As winter settles in across the Midwest, we entertainers all find ourselves with extra time on our hands. The days of 12-hour Saturdays are mostly behind us, as pumpkin festivals and Halloween parties give way to hibernation and preparation for the Holiday Season. While we’re never happy to have less work, our more available schedules do provide opportunities that aren’t available in the summer. Training of new performers is often conducted in winter, so that they are up to speed when Spring and the 2015 busy season come upon us again.New products can be developed, new shapes can be learned, and new connections can be made. Rather than hibernate under the snow, I have three new projects I plan to undertake this winter.
A Balloon Show – Adding to our product line
A huge majority of my entertaining is making balloons for individual kids. I do some events where I have a group of kids that are all watching and waiting for a balloon, such as daycares and small birthday parties. I’ve developed some jokes and activities that make the kids laugh and enjoy their time. Next summer, I want to offer a deluxe birthday package that includes an entertaining show that integrates some larger and fancier balloons. Public events such as the local Farmers Market and 4th of July festivals would also be a great place to do a show. A script is in the works- keep an eye out for an awesome show!
New Balloon Animals – Adding to our product quality
Another big part of being an awesome balloon artist is having an extensive repertoire and portfolio. My repertoire is wide, as I’m able to create almost anything out of balloons. In fact, I regularly encourage the kids to try to stump me or to ask for anything that they want. My repertoire does not have depth to match its width. I can make a lot of complex and fancy balloons, but my ability to freestyle complex 5+ balloon creations has room for improvement. Learning a handful of intricate designs can take a balloon artist a long way, especially if he or she is able to transplant several design techniques from one creation to another. Learning a complex tiger head can lead to breakthroughs in lions, cats, and other animals.
Expand Web Development and Marketing Skills
As a proud businessowner who believes strongly in his product, my ideal marketing mix would be strongly based in word of mouth advertising. As a pragmatic businessowner who is always determined to improve performance, I began tracking how each client I acquired was reaching our business. I found that a significant and surprising portion are finding our business online. At first, I received this news with disappointment: why weren’t more people that saw us in the community hiring us for parties? As I expanded our online presence to match these findings, I began to realize two things:
1. Customers may love our performance and our faces without knowing our names
Many customers that request our presence online are familiar with some of our faces and recognize us upon our arrival at events. Additionally, several people have seen many of our balloon artists without associating all of us together. As a result, they may type “balloon twister” into Google when that idea was given to them after meeting us in the community. This leads to business for us when they see and recognize our name, or see one of our performers on our website.
2. We have a whole new market we never gave just consideration
If customers are searching for balloon artists rather than specific companies, that opens a door for potential business. By being more present online than competitors, an opportunity to expand our market arises. By focusing on bringing in these customers that are open to any company, we will further expand our web presence while also increasing demand for balloon artists and our word of mouth potential.
Extended use of search engine optimization and social media techniques will prepare the business for rapid growth in the summer. When balloon artists and entertainers are in higher demand, there will be more searches, more calls, more jobs, and less time to work on our skills and marketing. We have a ton of practice in entertaining families and excelling at our jobs. We’re going to do a great job this summer no matter what happens. How often we will get to showcase those skills is truly the most important factor, so in many ways our off-season is when our time is the most important!