Had a revelation about my business that can have a profound effect on profitability and productivity.
Being in the promotional business, I have access to no less than 3,000 different suppliers and over 750,000 product SKUs. The temptation to use any or all of them is strong.
Here’s the scenario that can get me into trouble. Customer has a vision for an upcoming project. I show them the possibilities that I have as standard offerings through my online shopsites. Um, isn’t quite matching their unrealistic vision. Let the wild goose chase begin! And, typically, they only need 500, maybe even 50 of the item. Not worth my time, though I’m concerned about “customer service.” But is this really service? Or am I providing these off-the-menu choices out of fear of losing sales and the opportunity to serve?
As small business owners, we have to remember this scenario is like Ford selling Chevys. Ludicrous, of course. Except for used cars, my auto dealer customers would never entertain the inquiry of a customer who wandered into the dealership asking to buy a new car from another manufacturer. Not only would it be detrimental to their brand, it would cost them more to service this business, too.
Building the discipline to say no to projects that are not doable or profitable is difficult, especially in a tough economy. But as I discuss in Business Competitive Advantage: A Handbook for Small Business Owners, Entrepreneurs and Consultants, it is often better to send these inquiries to competent competitors.
Maybe it’s better for you to stick to selling “Fords.”
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