Have you ever walked into a department store, gotten your items and headed toward the line, where there were 15 or so people waiting to check out? How do you feel when you notice that there are 10 lanes that are unoccupied, and no one there to operate them? If you are like me, you are probably thinking to yourself that someone needs to open up another line or two and get these people out the door.
According to several managers I spoke with, the problem arises when there are staff shortages, when large orders come in or when they simply didn’t schedule enough people for a particular shift. Other managers I have spoken with tell me that their goal is to provide an outstanding customer experience, therefore, there is always adequate staff on hand. The tradeoff, there, is that they have to charge a little bit more for their services.
Which company do you think plans for success?
Well, company ‘A’ is completely dependent on selling a large volume. Their margins are very slim, their turnover is high because they don’t pay very well, and more often then not, they are running on a “skeleton crew” or the bare minimum to keep the doors open. Customers aren’t very satisfied with the products, quality or the shopping experience.
Company ‘B’ is also dependent on selling a large volume of goods. Their margins are also slim, but their turnover is low because they pay their employees a fair wage. They can get a bit more from their customers because their customers appreciate the clean environment, quality products and the great customer service. Store lines don’t get to be longer than five minutes or so, and the store has plenty of self check-out lines.
Looking at the whole scenario, it is obvious that both companies have a place in the marketplace, and they appeal to different markets. During tough times, people may even be more likely to go to store ‘A.’ However, I would bet dollars to donuts, that their loyalty would probably be with store ‘B.’ Additionally, I would bet that when people at store ‘A’ want something nice, they will go to store ‘B.’
Which store do you think would be better apt to handle a recession? Which one do you think would be better able to handle an economic boom? Which one do you think makes a better impact on the community? Which one has a better shot at longevity?
I would bet that store ‘B’ has spent more time planning, learning and growing in order to get to the position their at. The simple act of charging higher prices, and getting them, demonstrates the fact that they have a product that they know is superior to the rest of the market – they are an extraordinary business. They plan – not to be adequate or mediocre. They plan to be extraordinary. While during economic recession, many stores in their industries closed – including many of the store ‘A’ type stores, the store ‘B’ – type stores continued to thrive. As we head toward a period of economic growth, ‘B’ – type stores will continue to adapt and provide for the needs of their growing market. At the same time, ‘A’ type stores may find that they are facing a dwindling market.
The time to plan is now. Don’t wait until the market starts to change. If that means you should start looking for new employees, begin to do so. If it means that you should be positioned to upgrade your equipment or process, proceed with it. If it means that you need to prepare for a huge marketing or branding campaign, make it your priority.
Planning is essential to becoming an extraordinary business. Remember: being ordinary is easy. Being extraordinary takes work. Be extraordinary.
Aepiphanni Business Solutions is a Strategy Consulting Firm dedicated to serving the needs of business leaders and executives. We specialize in helping people get into business, and stay there. We welcome clients in the personal and professional services industries, including restaurants, catering and event planning. As always, we welcome your comments, thoughts, questions and suggestions. If you are seeking a business assessment, or have further questions about creating your strategy or developing your vision, please give me, Rick Meekins, a call at 678-265-3908, or email us at [email protected].