Party Professor – July 2020


Unintended Outcomes

Opportunities & Helping Customers Find Their Way Back to You

Beth Standlee 0319

Beth Standlee

By Beth Standlee, CEO, TrainerTainment

Since mid-March, we have worked with FEC owners in a “Peer Talk” video conference every Wednesday at 1 p.m. Central time. In my company, we had the feeling that all of us could be supported if we had the opportunity to talk to one another.

Early on, I made a commitment to be on the lookout for unintended outcomes. We’ve never been here before so, how can anyone know what to expect? With that in mind, I decided not to make anything worse than it was. I know losing 95% of revenue (that was our case at Trainer­Tain­ment) is disheartening and that everyone who had to close was losing 100% of their revenue. But like many, I thought, “This is temporary.” Who knew temporary could last so long?

In looking for unintended outcomes, we structured a way to think about the good that could come from starting over. My friend Bart Burger said, “We get a second chance to make a first impression.” That’s really cool when you think about it. Here was an opportunity to do everything you wish you had done before, but didn’t have the time. We have seen so many owners rebuild, clean, create, rest, dream, scheme and more.

With our business coaching program, we are always begging leaders to take time to work on their business rather than focus on staying caught up in the everyday. That’s the only way to make real sustainable progress. It feels like many folks took advantage of the time to take a leap that might never had been possible.

One of the things we’ve talked about at Peer Talk is the fact that this is just like a grand opening except you have a ton of experience. You know how to run the business. You already have loyal customers or clients. It’s as if we have a running start at how to get it right.

Now the truth of the matter is, the public must regrow its confidence. The consumer is complex. Some are cautious (and should be), some have no fear and everyone else is somewhere in between. This isn’t different than any other sound marketing experiment. (See the graphic.) You have the early adopters who can’t wait to get back to you. The owners we talk with experience 12% to 18% of prior year sales. Over the next two to four weeks, the early majority will trickle in and most businesses will see 25%-50% of prior year sales. It remains to be seen how quickly businesses can get back to where they were. Many predictors are talking about late majority recovery coming in either late Q4 or early 2021.

The rose-colored glasses I wear make me refuse to accept the 2021 thing; the businesswoman who runs the company will nevertheless plan accordingly. It’s tough to have multiple personalities!

Hopefully, by the time you read this article, your business is open and guests are clamoring to get in the door. This is no time for fear. Difficult decisions will need to be made every day. This is not a time to rely on “open and they will come.” Here are four steps you could take today to help the mainstream market get back to you sooner than later:

1. Accept the fact that your community will require an invitation to come out and play. You need video, marketing and sales to communicate your message often.

2. Be visible! Use social media to share with others the clean, healthy fun that’s going on in your center.

3. Invite small groups to your center. It’s likely schools won’t do field trips or that schools might still look wonky in the fall. So, create Family Field Trip Days.

4. Companies may continue utilizing virtual workspaces which means they aren’t able to get together like they have in the past. Potentially, the company party/event is going to be more important than ever. You need to invite them to get together at your place!

In closing, I want to encourage you. This is a now normal time. What will you do to create unintended outcomes that improve your life, your business and the lives of the people you serve?


Beth is the CEO of TrainerTainment LLC, a training company devoted to the family entertainment and hospitality industries. Beth and her team are focused on helping the companies they serve to make more money through sales, guest service, leadership and social media marketing training. Training products and services are delivered in person, through books and DVDs, and virtually with e-learning courses, webinar development and 24/7 online access. Visit her company’s website at



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