Everyone knows the story of The Tortoise and The Hare. A beloved children’s story, one of Aesop’s Fables, tells the story of a race between a tortoise and a hare. The tortoise, tired of being taunted by the hare, challenges him to a race. The hare, overly confident of his success, decided to take a nap midway through the race. He awoke to find that the tortoise had overtaken him and won the race. This brings up an interesting question: Can growth be a bad thing? The answer is: Sometimes.
Ok, that may be an over simplification but my mother used to always tell me whenever I was too impatient or intense (as I tend to be) “Remember Moni, slow and steady wins the race,” But when it comes to business, this advice is a good one. If you expand too quickly without the proper preparation, you risk damaging your brand and undoing whatever progress you have made.
Before you put the time, effort and money into building and growing your client base, you need to be certain that you have systems in place that can handle the changes. We had a client who had recently opened a lounge geared toward a high-end niche market. We came on to help them establish their brand in the local community and build a loyal customer base. As we began creating events around the new place, we cautioned the owners that they would need to make sure they had the proper staff and inventory in place for the new festivities because, if we did our job, the current staffing would not be sufficient.
We often work with our clients on the business side to help them with any implementation challenges they may face as a result of our marketing efforts. But you can only lead a horse to water, you cannot make it drink and despite our continued urging, they didn’t put the necessary systems in place to handle the new influx of customers. Why does this matter? Well, aside from the obvious customer service issues, their brand was badly damaged. For many people, this was their first experience at the lounge. They burned a lot of bridges and most of those first-time customers will not return.
What could they have done differently? In anticipating business growth, there are some very basic things that you should be prepared for.
- Ensure you are properly staffed. How frustrating is it to go to a store and wait on an endless line because they don’t have enough cash registers open?
- Ensure your staff is properly trained. I recently visited a newly opened cafe. It took them 11 minutes to give me a coffee and a pastry. As they stood there reading the instruction manual on the espresso machine, my colleague and I just shook our heads in disbelief. They lost two customers that day.
- Ensure you have sufficient stock on hand. I don’t really need to elaborate here, do I?
- Adjust your workflow to account for the increase in traffic/projects. Increased business means increased spending of resources. increased billing, increased everything, Who handles that now? Will they need help? Should some of the responsibilities be reorganized?
- Have a contingency plan in place for unexpected situations. Who is in charge when something goes wrong? (And something always goes wrong.) Who is responsible? Is it you? Have you empowered your staff to manage the other aspects of the business while you put out fires?
Growing a business is an exciting and challenging proposition. But care must be given to HOW you grow the business. It is better to engage in slow steady growth that will allow you to adjust your workflow to accommodate the many changes while keeping your reputation in tact. The alternative may make the business more money but it will not be sustainable. In the long run, the tortoise’s approach will serve you and your business better.
We Can Help
3D Studios helps businesses grow their influence and their brands. As a boutique brand management agency, we begin with a thorough analysis of your needs and partner with you to develop and execute a marketing plan that will help you take your business to the next level. To learn more about how 3D Studios can help you, visit us at www.3Dstudios.net or call 914-304-4229.