Playing an active part in the local networking scene, including running one of the largest networking groups in East Anglia, I get lots of opportunities to meet with other business owners.
As a networking host I really prefer to find out about our guests, as it’s less important for me to use the opportunity to ‘sell’. In particular I love talking with the owners of new businesses and especially those people who are starting up for the very first time.
At the moment I’m working with two companies who operate in the coffee industry. One is a new coffee roaster that produces the most sublime cup of coffee you’ve ever tasted (seriously!). The other is a new independent coffee shop, who will be using the roaster to create a signature House Blend. It’s great experience working with guys who have such knowledge and passion about their subject. It’s even better to put the two businesses together and see them work in collaboration. Both have shared values and extremely high standards. This has given rise to the opportunity for collaborative branding and promotion. Big ideas are in the pipeline… so watch this space!
One of the main things I’ve seen when working with these two business owners is just how focused they are on getting it completely right. The coffee roaster has an almost fanatical approach to producing a product that stands head and shoulders above the competition. Despite essentially being new in his trade he’s spent years learning and studying. He’s a perfectionist and the results are already proving the value in this. Some of the top local chefs are declaring his product to be the best they’ve ever tasted. This just goes to show that a focus on the production of a high quality product – consistently – is what really matters most to people.
Likewise the new coffee shop owner has significant experience, having worked for one of the big national brands (and being a rising star and award-winner for them). His knowledge and skill in the day-to-day running of such a business is shown in the till takings at the end of every day. He’s also won great acclaim from regular customers, which is where it counts. It’s been amazing to see how both of these business owners focus on the parts of the business that deliver value, a quality customer-experience and that translates directly into profit.
I can’t help thinking that all too often business owners become overly preoccupied with what’s happening ‘out there’. They spend a lot time focusing on what the competition is doing or waiting for Robert Peston to declare if it will be a good month for their business, or not. Whilst at the very heart of the business there can be a lack real attention to the things that matter most.
If you want to get back to a strong position, where you KNOW that you are pulling ahead of the competition, look inside your business and see where you can make real improvements. Quality counts for a great deal, and as we all know GREAT SERVICE is key and far more important than just price.
What part of your business could you focus on today to really improve the output and customer experience?