Conway Daily Sun
By Michael Kline
Sometimes. We live in a world of alternatives. The ugly truth is you do not need to be the best in the world, or make the best product in the world. You only need to be better than the alternatives available to your
First, if you are not very good at something, success may require you to be even better than your current best. “How can I make myself/my business better?” is the big question you need to ask yourself. Next, you need to know three things really well. You need to know your competition, know yourself and know your target customer. By the way, if you are an employee, then consider your competition to be others who could do your job, while your boss and
co-workers are your customers.
Research your competitors –they may have gotten better or worse in recent years. To know yourself may be hardest of all. Hire a secret shopper, or better yet, really listen to customer and employee feedback. Some of us need to be way easier on ourselves, and some much harder on ourselves and face some facts. To know your target customer, understand you can’t be everything to everyone. Be sure you can explain who wants your product, why they want it, and why they want it from you.
If you offer no point of differentiation, why do you exist? Maybe just being there is good enough. Convenience, location, price, quality all figure into the mix. If you have a gas station or a restaurant on the turnpike for instance, perhaps your location is what makes your business good enough. You can offer generic products and poor service at high prices; it is almost expected. If you’re making your numbers and that is your only goal, then it appears you are good enough. The problems appear when the economy slows and people get more demanding with their dollars. Do you have any loyalty? Have you built relationships with people or just cash flow? Or if you make your living from tourist dollars, will locals support you in the off-season?
You will have to consider your goals. Is your goal to pay the bills through the next quarter or to build repeat business for a lifetime? Is personal pride a factor? Is setting an example for your employees, neighbors and children important? When you know what you really want, why you do what you do in the first place, only then can you define what is good enough. Once you’ve set the bar at the height you want, then that is your new definition of good enough – good enough to meet your goals, is all you need. There is no need to make your service or product of such high quality that no one in your marketplace could afford to buy it. You only need to know your goals, and offer your service or product to be good enough to achieve your goals. Considering the trade-offs for customer taste and demand, price, convenience, quality, relationships, guarantees, etc., you need to be competitive with the alternatives in your marketplace.
Remember though, you need to really be honest and know what you are delivering. If you think you have it exactly right, then your host/receptionist/desk clerk/server/technician/etc. turns people off at the front door, your business is no longer good enough. If you have everything perfect, but the consumer no longer wants what you offer, your business is no longer good enough. And of course if your competitor is faster, cheaper, smarter, cleaner or friendlier, your business is not good enough. Given the continued existence of mediocrity in the world, it appears that good enough is in fact, good enough at least some of the time. Given the high failure rate of business, it appears a lot of businesses were in fact, not good enough. Given the rate of change happening in the world, the definition of good enough will change tomorrow anyway. Given the amazing rewards of a job well-done, it would appear that there is always a better way to do what is already good enough. Be the first to take what is good enough and make it a little better. Let’s all commit to setting our bars a little higher on what we call good enough, and make everything in our lives at least that good.
Michael Kline is a local retailer, success coach and trainer. He may be reached through his website, www.klineseminars.com, or e-mail, firstname.lastname@example.org.