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Lessons from a Hot Fudge Sundae

November 8, 2012

If you live in the Northeast you treasure sunny 75 degree September days because they are  a gift. After attending three back-to-back stressful meetings one fall day, I found myself driving down a winding country road on my way home. In the distance was an ice cream stand. Knowing I deserved an ice cream for my skillful negotiation and management skills used at the meetings, I pulled into the ice cream stand’s driveway.

Waiting to serve me was a twenty year old man who was patient listening to me as I droned on about needing a dessert to decrease my stress. As I ordered my chocolate ice cream, chocolate fudge, with chocolate sprinkle sundae (they were tough meetings), he commented on my love for chocolate. As he went to put the cherry on top of the whip cream he said, “Wait a minute, I know what you’d love,” as he walked the cherry over to the hot fudge and dipped it to coat it. He said, “Hey, I just invented a new topping for our chocolate loving customers.” As I complimented him on his innovative and creative thinking I left him a two dollar tip for the three dollar sundae. We both departed content with the transaction.

It doesn’t take a lot to be innovative. It doesn’t take a lot to impress a client. It doesn’t take a lot to be a great customer service provider. It takes interest, attention and action.  I’m not sure this cute little ice cream stand will make millions of dollars offering chocolate covered cherries on all their hot fudge sundaes but innovation has to start somewhere.  How else would we have the E-Z Pass, the IPad, Google, and other fantastic products and services we can’t live without.  It starts by wanting to create something new. Being observant to what your customers are asking for; then producing the “new item” by actively putting time and money into creating it.

Today’s blog post is meant to inspire you to think about how you can become a more innovative entrepreneur. What ideas have been brewing inside you?  What frequent “problems” do your clients want you to solve that could mean a new product or service? What seems cutting edge in your industry that might turn some heads and get you noticed?

If you need a little inspiration to get you going, stop by a great ice cream stand that sells hot fudge sundaes with innovative chocolate dipped cherries to help you on your way.

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