Is the Customer King? How To Profit When Business Is Slow
Article 1: When Business Goes Slow
Sometimes you can see it, sometimes you can't.
Sometimes the month sneaks up on you. Sometimes you can see it coming a mile off.
What are we talking about? Why, the month that seems to bring little or no business at all.
So how do you tackle months that bring no business at all?
Let me tell you about the curse of July
Many, many years ago, as a cartoonist running my own business, I found that somehow July was the worst month of the year. Now I'm not much of an income tracker. I don't sit down and analyse each month's takings, yet it's hard not to notice how the phone wouldn't ring all day. Then all week. And then all month.
At first, July used to depress me
I literally wanted to go straight from June to August.
Till I found out the purpose of July. So one year, instead of crying in my coffee, and whining away, I decided to something about July. I went out and bought new software, and spent time learning how to use it. I went to the library, bought a stack of books and started reading them con mucho gusto. By the time August rolled along, work would often be right back on track, but I was much smarter and more conversant with new technology. Plus, I'd spend more time doing just nothing at all, thus also refreshing my brain.
Are you whining about bad months?
So July may not be the best month for your business. Or Jan. Or March. And maybe you can see the bad month in advance. And at other times, maybe you can't. And yes, I know it's pretty scary when you've got bills to pay and mouths to feed. But worrying about the problem isn't going to help you at all.
So here's what you do in slow months
1) Beef up on your learning. I used to spend more money in the ‘quiet' months, than I did in good months. You don't have to. There's a public library. Use it! Learn software. Learn marketing. Learn whatever you need to learn to move you ahead.
2) Stop whining. It ain't doing you much good.
3) Put together articles, information, marketing material and all those things that you don't have time for, when you're really busy.
Always remember, there will always be slower months.
The quiet months are around to teach you a lesson. Learn the lesson, and you'll be better off for it.
Article 2: When Do You Ignore A Customer?
So they've told you that the customer is king. That you should pay attention to what the customer says. That the customer is always right. So do you bow and scrape each time the customer speaks?
There are times when you completely ignore the customer.
Really? So when do you ignore the customer?
Let's ask Jim Collins, shall we?
In Built to Last, Jim Collins, studied companies that outlived their competition. Often, these visionary ‘Built to Last' companies, ignored what their customers said. Uh, huh, don't get me wrong. They didn't ignore everything the customers said. They just ignored some things.
So what are those ‘some things'?
When the customers demand went against the company's core values, the company completely ignored the customer.
So what are core values?
Core values are the organiszation’s essential and enduring tenets—a small set of timeless guiding principles that require no external justification; they have intrinsic value and importance to those inside the organisation. Disney’s core values of imagination and wholesomeness stem not from a market requirement, but from an inner belief that imagination and wholesomeness should be nurtured for their own sake. . . .
Ralph Larson, CEO of Johnson & Johnson, put it this way: “The core values embodied in our Credo might be a competitive advantage, but that is not why we have them. We have them because they define for us what we stand for, and we would hold them even if they became a competitive disadvantage in certain situations.”
Who decides the core?
The key point is that an enduring great company decides for itself what values it holds to be core, largely independent of the current environment, competitive requirements, or management fads. Clearly, then, there is no universally “right” set of core values. A company need not have customer service as a core value (Sony doesn’t), or respect for the individual (Disney doesn’t), or quality (Wal-Mart doesn’t), or market responsiveness (HP doesn’t), or teamwork (Nordstrom doesn’t). …The key is not what core values an organisation has, but that it has core values.
How to know if you're goofing up your core values
In identifying the core values of your own organisation, push with relentless self-honesty for truly core values. If you articulate more than five or six, there’s a good chance you’re not getting down to the essentials, and probably confusing core values (which do not change) with operating practices, business strategies, and cultural norms (which should be open for change).
Remember, these values must stand the test of time. After you've drafted a preliminary list of the core values, ask about each one: “If the circumstances changed and penalised us for holding this core value, would we still keep it?” If you can’t honestly answer yes, then it’s not core and should be dropped.
And if the customer wants you to change..
You simply stick with what's important to you.
Our core values are simply
1) Great Content.
3) Speed of response.
That's what makes 5000bc and Psychotactics different from anyone else. We want to give you personalisation. We so want to help you, but content comes first. When faced with content vs. great content, we'd rather give you great content. In the end, we manage to keep high scores in all three departments. If a customer were to ask us to be something we're not, we simply sidestep the question. We may not have the best design in the world, or the most sophisticated content management system, but it's not our biggest priority.
What's your biggest priority?
Part of this text is quoted from Built to Last, by Jim Collins and Jerry I. Porras (A book I very highly recommend)
Next Selling Article: Can Three Words In Webster's Dictionary Be The Key To Customer Loyalty?
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