Okay, so times are tough -- we all know that. You may not be bringing as many new customers in the door as you did a year ago, and some of your most reliable customers from past years may not be quite so reliable. In fact, some may have stopped calling altogether.
When business is on a downswing, it can be very tempting to take on any job you can -- whether or not it's in your organization's sweet spot or supports your long-term vision and goals. Maybe the product or service or project isn't what you do best, but it's better than nothing -- right?
Truth be told, taking the focus off the things your business does best can be a quick-and-easy recipe for baking up far more problems than the extra revenue is worth.
Kate Holt is owner of Flower Wild, a highly successful Los Angeles-area florist. While many other florists are happy to provide their customers with all sorts of non-floral items along with their flowers -- from mylar balloons, to teddy bears, to boxes of chocolate and more -- Kate has made the decision that creating beautiful floral arrangements is what she does best. And with laser-sharp focus, that is the only thing she will sell to her customers. Says Kate, "Some customers want balloons or stuffed animals or potted plants and they just don't get it when we say, 'I'm, sorry but we do cut flowers only.' It can be frustrating for them because they have a vision of what a flower shop is supposed to be, however, we have determined that our specialty arrangements are what set us apart. We have found our niche. To deviate from our vision at the will of the customer would take us out of our game plan -- the plan that we believe makes us successful. No teddy bears, no balloons -- just the best flower arrangements in Los Angeles. We probably lose some business because of this practice, but reputation and longevity is our focus. For us, saying yes to off-target requests would very quickly assimilate us into the already saturated flower business."
So, while it's always important to focus on what your company does best -- that is after all why your customers seek you out -- it is especially important to avoid the temptation to take your eye off the ball when times are tough in the hope of winning an extra job or two.
Remember the 3 F's: Focus, focus, focus.