Business Lessons from a Candy Shop


I recently went into a candy shop (sweet shop in the UK)… they had all the sweets from the 80′s and 90′s and there must have been over 150 jars of different types of candy.

After a few minutes of searching, I saw a jar hidden at the back corner of the top shelf, it contained something called “Cream Soda”, a white powder, that looked like it could be used as fake drugs in movies.

Anyway, I recalled eating this stuff when I was a child, so I purchased some, and the shop owner said to me “that is weird, loads of people have been buying this today”.

I thought to myself: “It might be worth moving it from the back corner of the top shelf, you would sell more”.

Now, the shop owner made a mistake that many business owners make… you see, if something is making you money, you should do more of it. I have no idea why the Cream Soda was hidden away on a backshelf, it should have been on the counter for everyone to see.

In fact, this is a critical component in being successful online or offline, simply test numerous techniques, and if it doesn’t work, stop doing it, if it almost works, see if you can optimise it, and if it works, do more of it (and optimise it).

Einstein said that madness is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.

Also, I was at a seminar recently with Bill Glazer, and one of the speakers mentioned that he knew of a guy who was making good money by selling corporate gifts… he generated 100% of his income from sending a large brochure once per year. The expert said to the guy, “have you considered sending it twice per year?” and that almost doubled his business.

So take a lesson from my local candy shop, find what works, then do more of it, find what doesn’t work, and do less of it.

It is pretty simple really, but so many people don’t do this (I am also guilty of it at times).


  • Ernesto Verdugo

    Very Good Point Dean!

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  • Diane

    Identifying what works with a web only business is surely trickier? What’s the best way of analysing? Is it google analytics?
    I’ve never used their advanced segmentation – whcih apparently allows you to Isolate and analyze subsets of your traffic with a fast interactive segment builder.
    What do you recommend for the easiest way of analysiing what traffic works?

    And does cream soda powder taste just like the drink?

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  • Liane YoungBlogger

    “Find what works, then do more of it, find what doesn’t work, and do less of it.”

    Sounds like logic to me. But it’s absolutely true. Why exert so much effort to something that doesn’t work right? Logic. Logic. Logic.

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  • Craig Dewe

    Maybe it was selling so well because it was hidden and looked like drugs… and someone created a viral rumour that you could find drugs hidden in the candy store if they looked hard enough.

    I think he should split test before making any rash decisions ;)

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  • Frederik

    Interesting. I forget about this kind of fact for myself sometimes! @Craig: It would be easier to just put the candy in front for everybody to see it AND leave it hidden, so the rumour still works :-)

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