My family and I decided to explore the East Coast of Canada this summer. I have had the opportunity to explore a bit out there both when I was a child and more recently when Christina and I were asked to present to the NSAO. And yet, the experience of taking my own family there made it a completely new experience, changing my perspective from passive tourist to responsible tour guide!
One of everyone’s favourite adventures while we were there was Clam Digging. Run by a gentleman who has lived out there his whole life, we were blown away by the experience. The boat was so clean and set up for comfort and utility. There wasn’t a detail that wasn’t thought of. Granola bars and fruit were available along with drinks and coffee. Educational traps were set up in the ocean so we could learn about lobsters, oysters and crabs first hand. A swimming dock that attracted too many seals to count was placed out where our boat sailed past.
What struck me were all the extras, all the things that we weren’t expecting and delighted us to no end. When we finally came to the beach where we actually dug for clams, we were already feeling quite satisfied with the trip.
On the way back, my husband struck up a conversation with the owner, Perry, about his business. Perry was happy to share his thoughts, and said he is always trying to look at his businesses from a different perspective. How his Starfish Tours came to be was the most ingenious of all!
A few years back, Perry purchased a strip of shore to grow oysters. It is quite a process to grow them. It actually takes 2-3 years for oysters to grow to harvest size. After the first year, Perry noticed they had a problem. Starfish would wrap themselves around the oysters, essentially suffocating them. When the shells would open, the Starfish would eat their prize – and Perry’s profits!
His solution? He set up Starfish tours and charged tourists $40/per person to walk along his line of Oysters and pull off Starfish and throw them into the ocean. He turned an expense – hiring staff to manage this task – to a revenue generating opportunity!
His secret? Looking at a challenge as an opportunity. Back and refreshed from spending time with my family, I am also energized to think creatively about our business and the business of my clients. What could we do differently if we changed our perspective and saw our biggest challenge as our biggest opportunity? I am excited to explore the possibilities. I hope I, and Perry, have inspired you to as well.
is the co-founder and managing partner of Simple Innovative Management Ideas (SIMI) Inc. and expert Practice Management contributor for Optik magazine. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.