As business owners, I’m sure you’ve asked yourself where does your product or service stand with your customers?

But…

Have you ever asked yourself where your product or service stands with you?

Let’s talk about mac n’ cheese. Let’s say you are an individual that loves mac n’ cheese, the boxed kind with the powdered cheese to be more specific. You can eat it four times in a week if you allowed yourself, but you control the urge because you don’t want to grow tired of it.

Now…

….there is the control, but even the control doesn’t prevent you from growing tired of it. It just slows the process.

The day comes when you’re grocery shopping and walk down the pasta aisle. Have you ever had one of those moments when you pick something up, walk around the entire store with it in your shopping cart, and then decide right before you checkout that you no longer want it? Let’s say, you have one of those moments on this day, but you still want mac n’ cheese before the week is out.

What do you do?

You go home, think about it, and try to figure out how you’re going to get mac n’ cheese on the dinner menu before the week is out. Then you have a light bulb moment and decide to dust off a cookbook you purchased six months ago. You search the cookbook to find eight different mac n’ cheese recipes. For some, this is the moment of giving up. Which then results in dissatisfaction and going back to that boxed mac n’ cheese you decided not to buy in the first place. For others that get lost in their thoughts like I do, you begin to ask yourself questions about this mac n’ cheese for your process of elimination.

  • Why are you moving from the simple boxed stuff to the homemade mac n’ cheese?

Well duh, you’re tired of it and hate to admit it to yourself at the moment.

Because you didn’t buy it

You’re ready for something new, exciting, and has more to offer.

  • What are the health benefits in homemade mac n’ cheese versus the boxed stuff?

First, you know what’s going into it.

Second, you can pronounce the ingredients of this recipe versus the ones on the box.

Third, you have the choice of adding and eliminating ingredients.

  • How do you choose the best recipe?

First, determine how much money are you willing to spend on a recipe that you’ve never tried.

Second, chose the recipe with added flavors, but not one that will make you forget what you’re cooking or eating.

Third, choose the recipe closest to your desired serving size.

Now you’ve made the decision to carry on with this homemade mac n’ cheese and since then you haven’t looked back.

Now, what?

Back to where you stand with your own products and services (using the mac n’ cheese method).

  • Are YOU growing tired of the things you offer?
    • Has it become the ingredients on a box of mac n’ cheese?
      • You know its there, but you don’t understand it anymore when you look into it.
  • Do you still have the desire you had when you first opened your doors?
    • Are you any more excited about the 100th box of mac n’ cheese than you were when you first tasted it?
      • You’ve become bored and know there is a need for change
  • Have your products and services gotten so commoditized that you feel there is no hope?
    • Has it become noodles and powdered cheese that you add water to?
      • Your products have become so basic and noncompetitive with stores offering the same thing that you may have been demoted from the best place to visit, to the store that only gets a visit when it’s the closest to the customer’s current destination.
  • Do you find yourself wondering if you would be satisfied if you were the one purchasing instead of selling?
    • Would you leave the store without the boxed mac n’ cheese for something better?
      • Anything from a checkout line that’s too long to waiting for help in customer service can lead to this once the boredom has set in.
  • Most of all, would you spend money on your own products and services that haven’t changed since you started your business?
    • Does your product or service flash “boxed mac n’ cheese” when it could be “homemade mac n’ cheese?”
  • How is what you offer similar to or different from the boxed mac n’ cheese?

In the same way, we grow tired and move on, our customers do too. Before your customers leave you for your competitors, they give you warning signs:

  • Their attitude when they walk in
  • Their attitude after they’ve looked around
  • Their attitude after they make the decision to purchase or walk out the door
  • Their complaints (given to you or an employee directly or mumbled under their breath)
  • Their attitude when they bring company
  • Less frequent visits
  • Customer feedback

It is important that you respond their NEEDS and WANTS before they leave and even worst, rebrand you on your inability to keep up.

When you think about your business, think about boxed mac n’ cheese versus homemade mac n’ cheese. If you’re at the stage where you are already making homemade mac n’ cheese, you need to make it irresistible. Going homemade doesn’t mean the train stops, it means you need to add value outside of the mac n’ cheese itself. Think of garnishes, presentation, the dish its cooked in, how long it takes to cook and what can you do to make it fit into your day, does it make good leftovers, how well does it store, and can it be frozen.

This leads to my final question….

What value-added services can be included with your product or service outside of the product or service itself?

Just remember why you started your business. You didn’t quit your job to start something mediocre to bore you, your employees, or customers.

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