Why are you drawn to your favorite restaurant? What keeps you going to the same movie house when there are numerous theaters in the area? Why do stick with a particular grocery store? Beauty parlor? Barber shop? Tattoo shop?
There may be conveniences when it comes to certain stores, but conveniences are when it’s late, you’re in your comfy sweats, and don’t feel like going out; so you settle on closeness rather than preference or preferred choice. Conveniences are when you have a thirty minute lunch break and there is a mini-mart and a fast food restaurant within eyesight.
Outside of work, how often do you eat at that particular fast food establishment? Unless you live and work in a small town, the answer is never. Why is that?
The answer is choices; we are willing to drive, wait, and pay a little more for the things that we find value in. A majority of businesses, products, and services fall into these two realms; convenience and preference. What type of business are you?
The truth is that you might be one or the other, or both. As long as the business is realistic about their customer base and are filling a need, then continue moving forward with those company objectives and goals.
Let’s look at some examples of small businesses that are realistic and unrealistic when it comes to convenience, preference, and both. Can you pick out who is what, and are they being realistic? However, I’m not giving out the answers; these examples are for discussion purposes within your own company.
Example 1: A mom-and-pop industrial supply store on an old highway in a farming community, which specializes in automobile and farm equipment parts. They keep a good selection on hand, and most everything else can be in the store the next day. The prices are two to three times higher than similar stores, but the nearest location is fifty miles away.
Example 2: A local movie theater chain with four locations. They show the newest movies, have plush stadium seating, and offer in theater dining. Their prices are similar to other theaters in the area. On Tuesdays, in their smallest and original location, all movies are $5 (including 3D). The rest of the week, all movies are full price. No discounts in any of their other theaters locations.
Example 3: A Chinese restaurant in a strip mall offering $3.99 lunch specials. A majority of their customers are employees of the stores within walking distance, who come for the low cost lunch meal. At the end of the parking lot is a stand-alone Chinese restaurant which is always busy, popular, and offers a wide variety of dishes. The smaller strip mall restaurant decides to end their daily lunch specials, stay open later, and compete for business with the larger competitor.
It is no secret that 7-11 has built an empire on convenience. No one has to go to 7-11, but we all end up there at some point. Their hours work for everybody, they’re open every day of the year, and they have locations everywhere. They sell just enough of the right items to get you by, and then you might not need them again for years. They know their niche, and they don’t pretend to be something else. People go there for a hot dog, not a steak dinner. 7-11 knows what their draw is.
Do you know who your customers are, and why they choose you?
April Salsbury, MBA is a strategist, an analyst, an operational guru, a recognized leader and C-suite global healthcare executive with drive and focus for competitive markets. Co-host of The Business Forum Show and regular contributor to various business journals, she possess multi-functional and multi-national competencies with more than 15 years experience in business and healthcare. Her expertise is in invigorating revenue growth and infusing value of lean practices in growing companies through improvements to cash flow and operations management.
Fueling revenue, growth and profit, Salsbury & Co. is a consultancy firm focused on helping businesses and healthcare organizations achieve excellency. Our specialists have executive experience combined with deep functional expertise to provide our clients with services that drive real impact and results.
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