Life After an Investment
As they say in entrepreneurial circles, if you’re not having fun in business, you’re doing something wrong. For Glenn Street, an EO Calgary member and Topdog of Street Characters, Inc., fun is a key factor in his entrepreneurial success. When he’s not creating mascots for professional sports teams, Glenn is exploring new ways to give customers what they want (before they know they want it). We sat down with Glenn to discuss client management, setting expectations and the magic of mascots.
GS: Like with any business, the secret is knowing what the client truly needs. In my industry, I’ve learned that a mascot has to be lightweight, durable, consistently cool inside and easy to maintain and maneuver in. Most importantly, though, it has to be safe by having sturdy footing, visibility and nothing inside that’s potentially harmful.
GS: Many teams want a fierce and menacing mascot, but that’s really the wrong direction. I always tell them, ‘Think about who your favorite mascot is. I bet it’s a fun, cartoonish character!’ They always agree. The NHL’s Calgary Flames, for example, had a crowd that was mostly over the age of 50, so you wouldn’t expect a mascot to work. However, their season ticket survey consistently revealed that the crowd’s favorite thing after the hockey was the mascot. We make sure we have at least one new thing to show audiences at every game, so there is always that element of surprise to anticipate. Regardless of your business, giving people what they want before they know they want it, and with an element of surprise, is a great step toward ensuring your client’s happiness.
GS: After not hearing from a client when the mascot unveiling went by, I called and discovered that they couldn’t use what we had built because they had changed their team logo. Although I was already paid, I wanted to ensure that they could eventually use it. So, we repurposed the mascot to fit the new identity at no cost, as long as they promised to cover the shipping. A few months later, when I was in the same client’s office, he thanked me for saving his job. Now, whenever a prospect asks, ‘What happens if we’re not happy with the look?’ I direct them to call Jeff. One prospect who knew him called back laughing and said, ‘Jeff said I’m an idiot if I deal with anyone else!’ Sometimes going that extra mile helps, and this turned out to be the cheapest advertisement I’ve ever paid for.
GS: I’ve learned how to be a great leader by developing a strong culture that gives my artists freedom, but also accountability. By sharing the weekly financials, for example, the team understands their direct impact on the company’s performance, and that job security equals happy customers. It was a presentation by Cameron Herold and Brian Scudamore—founders of 1-800-GOT-JUNK?—at a University years ago, though, that helped me put my business on steroids. Had I not attended that EO event, I don’t think I’d be in business today!
GS: As a ‘University Junkie,’ I would say that after witnessing countless after-hours experiences with members, EO already has several mascots … but I’m not prepared to name names!