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Hot Dogs and Dreams

Greetings from Maine!!

This week, we are taking a quick break from our summer blog series, Delegation for Entrepreneurs. I have a quick story to share on an inspiring, unexpected entrepreneur and the lessons we can take from his business!

This August, as we do each August, my family and I spent the month on the coast of Maine. In our last few days traveling back to NJ we stopped at our favorite Maine cities along the way, one of which was Portland. Portland reminds me so much of the gorgeous views of San Francisco-- old sea captain homes situated right on the curvy coastline overlooking the ocean, with a bustling downtown below.

There are great shops, restaurants and boutiques along with numerous street vendors- selling everything from beautiful watercolors, to sea glass jewelry, to quick bites to eat. Our topic of this post, Perry of Perry's Sidewalk Cafe was one of those street vendors, but as I will explain, he left quite the impression on this entrepreneur!

Perry, pictured below sells more than hotdogs from his food truck. This is a quick example of someone completely passionate about his work, someone who truly grasps the concept that he is doing more than selling hot dogs on a busy street in Portland in August.

First, he was committed to delivering quality and stood behind his work. He chose only the best products- jumbo Hebrew National hotdogs, served on warm fresh baked crusty rolls, all grilled right there on his truck, the smell wafting above all the lobster joints surrounding him. Obsessed with his craft, he also grills Italian sausage and fresh kabobs-- just check out his facebook page for up close shots of his delectable menu offerings!!

Next, he knew how to differentiate himself and speak right to his target market- out of town vacationers who are willing to pay top dollar for a superior product and still be able to roam the streets of Portland with ease. Why settle for a gross, small boiled hot dog from the guy up the street, when you could get the best for only a few dollars more?

He kept it simple with constant up sells. Who wouldn't want a cold fresh squeezed lemonade to go with their grilled dog; or a Coke served in an old-school bottle... and hey, bring your cup back later, refills are only a dollar! Add some chips, try my special relish- or maybe you'd like a fresh kabob instead?

Finally, what I found most compelling about his work, and the reason for this post: he intentionally engaged with his happy customer in the process. He wasn't just selling hotdogs, he was selling memories. He consistently asked each customer if he could grab a picture of them enjoying their food- tripod and everything to post on Facebook. Share it with your friends!! Perry has created a visual memory for all of your friends to see of your time spent in Portland.

His passion for his work shines through all that he does from intially engaging the customer to interacting with them post-sale. You can tell even at first glance that this guy LOVES what he does- he's in the zone baby (as I like to say!)! When's the last time you remember buying a hot dog from a vendor who could not contain their excitement for what they were selling you?

What lessons from this happy, passionate business owner can you apply in your own business?

Be sure to visit Perry on his Facebook page and get a taste for his work!

***

Next up... we're finishing up the last two posts in our Delegation for Entrepreneurs summer blog series. I sat with Jennifer Smith of Growth Potential Consulting to discuss delegation and leadership. More specifically, we discussed strategies to manage delegated tasks with your team, ways to engage your team in your vision for your company and how to gracefully navigate the shift from solopreneur to team leader. She shared some awesome insights on a topic that valuable but lacking from the delegation conversation. Look for that shortly!

PS: Jennifer is running a virtual book club next month on Excellence in Leadership. All are welcome, learn more and signup here: http://www.growthpotentialcons.com

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