Customers and quality: Get the boring stuff right in your business consistently, and grow your business
It’s not hard to sell more to your customers. Delivering your quality promise every day is hard.
Customers, marketing and Growth:
Predictability, consistency and quality is what your customers expect and it is the key to building and growing a beautiful business. Early in my days as a business coach I read a book by Jason Jennings: “It’s not the Big that eat the Small, it’s the Fast that eat the Slow.”
Besides the unwieldy nature of the title, it became one of my bibles. There are various chapters in the book that I have re-read several times and I often find myself quoting from the book to my clients.
But I’ve decided that Jason Jennings and I part company on one specific idea about business. The premise of the book is that in the modern world, small fast business always outcompetes big slow business. Mr Jennings uses a number of examples to illustrate that every time a big powerful Goliath of a business comes up against a nimble little David, the Goliath gets defeated time and again, and hence the book encourages small business to grow fast and stay nimble.
I’ve stopped believing in fast growth as a strategy. These days, I believe in the “Slow and Steady Wins the Race” principle. Consistent predictable quality is what convinces customers to knock down your door.
Growth comes from your customers when your quality is consistent
As I have written previously, growing your business is the easy part. If you do what you say you’re going to do, for the price you say you’ll charge, by the time you say you’ll do it, and do it with a smile, every time, consistently and predictably, your customers will find you and become your Raving Fans, and flock to your door… guaranteed. The hard part is consistency… under-promise and over-deliver… every time, and make a profit… every time.
It’s relatively easy to deliver on your promises, and control your costs and your income, when it’s just you and a really small team, but once you’re not actually doing the work of the business yourself anymore and you don’t meet every client and see every job and you don’t know how your staff are doing the work every moment of the day anymore, that’s when it becomes challenging to continue to deliver your four promises consistently and remain profitable.
Jane’s worried about the competition
I’ve written before about my client Jane whose business sells flowers online in little bunches (Read about Jane here). Jane’s has a unique business model and when I first started working with Jane, she was nervous, because she thought others might, steal her business model. She was keen to grow really quickly, expand into other markets around Australia and move to the UK, Europe and the USA in the shortest possible time.
I helped her to stop worrying and to slow down. When we started working, the business wasn’t profitable yet. A lot of details in the business needed ironing out yet, nearly all of them in operations and cost control.
Boring stuff, like finding new couriers and negotiating better rates, working with her staff to increase their productivity, improving the work environment, developing better online systems, implementing better financial control systems, simplifying the admin… consistency and quality.
Doing the boring stuff of consistent and predictable quality
None of it was very exciting, none of it got Jane’s creative juices flowing, none of it seemed important when seen against the threat of armies of competitors flooding in and taking away her markets.
And a bunch of different competitors did come into the Sydney market and at last count there have been three different competitors trying to get something similar off the ground in Melbourne.
But now, two years later, Jane’s business is consistently and predictably making close to $10K net profit every month (That’s after paying Jan and everyone else in the business a proper wage of course).
Because Jane knuckled down and dotted the I’s and crossed the T’s, all the boring stuff, and now the business is humming like a well-oiled machine. Everything that can be systemised is, from going to the flower markets, to making the bunches, to marketing, ordering, delivery and payment.
Jane’s customers love her business, the staff love working there, it’s growing steadily and the bank account is building steadily.
Making the competition irrelevant
The competition is irrelevant. Most of them started up and fell over again, or in any case are not heard from again. The ones that are still there are barely hanging in it seems. They haven’t dotted the I’s and crossed the T’s. If anything the competitors have prepared the other markets for the arrival of Jane’s business.
Jane will expand to Melbourne, and then she’ll make sure Melbourne runs like a consistent well-oiled machine and making money, before she opens in Brisbane, and so on.
That’s how you build a Fun Business that sustains you for years to come… Consistency… Slow and steady… I promise you.
Customers, Quality, Systems and the 7 Big Questions of Small Business
Business owners frequently ask 7 Big Questions about how to Build a Beautiful Business and Life.
The first of these Big Questions is: How do I grow my business?
To answer that question I have identified the 11 most important strategies to create Business Growth.
The seventh of those strategies is Grow your business with Customers. The eighth strategy is Grow your business with Systems. This article and others on this site, explains how Customers, Quality, Systems and Growth hang together, in some depth.
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