What does Tim Hortons teach us about luck and careers?

It is that time of year again – RRRoll up the Rim.
I have bought a lot of coffees, yet I still don’t
have a new car, not even a donut! Don’t feel too bad
for me, or for Tim Hortons. They just sold off
15% of the company and raised $800 million US, not a
bad return for a company that was purchased for $500
million 11 years ago. What’s that – about a 1000%
return? Sure beats a savings account!

One of the key brains behind the Tim Hortons brand
was Ron Buist. Ron was the head of marketing for the
company for 24 years. He joined the firm in 1977,
when they had a chain of 50 stores. When he retired
in 2001, Tim Hortons could boast over 2000 stores.

Ron was responsible for creating many innovative
campaigns, including “RRRoll up the Rim”. Prior
to his job at Tim Hortons, Ron was working for Blacks
Photography. He read a magazine article featuring an
interview with Ron Joice – Tim Hortons’ CEO at the
time. In the article, Joice mentioned that they were
looking for a new marketing agency. Ron Buist called
him up just for the heck of it, and, three weeks later,
was hired as the head of marketing.

In 1985, Buist was looking for ways to help with the
seasonal ebb and flow of the business. He was visiting
with representatives from Tim Hortons’ cup
manufacturer, and noticed that when the cup was laid
out, it had a white space. He asked the manufacturer
if they could print on this space. The answer was
sure, but why would he want to print on it when you
couldn’t see what was printed unless the rim was rolled
down?

That penny (I mean twoonie!) made a big drop in Ron’s
head. He said; “The most simple things in life are
the most successful.”
Lots of free donuts and
2400 franchise stores later, it would seem that a lot of
people have won in this deal.

The thing that most impressed me was Ron’s ability
to “see” opportunity. It was how he got the job, and it
was the key to seeing things that pretty well most
others missed, or didn’t bother with. Opportunity is
waiting – we just need to do something about it. I
wonder how many prizes have been missed because
the person didn’t bother to rrroll. Try it – it really does
work!