be amazing.
So, that is it for this month. I look forward to seeing you all on March 20, in-person, at the Kingbridge Centre in the Township of King.
Have a great day regardless of what the weather is like outside!