The Magic of Entrepreneurship
Demonstrated by the street vendors in Rome
What entrepreneurs do best is identify an opportunity and respond to it. They observe the market, test customer response and then deliver what works at the right time and place.
As a tourist in Rome a few years ago, I noticed that the street vendors had almost all decided that the thousands of meandering tourists were most in need of either bottled water or a selfie-stick. Those were apparently the best-selling impulse items and they were offered everywhere. I did appreciate the water bottles during long tours of the ancient ruins in the hot sun, but was already hating the forest of selfie-sticks that were invading all my carefully composed souvenir photos and did not want to join in the contest of who could get their cell phone farthest out in front of everyone else.
The street vendor sales strategy was simple and effective. A quick assessment of the passing prospects, a polite query then a quick decision to sell or move on to the next prospect. No time wasted on harassment or an obnoxious sales pitch. Pricing was competitive, one Euro for a bottle of water where the vendor was one of many and had a large stockpile and two Euros if he was alone in a remote corner with limited stock. The vendors also knew they were competing with bottles refilled from available public drinking fountains at no cost, so they all sold clearly branded and sealed bottled water that was ice cold.
But most impressive was their quick response to an unexpected thunderstorm and downpour chasing the tourists under cover. Like magic, suddenly all the street vendors were offering small collapsible umbrellas and cheap plastic rain ponchos! Quality and price were not an issue, we needed them here and now, so sales were brisk for those that had them.
It was an impressive demonstration of effective sales tactics for entrepreneurs, whether you are a street vendor, a technology guru or the owner of a small business. Be ready to respond to your market, rain or shine.
Be better. Do better.
Del Chatterson, your Uncle Ralph
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Read more of Uncle Ralph's advice for Entrepreneurs in Don't Do It the Hard Way & The Complete Do-It-Yourself Guide to Business Plans - 2020 Editions.
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