I’m sure you can think of one hundred other things that can go wrong in your business, and while it is tempting to blame someone else for all the problems (in the last case, God!), in fact it’s always your fault.
So I suspect they knew they couldn’t (or wouldn’t) compete on price. The letter was just ticking a marketing box. The thing is, they had no points of difference. They are one of the biggest suppliers in the state, so are probably relying on customer inertia combined with higher margins, and so probably won’t do anything until there is a significant erosion of their customer base. And then it will be too late.
What points of difference are you using to defend your prices?
Let’s look at some of the problems listed above.
The supplier has sent you the wrong item. Chances are, this is not the first time it’s happened, it’s just that this time, you had no spares. What process do you have in place to ensure that the supplier checks the item before it leaves their facility? If they refuse to cooperate, why are you still using them? Because they are cheap? If you tolerate this more than once, it’s your fault.
A member of staff orders the wrong item. Do you have a process to check that the correct item is ordered? If you have, has the staff member been properly trained? If they have, do you regularly give your staff structured feedback or have an incentive scheme that encourages quality? If not, it’s your fault. If the staff member won’t follow instructions, why are they still employed? It’s your fault.
Your team are fighting amongst themselves. How long have you tolerated this? Have you sat down with individual team members to isolate the problem? Have you provided team training? Are you allowing this to continue? If so, it’s your fault.
A staff member never turns up on time. How long have you tolerated this? Have they been counselled? Why has there been no improvement? Have you put in place a performance improvement plan with the individual? If not, it’s your fault. If you have, why do they still have a job?
Customers walk away without buying anything. Have staff been trained to engage customers? Have they been given sales training? Are staff following their training? Have you given them incentives? If not, it’s your fault.
The computer system breaks down in your busiest period. Have you engaged an IT firm to ensure that the computer system is properly maintained with regular backups? Do you have a contract with guaranteed uptime performance? Do you have contingencies in place in the event of failure during critical times? If not, it’s your fault.
Your warehouse gets struck by lightning and burns down. Ok ok, it’s not your fault that your warehouse was struck by lightning, but did you have fire suppression systems in the warehouse? Where they regularly inspected? Did you have adequate insurance? Did you have a contingency plan for such a catastrophe? If not, it’s your fault.
When you point your finger to someone else, there are three pointing back to you. There are two rules for business owners:
1. It’s always your fault.
2. If it’s someone else’s fault, see Rule #1.
No one cares as much about your business as you do. No one else is going to look at all the potential problems and come up with sustainable solutions. If you don’t have the answers, it’s up to you to find someone who does. Otherwise, it’s all your fault.
May You Business Be - As You Plan It!
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Dr Greg Chapman is the Director of Empower Business Solutions and is Australia's Leading Advisor on Emerging Businesses and provides Coaching and Consulting advice to Australian Small Business Owners in Marketing & Business Strategies Planning & Systems. He is also the author of The Five Pillars of Guaranteed Business Success and Price: How You Can Charge More Without Losing Sales.
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