Yes, entrepreneurs need to think big. Depending on what you want for your business, the first thing is to think it is possible. In 1961 when Dick Cabela stumbled across some fishing fly lures when he was attending a furniture show in Chicago, he thought he could have a little side business selling those lures. He put a classified in the paper that advertised: “fly fishing lures 5 for $1.00”. But there were no takers.
In the modern day scenario, we would have put an ad on one of the sites on the internet. Then, the main turning point would be, do we store them away in the garage because we tried and they did not sell, or do we try again. Fortunately, Dick tried again. This time he put an ad in some Wyoming newspapers, and some outdoor magazines, stating: “free trial,
5 fly fishing lures for .25 postage.” This time he got a good response. So at their kitchen table his wife Mary, mimeographed some catalog pages to send with the orders, and it went from there. Along with their extremely popular mail order business, there are 18 Cabela’s stores, with 16 stores listed on their coming soon list. These stores contain things like a mountain replica, museum quality taxidermy animals, water falls, aquariums, restaurant, not to mentioned stuffed with everything imaginable for the fishing, hunting, camping, boating, or outdoor enthusiast, in 165,000 sq. feet.
Starbuck’s also started out very small, and were in the business of selling coffee beans. When one of the partners first suggested that they sell coffee drinks, his idea was turned down by the other partners. Later, the idea was accepted, and caused their business to start growing into what it is today.
What about your business? Can you take a chance, and think outside the box? Do you take marketing, seriously and continue to think of different angles of the product or service you can offer? Years ago I had a home based, licensed, wedding cake business. I only spent money on advertising once a year, on the largest wedding show in the area. However, that money was well spent, because I could showcase my product, and my business right beside the business giants offering wedding products or services. This was done by having a very attractive display of model cakes, giving out sample pieces, having a drawing for money off a wedding cake, and making sure everyone had information in hand. The first year, I booked enough business to keep me busy all year.
In today’s world of the internet, an easy way to make a small business have credibility is to have an attractive website, and do online, and offline marketing. You need to have a plan, and always look for opportunities to improve your product, your marketing, and your customer service. Do not do your business “on the fly” (pun intended), you probably won’t succeed. But, if the Cabela success is any indication, maybe you will…
By Alyssa Faber