Thursday, October 30, 2008

Proselytes: Creating "Evangelists" for Your Company

So, we're ready to delve into proselytization. But first, what does that mean? After looking through several definitions, I decided that the best one I could find was just what Guy Kawasaki used: "the process of converting others to your belief, doctrine, or cause." Most likely, you have heard the term proselyte or proselytize connected with religion. While it is most commonly used in conjunction with religion, it is certainly a word that may be used in other circles. In our case, we're going to apply it to creative marketing.

"Proselytization, or evangelism, represents the core of branding for startups in today's highly competitive world, in which information is free, ubiquitous, and instantaneous. The art of branding requires creating something contagious that infects people with enthusiasm, making it easy for them to try it, asking them for help in spreading the word, and building a community around it." Guy Kawasaki

How do you apply this to shaved ice, snow cones, and cotton candy? It's not hard when you start thinking creatively. Guy goes on to list some product characteristics which will help generate the positive "buzz" that you want for your business.

1. Cool. Your product/company needs to look appealing.
2. Effective. Your product has to produce positive results. In our has to look good and taste good!
3. Distinctive. Your product has to be different and unique from that of your competitors. Signature flavors, unique combinations, different presentation...something creative.

There are more characteristics that he lists, but these three are the easiest and what I feel the most important ones that apply to concessionaires. These three characteristics are, I think, directly related to your products. There are several articles in the blog that touch upon using quality ingredients, excellent equipment, and unsurpassed customer service. I would encourage you to go back through some of the older articles and re-read some of those posts.

We have also touched upon ways to introduce your company to potential customers. Free Day is one of the best ways that we have found to create the 'evangelists' we're discussing now. Community involvement is another critical way to grow your business. Schedule fundraiser nights at your stand for Little League Baseball or Softball teams, a church youth group, Boys and Girls Club, the list is endless. This only leads to bringing in more and more people to your location, which ultimately will yield routine customers...some of whom will become the best advertising and referral tools your business will ever have.

In the past, we discussed the concept of rewarding those loyal customers through the use of loyalty cards. This is something that every customer enjoys. The idea of getting something for FREE is always appealing!

During your off season, I would encourage you to think about your products and what you can do to make them unique and appealing. Also think about strategies to increase the public's awareness of your business. Creative work in these areas of your business will yield long term customers and boost profits for your company. It's well worth the time invested!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Branding: What's Your Plan?

Branding is a critical component of any company's marketing strategy. Since the fall and winter are the off season for most concessionaires, I thought this would be a good time to put together some information on the subject of branding. My goal is that you will be able to use the off season to think about your own branding and how effective it is for your business. In doing this, you have some time before next season starts to work on new marketing strategies to effectively reach more customers.

In the past I have mentioned Guy Kawasaki here in the blog and recommended his book to you, "The Art of the Start." I still highly recommend that you purchase the book and read it. The following information about branding is taken from one of the chapters in his book. I want to take some of the points he makes and expound on them a little bit as they relate to concessionaires.

Guy brings out five major points that are critical to branding, 4 of which are well known, universal marketing principles. The fifth point that he brings in is what I think is extremely important to concessionaires.

1. Product
2. Place
3. Price
4. Promotion
5. Proselytization

Throughout the blog and in our business manual, Cold Cash, we discuss points 1 through 4 at length. However, we have only touched on a few ideas related to point number 5: Proselytization.

In the interest of not creating a HUMONGOUS article, I'm going to stop here and create a new article that solely discusses Guy's fifth point.


Monday, October 27, 2008

12 Volt Shaved Ice and Snow Cone Machines

Are you looking for a true, portable, powerful commercial shaved ice or snow cone machine? Well, your search is almost over! features 5 12v Shaved Ice machines and 3 12v Snow Cone Machines! These powerful, heavy duty machines are perfect those concessionaires who need to have completely portable set ups without worrying about an on-location power source. All of these machines will operate perfectly from a heavy duty, deep cycle battery.

So, if you need to have true portability in a shaved ice or snow cone machine, please visit for more information about these fantastic machines. Now's the perfect time to purchase one while our fall sale is running too!

Which Business Structure is Right for You?

Are you still in the planning stages of your concessions business? If so, have you thought about what type of business structure is the most advantageous for you? I would encourage you to visit the Small Business Administration website to review the different business structure options that are available.

The SBA website does a nice job of outlining each classification (Sole Proprietorship, Partnerships, LLCs, etc.). It discusses the pros and cons of each fairly in depth. Again, as you are planning your business, I would encourage you to start researching each of these business types so that you can choose the best for your situation. If you are an existing concessionaire, but contemplating a change in the ownership structure of your company, I believe you will find this information equally helpful for your situation too.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Snowballs in Dallas

As I've said in previous posts, I always think it's wise to read as much as possible about the experiences of other concessionaires whenever possible. It never hurts to look at the successes and creativity that other owners have experienced.

I found this article today in the Dallas Morning News archives about a snowball stand in the Dallas area. The article is from 2007, but the information is still useful. The article discusses customer favorites and also gives some general pricing information.

Check it out when you get a chance. Enjoy~~

Monday, October 20, 2008

Spruce Up Your Cotton Candy

Looking for a way to attract more attention to your cotton candy stand? Start making and selling two color cotton candy! offers the Twin Wind Two-Color Candy Machine. While it resembles many of our other high quality commercial floss machines, there actually are two spinning sugar compartments – each feeding its own heating element consecutively.

This high performance machine is a great way to create highly attractive, two color cotton candy. Order one today!

Make sure you also check out all of the different flavors and colors of floss sugar and concentrate that we offer. With so many different colors and flavors available, you will be able to create some unique combinations that will surely be a hit with your customers!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Good Resource for Special Events Vendors

If you own a concessions stand and enjoy working at various special events, you understand the value of having good resources for locating events. seems to have a pretty good events section that may be of interest to you. Events are listed by state and then by date.

I looked through a couple of the state listings and there seems to be a decent amount of events shown along with good contact information. The only drawback is that most of the events shown are limited to fairs...there are no listings shown for arts and crafts festivals or music festivals. But, you may find an event that will work out well for your schedule, so I still encourage you to check it out. It's a good resource!

An Important Little Item

If you are a shaved ice or snow cone concessionaire, you should always use nightcaps on your syrup bottles. These handy little items are an important "savior" for your flavors when your stand is closed or not very busy. Nightcaps are a simple way to keep ants and other bugs out of your syrup bottles.

Nightcaps are a small expense that yield very favorable results for stand owners. Go to and order some for your stand!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Cotton Candy in the News

I found this interesting bit of information while surfing around on cnet. Looks like paper, has a picture of cotton candy and tastes like cotton candy. Kind of interesting, huh?

If you're interested, click on the "Related Stories" to find out more about Homaro Cantu and his Chicago restaurant Moto.

If you're interested in making, selling, or eating REAL cotton candy, please visit us at!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Another Perspective on Shaved Ice

I always enjoy reading the thoughts and observations other people have about shaved ice. I found this post this evening and thought it was a good one to share. The pictures she includes of her "adventures with Taiwanese shaved ice" are awesome. Tasty and mouth-watering are the words that initially come to mind for me!

Check out the full article here. Be sure to read the comments too. All in all, it is just good insight from a shaved ice customer's perspective.