For the Love of Business – Case Study

It’s kind of funny if you think about it, but really – I love businesses. I love figuring out why they work, why they don’t work, what’s the mindset behind the owner, how people fall victim to circumstance. Oh it is so exciting to me! And the more I learn about businesses the more I fall in love with all of the different aspects of them. I know, it sounds really funny, it even does to me, but this stuff fascinates me!

As a business owner I think half of your responsibility is to know what makes your business work or not work. If you are constantly evaluating what is going on in your business, if it’s working or not and then looking at ways to make things work better you are going to grow, advance, succeed. But, if you aren’t taking these necessary steps your business is going to sink, and it’s going to happen fast.

Let’s look at an example: I knew a person who opened a local chain restaurant a few years back. He opened it with the expectation that when the doors opened, the money would just poor in. I mean, he already had a name for himself, people knew this product, it was a SLAM DUNK! Instant success! Put a sign up, hire some employees and that’s it, the business would run itself.

But a few months after the grand opening, sales started going down and the owner started to get burned out. First he hired all the wrong people, trying to save money he hired young people or friends who were desperate for a job. He never took the time to really train them on food quality, presentation or customer service. It was quickly obvious, he was in the business of making money, not training and keeping good employees and selling a quality product! So he’d hire a new “manager” to run the store and then only come around to count the money at the end of the day.

Soon, the money he was counting became less and less and the customers just kept disappearing. So, he decided he needed ice cream, ice cream brings people in. So he brought in ice cream, that didn’t work. Then it was breakfast, he needed breakfast. That didn’t work either. Spicy chicken. Spicy chicken was definitely the answer, that’s what people wanted! Nope, they didn’t want that either.

So the owner avoided the store even more. It’s depressing, nothing works, and it’s a bad economy. My business is a victim of circumstance.

What does this sound like to you? If you are agreeing, yeah nothing worked, bad economy, can’t figure out the customers….you are wrong. Here’s what happened here.

1.       The owner opened this business with a great vision and “want” to have a restaurant. But really, he was more concerned about making money than creating customers for life. (Note: Making money isn’t a bad thing, but if that’s all you see customers as…well?!)

2.       He hired poorly. Very poorly, I mean these people stole from him, didn’t show up for work, and treated customers with disrespect. He never trained them properly, he never held them to any standards and he never fired anyone, because he simply just wanted someone to do the work so he wouldn’t have to.

3.       He lost touch with food quality, customer service and what the people really wanted – a reliable, consistent product with a manager and staff who actually care.

4.       He gave up too easily. When money became tight, he just wanted to borrow more – believing that increasing the cash flow would help to sustain the business.

5.       He never looked at the business objectively and failed to see what was keeping customers away. He only assumed what they wanted or listened to the opinion of one or two customers.

Now, these are just some of the things that happened with this failed business, but how can they relate to what you are doing? Be cautious; don’t get too caught up in your bottom line that you forget that you are in business to provide a service or a product. Take the time to do things right. Treat your customers like they are invaluable and irreplaceable – because they are! Put more effort into keeping the customers you do have then trying to get discounted coupon customers from bad advertising. Don’t give up. And remember, why did you go into business for yourself in the first place?!

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