This is a blog that we posted a few years ago during some blizzards. At the time, many businesses felt worried about the disruption caused and this story proved helpful.
Quite clearly, this is significantly more concerning than seasonal blizzards. But it might just help to highlight how we need to think differently and inspire us to do something truly creative.
It would be nice to think that we can put the kettle on, have a nice cup of tea and wait for it to blow over. Unfortunately, that isn’t going to happen.
We need to think differently...
This story centres around a question that was posed to two groups of business people. A group of elite Harvard MBA students and to a group of business owners. The business owners had all been trading for over 10 years and had little or no business qualifications….
The scenario assumes you own a building supplies company and you have 20 snow shovels in stock. They’ve been in the store room for years due to an over order. Now there is a forecast of a sudden downfall of snow!
Both groups were asked what they would do for maximum impact on their business. The responses were very different:
The MBA Students said that they would notify their client base of the availability of snow shovels at a super premium price. Their assumption was that some of these clients will be desperate. They would appreciate the availability of these implements regardless of the rate. And at the same the business could make a killing.
The business owners took a different stance. They decided that the best strategy was to identify their 20 best customers. They then sent them a free snow shovel. Each was accompanied by a personal message along the lines of, “we’re always here to help you – please stay safe…”
What’s perhaps interesting here is the appreciation gained by experienced business owners for the loyalty of their clients. Over the 10 years in business, these owners had experienced times when the loyalty of these customers, either placing significant orders or settling accounts at critical stages in their cashflow, had a significant input into the development and on occasions survival of their business.
Their view was that anyone can start a business and win clients. It takes a different approach to stay in business and to retain clients. It needs to be a sustainable relationship and there is real value in a business with a solid customer base.
There is more value in sustainability than a quick buck.
Businesses by and large get the loyalty that they deserve. Loyalty is based on trust and respect and this is built up over a period of time as a result of numerous interactions between a business and their customers. Loyalty can take a long time to develop but just one simple act to destroy.
Thanks for taking the time to read this article.
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