There are many life lessons that can be learned at a very young age. I find myself continuously quoting lines from children’s books and children’s movies. One of my favorites comes from a book that I used to love to read to my daughter. The book is called If You Give a Moose a Muffin, by Laura Joffe Numeroff.
The story starts off like this… “If you give a moose a muffin, he’ll ask for some jam”! Sound familiar? Sure it does. This is one of life’s sure bets…if you give someone something that they want, they will naturally come to expect it and eventually want more. It’s actually human nature…we all come to expect certain things…complimentary shampoo at your favorite hotel or a small bag of peanuts on some of the airlines.
Business owners need to be conscious of this as well. We are always looking for an edge…that one thing that will tip the scales towards us and our business. But what happens when our competitors do the same thing by offering their customers the same benefit you just offered yours? If they do, you’ve both guaranteed the status quo while only adding an extra expense to your bottom line. Good competitors will not let you get by with gimmicks…they will just match whatever you do.
The best edge that you can offer, that no-one else can compete with is you! So put yourself into the mix! That’s right! Don’t depend on gimmicks or freebees. Build your business on the basics…quality, value, and good old fashioned customer service. Give your customers and clients what they deserve by treating them like they are the most important part of your business – and the best part is, you don’t even have to lie about it…because it’s true!
Kurt Thompson is a Program Officer at the Southwest Initiative Foundation where he leads the Microloan and Entrepreneurship Programs. He also serves as business coach and mentor to small businesses by offering one-on-one technical assistance to loan clients.