Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Prepare to Stand Out (or, To Stand Out...Prepare!)

Jonah Sandler (L) with
Mike Boyd
Recently I had the opportunity to meet Jonah Sandler, CEO of Scene75 in Dayton, Ohio, which opened in 2012 to great fanfare as the largest indoor entertainment center in the United States.

That fanfare was no accident. It was the result of Sandler’s painstaking planning and carefully crafted marketing plan.

He documents the story in his book, Before the Doors Opened, which explains his journey from would-be corporate executive to innovative entrepreneur. His secret? Sandler used social media to create a viral campaign of word-of-mouth advertising, to the point that Scene75’s Facebook page had more than 20,000 likes before the business had even opened.

It’s a fascinating story. In fact, Jonah’s success with Facebook led to his being invited to speak at Facebook’s Global Sales Meeting in 2013, and to serve on their inaugural Small and Medium Business Council, advising Facebook on the development of its marketing tools.

What’s remarkable is that Jonah used Facebook posts and advertisements to promote his business for several weeks before he ever saw one customer walk through the door. He used those posts and ads to create interest and desire among potential customers, to the point that they were counting the days until Scene75 opened its doors.

Jonah’s story is a sterling example of how important it is to plan ahead, whether it’s in business or in life. Too often we allow ourselves to be tossed around by events that are out of our control, rather than creating our own plan and increasing our chances of success.

To truly stand out, we have to be willing to think and act differently than the rest of the crowd. That’s what Jonah did, and today’s he’s not only running Scene75, he’s busy scouting locations for additional indoor recreation centers. You can bet that, when he decides to expand, those new locations will benefit from the same planning and forward thinking that led to Scene75’s runaway success.

You can order Jonah’s book on It’s a quick read, only 80 pages. But it’s full of inspiration and wisdom. More important, it’s an example of what a difference planning and determination can make. I recommend it highly.

MIKE BOYD is president of Creative Source. Clients looking for sign companies in Canton, Ohio
and the surrounding region look to Mike and his staff for creative marketing solutions.