Josh Linkner
 |  Detroit Free Press Business Columnist

Melissa Tavss grew up in the ice cream business. Her family had been making gelato for years, first in Italy and later in the U.S. It was possible to eek out a living selling traditional ice cream in the old country, but the modern competitive landscape was giving Tavss some major heartburn.

How could she stand out from the pack and create a unique and memorable product? Ben & Jerry’s already had funky flavors, and Haagen-Dazs already captured the demand for decadence. To make her mark, Tavss had to inject a dose of creativity that would really grab attention. Her solution: Booze-infused ice cream.

Today, Tavss leads the highly successful and rapidly growing Tipsy Scoop Boozy Ice Cream Company. The company offers more than 30 flavors of alcohol infused deliciousness such as Cake Batter Vodka Martini, Raspberry Limoncello Sorbet, and Dark Chocolate Whiskey Salted Caramel. She has two retail stores called BAR-lours (Manhattan and Brooklyn), sells in dozens of retailers including Whole Foods, and has a significant mail-order business, shipping boozy ice cream throughout the country.

In business and life, too many of us gravitate toward vanilla. We dilute the potency of our ideas in an effort to play it safe, only to realize that the world really doesn’t want another bowl of plain vanilla anything. What customers crave — and will pay handsomely for — is originality. Mango Margarita Sorbet is certainly more attention-grabbing than your basic boring butterscotch. Whether your business is ice cream, car insurance, or industrial supplies, it’s time to spike your offering with a dash of creativity in order to stand out and soar.

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While the actual alcohol content is under 5%, the unique infusions have helped Tipsy Scoop enjoy massive growth. In addition to their core ice cream business, they now offer cocktail kits, cookbooks, merchandise, cooking classes, and corporate catering. Without the extra splash of creativity, there’s simply no way a run-of-the-mill ice cream parlor would savor such success.

Let’s ask ourselves — what’s a small dash of creativity that we could add to our products, services, processes, corporate culture, production or distribution? How can we spike our own businesses with a smidge of imagination in order to enjoy a disproportionally large boost in results? Fortunately, it only takes a tiny infusion to boldly stand out in our otherwise vanilla world.

It’s time to tap into that keg of creativity that’s long been sitting dormant. Place your current offerings into a martini shaker, add a single creative twist, shake vigorously, and serve over ice. It turns out that the littlest flourishes can yield the biggest results.

Please create responsibly.

Josh Linkner is a tech entrepreneur, New York Times bestselling author and keynote speaker. For information, visit joshlinkner.com.



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