When you own a company, when you sell products or services or have multiple outlets or brands, you always have to think of the future.
Sure you have to run around and make sure that today’s issues are addressed, that customers are happy and satisfied and the people who work for you pumped up and firing on all cylinders, but you also have to think about the future of your company, the future of your brand, the future of your products and the future of your category. (entertainment, recreation, show business…whatever you think.)
I wonder how much time, we as individual proprietors or as the bowling industry really thinks about the future. I know when I was with Brunswick or BCA, we developed 3 year plans.
We had visions. We did research. We analyzed trends and then came to the best conclusions we could on trying to forecast growth opportunities, product opportunities and market opportunities where we could be a major player. It was a lot more science than art and a lot more disciplined.
Does anybody do that anymore?
I know the big guys do. Brunswick just introduced a new bowling center concept. Bowling Industry Magazine had a whole spread on it. It tilted the bowling center more toward food and beverage and less toward bowling. I think they are right. And I think we should watch the progress of that center and see how it does. My guess is: it will do very well. They’re a bunch of smart folks at Brunswick.
But then again so are we and we need to start examining the future as much as we worry about if the bartender is coming in tonight. Here are just a couple of things to get your creative juices going.
Oh, and in case you need a reminder, remember the guy who put carpet rolls in the gutters for kids so they wouldn’t get gutter balls. There was someone thinking about our future and the beginning of a new product, called “bumpers”.
1. What is the future of open play? Cosmic bowling is a one tricks pony that’s been around for 20 years. How can you evolve that product to make it more fun? Anybody ever use “the baker system” during cosmic bowling? Could be fun, especially if every third person were blindfolded.
2. How can you make league bowling more fun for the “less than competitive type of bowler” who only wants to bowl 8 or 10 weeks? An 8 team league can bowl 2 frames on one lane and then move to the next pair and for every pair you move you get more or less points based upon the team score. No, I don’t know how to do that, but I never let good marketing ideas get stopped by some operational issue.
3. Would putting waiters and waitresses and porters on roller skates break the monotony and be fun? Why not? I’ve been in some restaurants where all the employees wear roller skates. It would certainly improve “on the lane” service
4. Could you have a comedian do a 5 minute gig after the 7th frame of a fun league?
5. Could you put hula hoops up around the lanes and spray them with day glow paint so people can bowl under them during cosmic bowling?
After all, it was Napoleon Hill, author of the world famous book, “Think and Grow Rich,” first published in 1937, selling over 15 million copies and published in over 100 countries who said” “What the mind can conceive, the mind can achieve.”
So spend a little time thinking about the future, it will be here before you know it.