Collaboration Cafe Style!

Sitting in our cafe the other day, working on food cost analysis… exciting I know!

A regular walks by my table and says hi. I know Brian from his regular visits and I also know he’s a business coach. (he’s left his card) He asks how things are going and we chat for a few minutes. As the conversation progresses, he sits down and we talk more about his previous career and how he got into coaching.

Finally he asks about the cafe. When are we busy etc.. ? And then…. the big question. Would you be open to an idea? I can see a pitch coming and obviously I’m a little cautious. But I calm my nerves (not really that tough), swallow and quietly say sure!

“Just like many small businesses, I notice that you don’t get customer’s information“, he says carefully.

I jump to my defense and tell him about our coffee cards. You know buy 10 coffees get one free, but we do better than the competition..(yeah right) We get them to put their email address on the back.

Truth is.. we’re not very happy with the system and I tell him so. In fact we haven’t reprinted the cards since we ran out and we are seriously looking at getting some kind of loyalty card that people carry around in their wallets with the 50 others from various merchants.

“But people don’t like carrying another card“, he slams my theories again. darn..

He’s right… again. So he tells me about his bookstore he knows where the owner just asks people for their phone number if they want to collect points with his club.

Simply….

Easy…

Everyone remembers their phone number… (okay maybe not everyone but you get the point)

No-one has to carry another card or remember a new code….

Too easy!

“Yeah he says, but this guy I know never does anything with the information he gets. He could send out an email once a month and let his customers know about his monthly special. Or you could send out an email with a daily or weekly special at the cafe”

Boom.. there it is. The answer to what I had been spending countless hours searching for. A simple solution to our current dilemma.

He gets up and walks out the door. As he leaves he says something like if you want any more brilliant ideas, just give me a call.

But here’s the thing that’s really got me bugged. In all my searching, I never came up with the right answer. The answer actually came to my cafe when I didn’t expect it. How do I reproduce it?

So where do you go to solve your business problems? What kind of ideas do you get from other people? Is there a way to make sure you are always in the right place at the right time. Becky, what do you do?

Let’s talk!