Hawaiian Punch

I love my work. Not a day goes by that I’m not inspired by the intrigue of what may be next in our rapidly changing business world.

My curiosity travels with me no matter where I may be. My wife Karen and I have just returned from a wonderful trip to the Hawaiian Islands. We enjoyed all the offerings the Big Island of Hawaii has to offer especially the Kailua Kona area.

Karen and I love the adventure of travel and never has there been a trip we have taken that hasn’t inspired us in some huge way business wise and personally.

The benefit of travelling to a familiar favourite area is the understanding of the lay of the land and having some personal favourite places to play, shop, eat and drink. This trip certainly didn’t disappoint in any of those categories.

Though this particular trip was pleasure based, I always embark on what I’ll call a “seeing and listening tour”. I allow my mind and senses to absorb my surroundings and always come away with some great “a-ha” moments to be used in my business world.

My biggest take away from this particular trip was the complete focus all the retailers in Kailua Kona area had regarding the products they carried, how they merchandised them and how they promoted them. Please understand The Island of Hawaii is huge, you can fit all the other Hawaiian Islands in this main Island and still have land left over. There is a very large local consumer base mixed with the tourists.

The retailers on the Big Island promote and retail what is popular for them and have this down to a science. You will find every big box store in the Kona area as you would on the mainland, Wal-Mart, Macys, Kmart, Costco etc. yet something is dramatically different.

What’s different you ask? Good question, it’s their inventory. These stores on the Island carry products that the culture and environment that surrounds them wish. They specialize in the food choices they sell, the clothing they retail, the home furnishings they promote, the motorbikes and automobiles they deal. These products all have purpose for the locals and tourists alike. You simply won’t find the same goods in Toronto, Los Angeles, Chicago or Vancouver, the Island is unique.

The point being, far too often Canadian and American mainland retailers get caught up and are sold or are told what to carry on their sales floors. Way too many retailers purchase the hot and trendy items at trade shows they frequent without even thinking about the relevance of the products in their States, Provinces, cities and towns. What is equally as bad are the “yes men & women” managers that don’t speak up loud and strong to their corporate head offices about what inventory should be or not be at their particular location.

Business in the now is all about being relevant and unique. The riches will go to those that stand to make a change, fortune favors the bold. Think about that over a Hawaiian Shaved Ice. Mahalo.