caine´s arcade

Just a few days ago one of my Facebook friends posted a link to the story of 9 year old entrepreneur Caine Monroy who built an elaborate cardboard arcade inside his dad’s auto part store. With the words:

“This. Story. Is. Awesome! If you haven’t heard of Caine’s arcade, you’ve got to check this out. [URL] Go Caine!”

So I thought I’d take a look. And you know what? It was awesome.

But when I came to show the video to my wife,  I couldn’t remember the URL, so I went to Google and typed in “Caine’s Arcade” and I was stunned at the number of links, over 4.9m of them, especially from media sources like the Huffington Post, Forbes and NBC.

Everybody is talking about Caine and his arcade.

And so they should , as it’s a heart warming story about a young boy, the power of the Internet and a flash mob. If you’ve not one of the 3m others who have seen the video, you can check that out here:

Caine’s Arcade from Nirvan Mullick on Vimeo.

So, are there any lessons that the savvy business entrepreneur can take from Caine and his arcade? Yes, Caine is a 9 year old boy but he has lessons for entrepreneurs young and old.

Here are 7 business lessons you can take from Caine

1. Have a passion
2. Total commitment
3. Execution
4. Create an unbeatable offer
5. Innovation
6. Create a brand
7. Create a movement

1 . Have a passion

Like many other 9 year old boys, Caine loves arcade games. So passionate about arcade games in fact, that he was inspired to build his own. So lesson for all entrepreneurs is before you start to build a business, product or service, have a passion for your subject.

Secondly, Caine built the arcade for him, not to satisfy anyone else.  He wasn’t targeting a demographic. He didn’t do market research, he did what he wanted to do. Ultimately his passion for his arcade paid off as it was this passion that inspired Nirvan Mullick to become a customer and subsequently make the film and organise the flash mob and Facebook campaign.

2. Total commitment

Even though Caine’s dad’s auto part store was located in East L.A. and had very little passing traffic, it didn’t deter Caine from adding new games to his arcade or working on tidying the place. He was totally committed to building up his arcade and making it the best he could.  He didn’t give up. He kept on working on his passion.

How many times have you thought about giving up? Total belief in his arcade is what every entrepreneur needs to be successful. If you don’t believe in your product or service, why should anyone else?

3. Execution

When Caine’s told his dad he wanted a claw game he was thinking of buying one. But then he decided to make his own. Making his own claw and lowering it on a piece of string into the box. He had a problem and he overcame it. That’s a big lesson for all entrepreneurs. When you’re faced with a problem, figure out how to solve it, then go and do it.  Execute, Execute, Execute.

4. Create an unbeatable offer

When asked by his only customer how much it was to play a game, Caine told him that it was $1 for 4 goes or $2 for a one month fun pass.”how many goes do you get with a fun pass?” “500” came the reply. No surprise he bought a fun pass. Ignoring he commerciality of the offer for a moment,  the value to the buyer is so compelling that the customer just had to buy.

What can you offer the client which will compell them to buy from you?

Back to the offer. Was it such a crazy offer?  Given that the cost (mainly caine’s time) had already been spent on making the arcade, there is very little extra cost in delivering 1 game or 50. Given that most people probably wouldn’t use the 500 play fun pass, the offer to trade up for effectively $1 generates additional income, without additional costs. In other words pure profit.

5. Innovation

When Caine introduced the fun pass he wanted to ensure that customers weren’t ripping him off, so he added a calculator to the side of each of the games in the arcade. Each fun pass came with a “PIN” written on it which the player had to type into the calculator and press the square root sign. The resulting number determined whether the fun pass was genuine or not.

Taking a simple idea and using it in an innovative way, will help grow your business.  Business that excel tend to innovate and adapt regularly. Which is why you should be constantly seeking new ways to do things better than the competition, better, faster or cheaper are the key areas to focus on in targeting innovation in your business.

6. Create a brand

Caine named his arcade after himself: Caine’s Arcade. Nothing fancy but a consistent brand which conveys what he does and adds the personality of Caine. He extends this with his customised polo shirts.

What does your business name say about you?

7. Create a movement

Ok. So creating a movement is not strictly something a business owner can  generally do themselves. This is because to create a movement you need an idea that people can get behind and easily share. Of course, some things are more shareable or inspire a common interest than others (eg a sports team) and therefore more like to inspire a movement, whether that’s physical (in the form of customers, fans or flash mobs) or virtual via the likes of Twitter and Facebook.

According to Seth Godin, no one spreads an idea unless:

a) they understand it
b) they want it to spread
c) they believe that spreading it will enhance their power (reputation, income, friendships) or their piece of mind
d) the effort necessary to send the idea is less than the benefits

So, what can you do to make you idea more spreadable?

Is your your story shareable? What can you do to make it more shareable? Is there anything unique about it which make’s it interesting or maybe you’ve managed to achieve something despite the odds?

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