Expecting More When Following The Crowd

A recent article in The Columbian looked at the decrease in sales at local fireworks tents and how they are affecting area non-profit organizations. It would seem that more and more organizations realize how much money can be made in fireworks because on 117th/SR-500 between Fourth Plain Blvd. and 99th Street, I count at least 8 to 9 large tents. Either I am in the wrong business and should be selling fireworks or the community at large is forgetting an important economic principle: the law of supply and demand.

One law of supply and demand says that if supply increases (more fireworks tents) and demand remains unchanged, there will be a lower equilibrium price and higher quantity. Throw in local economy struggles where there is a lot less money to burn (literally in this case) and demand decreases as well. Less money to be made leads to a decrease in profits and quantity of fireworks next year (lest we forget and decide to do it anyway).

In order to stand out among the competition in a highly competitive field, there are a few tactics that are utilized:

  1. No tax at all!
  2. Military discounts!
  3. Our prices are better than their prices!
  4. Buy 1, Get 1!
  5. Buy 2, Get 3!
  6. Visa/Mastercard/Discover/American Express!
  7. Free Parking!
  8. Support the Fort!
  9. Banners, Signs, Wavers and Bikini Girls!

This has become the lackluster template for businesses and organizations that are following the crowd, doing what has always been done, the way everyone was doing it before, and somehow, expecting better results.

Whether its the selling of fireworks, Jesus at a VBS, or marketing your restaurant to the local community, the only way to be different is not to do what the crowd expects and is already doing. This starts with redefining what value looks like, but until that can really happen, profits will be losses, and the bikini girls just might lose their self-esteem if no one buys from them.