Business Is Theater – How Entertaining Is Yours?

All business is theater. Recognize this truth and implement a way to deliver it. A very successful business man said this, adding: “To the degree you satisfy this aspect of your presentation, you will be very competitive and very profitable.”

Few small business owners think about their business in this context, and now must as the market has shrunk and the competition for the remaining discretionary spending is fierce. This requires paying close attention to successfully delivering the best presentation to the market that you can, gaining share and protecting what you have as profits are challenged by deep discounting and lower volume.

Here are a few examples of successful theater in a business scenario resulting in increased sales revenue, even in a down market:

1. A furniture store in Framingham, MA puts on a Disney World-caliber show with large props, moving lights, live theater, video, movie, music, pantomime, live presentation and interaction with the customers, creating a party atmosphere where children and families want to go. Yes, many will buy while there, more than if the entertainment was not provided. A competitor’s furniture store features a huge IMAX theater with state-of-the-art 3D movies shown on its huge screen. What’s next?

2. Many restaurants get this point and feature everything from stand-up comedy, table-side serenades, table-side cooking, live music and even, quite literally, theatrical productions. Of course, Hooters provides some of the best entertainment available–beautiful, scantily-clad women serving you beer! How can you compete with that?

3. A chocolate manufacturer with a strong brand name and distribution features Easter bunnies, Santa Claus, a Halloween haunted house, tours, tastings, and on Thursday evenings during the summer, old car rallies! Great crowd-pleasers, lots of fun and of course, sales revenues and profits greatly increase as the brand is tremendously enhanced.

4. Many manufacturers sponsor local demonstrations at stores on weekends with large circus-like events with hot dogs, etc. for children who will coerce their parents-who will shop-to bring them. Often these include radio personality appearances, athletes, celebrities, book signings, autographs, cooking lessons, lectures, trip raffles, tours… think about it. There are many forms entertainment and theater can take.

5. Office settings are rich with more subtle opportunities, such as ambiance created with comfortable furniture, rugs, fish tanks, music, art, plants, gratis refreshments, special lighting and generally treating visitors like kings or queens while visiting the place of business.

6. Many large sporting goods and outdoor gear stores, like L.L. Bean in Maine, have huge stuffed animal displays and other hunting and fishing scenes throughout their buildings, or simulated outdoor scenarios where you can test equipment. L.L. Bean even has a live trout pond in the middle of the store! It’s a great place to go just to see the stuffed animals and, of course, to buy a few things while you’re there. It works.

7. Even the Empire State Building, the tallest in Manhattan, has telescopes on the observation decks for tourists to view the city scape… pure entertainment.

The question is, how do you add theater, drama, entertainment to your business model? Anything can contribute to the theater, the entertainment value, if you understand the need and figure out how to deliver. Theater creates a competitive advantage, leading to greater revenue and higher profits, so figure out a way and deliver-it’s worth it.