How a ‘wee dram’ and a lollipop added up to a win/win opportunity…

Tim Lowe Lollipop

As my travels to Scotland have become more and more frequent, I’ve noticed some very distinct differences between the ways we and those ‘North of the Wall’ go about things (and you’ll no doubt hear more about these as the weeks go on). However, I’ve found that taking full advantage of an opportunity is still a very good idea … no matter where you happen to be.

On my last trip, I was told that the bar around the corner had improved massively under new ownership, and had a fine selection of Single Malt Whisky. Being partial to the occasional ‘wee dram’ I thought I might take a brief stroll in that direction…

After all, it was a Sunday night – back home in the leafier parts of Surrey the local hostelries would be warm, welcoming, but above all, quiet. There would be a roaring fire and the biggest inconvenience would be stepping over the occasional slumbering spaniel … it couldn’t be any different here  – could it?

As I entered the bar, the scene that greeted me had me thinking for a minute that during my brief stroll, Scotland had somehow managed to win the World Cup. There were people everywhere … loud, drunken people, whom it seemed, were having the time of their lives.

I really was intrigued as to what this considerable fuss was all about, so with the strategic use of elbows I got to the bar and acquired myself a rather fine Single Malt.  I then retired to a table just outside what can only be described the ‘blast radius’ … and from my new position, saw that at the centre of all of this chaos was … Karaoke.

Karaoke, when done well, can add much to a certain type of social occasion … however, my first impression was that this was not one of those times. There was some poor unfortunate taking terrible liberties with the song ‘My Boy Lollipop’, yet somehow the locals seemed to be loving every minute of it.

It certainly wasn’t due to vocal talent … another chap shared my opinion and had also retired to a safe distance, so we exchanged grimaces as the wailing continued … and after a brief chat, I discovered he was actually the bar manager.

I was informed that the young woman ‘singing’ was in fact from a small nearby town and had somehow achieved internet fame for a recording of her singing at her mother’s funeral. As a result, she was one of the most sought-after acts in Scotland.

It turns out that in much of Scotland, bars can, in fact, be very busy near closing time on a Sunday – and this bar’s Karaoke night would have been packed – but not until much, much later on.

By securing this young ladies’ vocal talents at a reasonable rate, had he filled the bar much, much earlier than normal and clearly increased bar takings as a result. It also turned out that prior to my arrival he had been charging a reasonable entrance fee as well.

This is an excellent example of somebody seizing an opportunity to create a situation that is beneficial for everybody … the young woman got well paid for singing what amounted to just two songs … the bar was packed much earlier than usual and had extra revenue from bar and tickets sales … and the customers were clearly having the time of their lives.

Recognising – and just as importantly – acting on opportunities like this in your own business that can make all of the difference. Missing an opportunity can leave you kicking yourself for a long time … however, an opportunity that you have spotted and then taken full advantage of is something you’ll enjoy the benefits of for much, much longer.

It’s all about keeping your eyes open for this kind of opportunity and leaving yourself open to taking a closer look at things that might be a little out of the ordinary. This is even if it takes the shape of a young woman in a tracksuit and baseball cap singing ‘My Boy Lollipop’ in a key known only to herself…

All The Best,

Tim Lowe
Publisher, Tim’s Business Lowe Down

Tim Lowe