Deal or No Deal: How Would You Spend the Banker’s Money?

Admittedly prime time television must have soured in mid-December when I found myself repeatedly watching the Small Business Owner edition of Deal or No Deal on Wednesday evenings. Unlike the original version of the show, this one features no lovely, leggy ladies with briefcases. Instead the contestants as well as the briefcase models are all real business owners. At the beginning of the show, one lucky business owner gets to compete while the others cheer him or her on.

If you’ve seen the original edition of the show, you know how the rest works. But this little twist is what held my interest.

Each business owner would talk about their dreams and aspiration for investing their winnings in their business. Of course every one wanted the million dollar suitcase but even the $25,000 case had the ability to significantly impact their business.

Smartly HP tagged on as a show sponsor for a $5k briefcase, recognizing the value of this very targeted audience. As a marketer, I started thinking of other sponsors that would benefit from a similar involvement — Staples, Kinko’s, Capital One — but it is the exercise of deciding how to spend the winnings that merits further discussion here and has generated fodder among my clients.

If a million dollar prize would allow you to double your payroll, would you take the gamble and see if you could get and maintain the incremental sales required to pay their salaries in year 2? Would a half million dollar prize allow you to purchase that new office condo you’ve dreamed of? Could $250,000 allow you to take a gamble on a new product line? Would $100,000 allow you plow all of your revenues back into the business for a year instead of taking a salary? Might $50,000 afford you the training you need to increase your rates? With $10,000 could you hire the patent attorney you need to protect your design?

The hypotheticals could of course go on and on. The importance of this exercise is having the confidence and the creativity to dream. While it is unlikely that you’ll ever be presented with the banker’s briefcase, any day could bring you the opportunity to spend a similar windfall if you’re prepared to ask for it.

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