Many neighborhood Chinese food restaurants have found success meeting the demands of the locale; serving up traditional dishes alongside the likes of donuts, ice cream, and even pizza. However, the same approach has its risks for the budding entrepreneur looking to establish themselves for the first time.
As entrepreneurs, especially in the beginning growth stages of our business, it can be tempting to entertain different avenues to add value and, ultimately, more revenue to our business. The temptation can be harder to ignore when we find ourselves in situations in which our current or prospective client/customer desires a service or product that we don’t particularly offer. We don’t want to miss out on the potential sale, so we volunteer ourselves and hope we’ll just figure it out later.
FOMO (fear of missing out) is real. And if not careful, it can lead a new business in its growth stage down the path of over-promising and under-delivering. But, sometimes the temptation is activated by fear and insecurity. The growing pains that are experienced for a startup can often trigger emotional decision-making and projecting. Slow sales and low profits are never “part of the plan” and if/when they occur they threaten our confidence. Does my idea have value? Can I realistically create a profitable business from this? These are the self-dialogues that cast doubt in our active minds. From my (albeit limited) experience, strategic planning is the best combatant against making emotionally-charged, reactionary decisions.
Slow sales might not necessarily mean the product or service offered is not valued or marketable. Perhaps there is a missing cog within the sales cycle. Are you monitoring your marketing efforts? Have you looked at your competitors? By diving deep into your business you can surely uncover just as many opportunities as threats.
In-N-Out Burger built a near cult-following from a six item menu (not counting their “Not-so-secret Menu”). Their simple offering allows them to be brilliant with the basics, freeing up essential energy to maximize efficiency and provide a consistently quality product.
What’s the difference between In-N-Out and McDonald’s? One offers great taste and a great value the other offers variety and convenience (through a volume of locations), at the expense of quality. Unless you have the resources to dominate your market and trade quality for quantity like McDonald’s (over 1 billion hamburgers sold!), your best bet is to find your niche and specialize. In doing so you will become the go-to person in your field and all of your customers, both current and potential, will appreciate your wisdom and seek you. As an expert you can command prices that reflect your value. Suddenly, your work speaks for itself and your reputation becomes your sales team. As an entrepreneur you should want to provide the highest quality service or product to your customer. Taking on too much will only reveal to your clients that you are inefficient and incapable. Again, be brilliant with the basics.
The spoiler alert is that if you attempt to dominate every opportunity you may become a Master of None, word to Aziz Ansari.