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Making Money Out of Thin Air - Marketing Gold Nuggets
From a Tour of California

by Adam Urbanski

During my recent vacation I tried very hard to completely forget about work. But while traveling throughout California I just couldn’t resist picking up a few marketing “gold nuggets.” I think you too will find them insightful.


While driving to one of our “destination locations” we were passing through a rather large city. It was dinner time and we (my wife and my two daughters) were starving. We decided to find a restaurant and grab a bite to eat. Well, this was easier said than done.

We exited the freeway several times at what seemed to be “main streets”, and drove in both directions. We tried asking some locals to point us in the right way - all in vain.

While we noticed a few “diners” along the way, they all looked old, abandoned and so uninviting we didn’t even want to risk trying their food. It was as if no one there ever ate out!

40 minutes later, frustrated and worn out by this fruitless search, we finally settled for a busy hamburger joint visible off the freeway.


If your business is not visible and attractive to your potential customers or clients you’ll always struggle to make ends meet.

You see, this city is located on major freeways, in the middle of nowhere and far away from any other places to stop and relax. I bet many people would gladly pull over and enjoy a moment of rest from the road and a good meal – if they were just invited to do so.

In your business are you making it easy for potential clients to find you? Can your prospects find your information in places where they are most likely to look for it first? Do your marketing materials, your business location and your personal physical appearance present an image adequate to attract the type of clients you want?


While walking the streets of San Francisco we noticed a large crowd looking at something on the opposite side of the street and bursting with laughter every few minutes. It took us a moment to spot the source of this excitement.

Across the street a man was hiding behind what looked like a tree branch or a large bush. He was squatting motionless and silent until an unsuspecting passerby was within a couple of feet of him. He would then jump up and shake the bush scaring those poor souls half to death, and the amused observers roared with laughter.

Every now and then the man would leave his “work station”, cross the street and “pass the hat” to get paid for his “performance”. In amazement I watched people drop dollar bills into this man's hat. It looked like his bizarre “profession” has earned him a very healthy hourly wage!


With a bit of creativity you too can generate new business out
of thin air – and it doesn't have to cost a fortune!

Give people what they want and they will gladly pay for it.

You see, this man gave the tourist a bit of street entertainment – and they were willing to reward him for his efforts.

The most dumbfounding part is that he was really creating money out of thin air. What he did didn’t require any special skills, and I’m sure he didn’t spend a fortune to acquire his “bush”.

In your business find out what your ideal clients want and give it to them. They will reward you with money and more business.

Too often entrepreneurs and professionals get discouraged by their limited financial resources. Instead, get creative. Some of the best promotional ideas do not have to cost you a fortune. Do something different. Dare to be bold and stand out – you are sure to get noticed.


While picking up tickets for a tour of Alcatraz, together with our receipt we received a postcard inviting us to a nearby restaurant. The person giving it to us pointed out the specials briefly described on the card and the fact that it included a coupon for a free appetizer.

After the tour I saw several people clutching their coupon cards and heading toward the restaurant.


You can quickly and inexpensively attract many
new clients by creating strategic alliances.

If you understand how your clients think and the predicament
they are in you can influence their decision

Too many small business owners and service professionals are Lone Rangers. By asking yourself questions about who your ideal customers or clients are, and who is already doing business with them you can identify lucrative strategic alliances.

Most tourists were confused by the many choices of the restaurants available in the area and would likely just make a random decision. Recognizing the problem, this restaurant increased their chances of earning new business by handing out the postcard invitations, the “endorsement” of the ticket clerk, and the free appetizer offer.

By creating a seemingly odd strategic alliance with a non-competing business serving the same clientele the restaurant ensured itself a steady flow of business. And the ticket clerk probably generated a nice extra income. You see, the card we received had the name of the person that handed it to us written on it. I’m sure the restaurant paid him a small fee for the business generated by his endorsement. How is that for a win-win?

So maybe the gold rush of California is over, but I hope that these marketing gold nuggets will help you build a more profitable business.

(c) 2004 Adam M. Urbanski


Adam Urbanski, the Marketing Mentor, helps Independent Service Professionals and Small Business Owners attract more clients. For more promotional tips and a FREE 32-page marketing guide go to

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