Have you ever had the experience where you walked into a really nice restaurant, great lighting, great ambience, great service and then when you got your food, it’s cold and bland?
I had that experience the other week, and it was utterly dissapointing. They had to have spent thousands of dollars on their interior decoration, and I’m sure they were paying their wait staff well, but when it comes down to it, if the food isn’t good, none of that is worth it.
As a small business owner, you have a product. Whether that’s a physical object you sell, or a service, or an experience, you are providing something to the public for a fee. So, for the sake of brevity, we’ll call whatever you sell a product for the rest of this article. Good? Good.
No matter what the product, there is always room for improvement, and here’s three reasons why you really need to consider improving your product.
Word of Mouth
In today’s hyper-connected world, people are communicating in ways we never would have thought of 20 years ago. Instead of turning to Zagat’s and the local newspapers review column, people are going to Yelp to read what their friends and peers think about a restauarant. Instead of reading consumer reports, people are reading Amazon reviews.
When your products quality goes down, the amount of negative reviews goes up. But if you produce a superior product, you’re going to get great reviews on these sites, and people will give you the best advertising you can possibly get.
Word of mouth.
Word of mouth advertising is when a friend tells one of their associates about your company. Whether it’s a restaurant they tried, or a plumber they recently hired, if you have a good product, your customers will find more customers for you. By improving your product, you’re going to see the amount of referrals you get climb. And that’s great news for any business.
Which leads us to money. Even though it may increase your costs to improve your product, it’s going to increase your revenue. Word of mouth will bring in new customers, happy customers will become repeat business, and you can even charge more for your product in some cases.
Years ago, I started a small rototilling company called Larson’s Gardens. I bought a quality Troybilt rototiller (see what I did there? Great product, so they get a free plug), and I put my ad in the paper. I’m not great at a lot of things, but one thing I’m proud to say I’m good at is turning grass into dirt. I worked well, I was professional, I showed up on time, and I got most of my business from referrals because of it.
The most rewarding part of the whole experience was interacting with people. I did good work, and I got respect for it. I had a sense of pride that only comes from producing quality work.
Ralph Waldo Emerson once said “The reward of a thing well done is having done it.” I couldn’t agree more. I truly believe that hard work and quality is a virtue that gives you a sense of satisfaction in and of itself.
So now that we’re all convinced improving the quality of our product is a good idea, where do we start? Here’s five quick steps:
Make a list right now of potential improvements.
As the company owner, you know your product better than anyone, and you’re probably more aware of the flaws in your service then anybody else. So, right now, make a list of all the potential improvements in your product/processes. List everything and anything you can think of. Write down how much money, time, and energy each one would take to implement.
Ask Your Customers
Next step, find a couple of your customers, and ask them what improvements they could see the product needing. Write down how much money, time, and energy each one would take to implement.
Ask Your Employees/Vendors
After that, ask your employees or vendors what improvements they could see your product needing. Write down how much money, time, and energy each one would take to implement.
Solidify Your Plan
Now, combine these lists, see which ones are brought up the most, and make a plan to improve your product. Take it from a step-by-step approach, and make sure you estimate the money and time needed. Run it by some people you trust, ask them your opinion and solidify your plan.
You’re a business owner, so you clearly understand the importance of doing things. Take your plan and implement it. If you need capital to upgrade your processes and equipment, go to www.lendio.com and find the best loan option. Once the quality is upgraded on your process, tell your customers. Have a grand re-opening, print out some literature, do something to show that your product is even better than it was before.
Improving your product shows that your company is in it for the long haul. So get started today, improve your product. With increase revenues, and that continuing sense of pride that your company produces great products, you’re going to be glad that you did.