*Have you ever noticed that whenever a new McDonald’s restaurant opens other businesses open around it?

Even if Mickey Ds isn’t the most popular fast food restaurant, its marketing philosophy has kept it among the most successful in its industry.

Just like the old 80-20 rule, twenty percent of McDonald’s customers account for eighty percent of the sales. The other eighty percent will purchase occasionally.

And that’s where those other businesses come into play. For a brick and mortar business the location is most important. Set up shop near a McDonald’s and there will be more than enough customer overflow to keep every business in the black.

You don’t have to have a brick and mortar business to think like a business owner. All you need is a product or service that’s in demand, follow the money and you too can experience the same success.

Take the Superbowl, for example: It’s a traveling franchise proven to be an economic boon for the host city. This year that city is Dallas, Texas. And although the Superbowl is one football game played on one Sunday, the weeklong festivities leading up to the big game will attract a half million visitors. Anybody who has a product or service to enhance that Suberbowl experience for those visitors is in a position benefit from it all.

One family travels to every Superbowl to sell t-shirts, caps and other souvenirs. Another guy follows the big game from one city to the next as a freelance limosine driver, because ballers want to ride in style. And because there aren’t enough hotel rooms in the area to accommodate an extra 500,000 people in town for the Superbowl, homeowners willing to rent their digs could profit thousands of dollars that week. It’s an opportunity to make more money in one week than some people make in a few months. I like to think of it as the game before game.

Motivational speaker Zig Ziglar (who happens live in Dallas) once said “If you help enough people get what they want, you will get all that you want.” And while I doubt he had Superbowl XLV in mind when he said it his words are indicative of the rare opportunity that is headed to Big D.

Marketers call it ‘riding the wave.’ It’s what Cellular One did with the car phone twenty-five years ago. It’s what the VCR was to Blockbuster Video thirty five years ago. The wave doesn’t last forever, but long enough to make it worth the ride. The Superbowl brings an economic wave valued at two to three billion dollars to a local economy. It’s like the Californina Gold Rush of the 1800’s: The people who supplied the picks and the shovels profited millions of dollars regardless of whether the people digging for gold found a nugget. It’s the same opportunity that’s headed to Dallas in less than twenty days. It’s the first Superbowl for Dallas, but if Cowboys owner Jerry Jones has his way it won’t be the last. So this could be the first of many Superbowl waves in north Texas.  

As with anything that has a price tag attached, some people choose to focus on the risk instead of the reward: What if nobody buys the t-shirts, nobody wants a limo ride or nobody wants to rent the house? All legitimate concerns. Except that for the past forty-four years t-shirts, limosines and yes, houses have been in demand during Superbowl week. And past performance is the best indication of future returns. Since somebody’s going to make billions of dollars that week anyway, why shouldn’t local residents get their cut? Or they could play it safe and sit at home and watch TV while somebody else rides the wave.

Steffanie is a freelance journalist living in the Dallas, Texas metroplex. Send questions, comments or requests for speaking engagements to Steffanie at [email protected]. And see the video version of her journal at youtube.com/steffanierivers.