Have an Idea? Have a PARTY!


I’m from the south, if there’s one thing we know how to do right, it’s to have a party. When a rival team plays at LSU and causes an earthquake (hints the name ‘Death Valley’), we have a party. We don’t just start a fast, we have what’s called Fat Tuesday and when a Hurricane comes into town, we have a Hurricane party (and another one when it’s over). So obviously when I had the idea of having a salad dressing — I had a party.

Get Real Feedback — The Idea Party.

When I was experimenting with the idea of making a salad dressing, I didn’t spend a ton of cash hiring focus groups or sending my dressings off to a lab to be tested — I had a party.

I picked the top 3 recipes that I came up with, some with wild ingredients and had people vote with their fork — then I took the winning recipe to the local farmer’s market and it was a big hit.

Tips on having an Idea Party

  • Invite everyone you know; friends, family, neighbors, dogs, etc.
  • Encourage guest to bring a guests, especially if they don’t know you.
  • Have them vote in a private room so that other people can’t cloud their judgement.
  • Use digital forms like Wufoo or Poll Daddy (both free) to have them leave feedback on their favorite and to leave a comment — preferably something good and something bad. Plus, this gives you live feedback at the end of voting to tell everyone what the winner is.
  • Piggy-back it on top of family events (I’m sure my family hates me doing this), I always have a bunch of concoctions for everyone to try on kids birthday parties, Thanksgiving, or Christmas. Plus, you never know who knows who until you tell someone an idea — they could be buddies with Richard Branson.
  • Have food and drinks, just be sure the drinks come after the voting process.

Ready to test the market? Have a Launch Party.

hanleys-launch-party 709

When I first had the idea to make salad dressing, I just put the date in the calendar and circled it. That was my goal, to of arrive to the market — and what better way to do that than to have a Launch Party. Although I didn’t have my dressing on the shelf by my launch party as intended, I did get it on a week later and promoted it at the launch party. Now, we’re in over 160 stores in 5 states and have made over 80,000 bottles by hand! If I can do it, you can do it.

So if you have an idea for something, I challenge you to have a party: Talk with it amongst friends/family, circle the date in the calendar, and have a party of a lifetime.


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