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08 Nov 2018

What I Learned From Fireworks in a Village

Last Friday, I went to see some fireworks. This wasn’t a big city fireworks display. It was in a village and was put on by the local Scout group. The thing is it was far more impressive and enjoyable than you might expect from a Scout group in a village. They’d also got various fairground-style attractions in, such as a hot food van, a doughnut and sweet seller, four of those trampoline/bungee things, and more. There was a huge bonfire. The fireworks display itself was excellent.

Village fireworks

I chatted to a few of the locals. Apparently, the Scout group often does fundraising like that, and it seems they do quite well. As Scout groups go, they’re very well-funded.

To put it in business terms, they’re profitable.

Obviously, they had a few advantages. I wouldn’t imagine the football club made them pay for the use of the grounds or facilities, for example. The fact remains though that a bunch of volunteers – most of who probably have full-time jobs – organised an event, that was enjoyable, profitable, and went off without a hitch.

  • They weren’t offering a unique product or specialised service.
  • They don’t have high-paid staff or a big budget.
  • They didn’t do niche marketing or a clever campaign.
  • They didn’t use any tricks or gimmicks.

They simply did the hard, boring work, gave a group of people what they wanted, and made sure it was good.

I think there’s a business lesson there. Being a volunteer organisation with limited funds and time, the Scouts couldn’t afford to get distracted by the latest clever idea or gadget. They didn’t need a fancy entry and ticket system, two people and a bucket full of change was enough to get the job done.

Yes, of course, there’s a whole lot more to the discussion. It might be a problem if the entrance to a business event was two people and a bucket full of change. This fireworks display was the only one in the village, so they didn’t have to worry about competitors (although I think that actually makes the effort they went to more impressive). However, the core principle is the same.

They concentrated on ensuring their foundation was solid before anything else.

That’s essential for a business. Without putting in the hard work on that solid foundation, then your marketing, advertising, or really planning of any kind isn’t going to get you very far.


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