Stories, ideas and tips to help women build fabulous businesses and to help you build your best business.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Bean and gone

I love hot chocolate but because I don’t love its contribution to my waist line, I drink it sparingly. So sparingly, in fact that I have taken to limiting myself to only choosing hot chocolate when I am in one particular café.

The café that I selected as my hot chocolate place does do exceedingly good and large hot chocolates but that is not the reason that why I picked it. No, it had nothing to do with the hot chocolate itself but everything to do with the fact that two delicious little dark chocolate coffee beans nestle in the teaspoon accompanying every mug of hot chocolate. I love them.

Now this café is actually at the top of a very large (and can I add fantastic) shopping centre, a shopping centre that is generously stocked with coffee shops and cafés. So, annoying as it is, I always drag my 3 young boys, toy cars, footballs, shopping bags and tired legs all the way up 5 escalators just to get my hot chocolate.

Not any more.

Last week the café stopped dispensing the two delicious little dark chocolate coffee beans. “Too expensive” they told me “but if you want to buy some we are still selling them”.

Buy some? Are you mad? The whole point was that the two delicious little dark chocolate coffee beans were a gift. Of course I know I can buy them but I don’t want to buy chocolate; I want to be given it and then feel that it would be rude not to eat it. And I want to feel looked after, treasured and cared for and, to be perfectly honest that’s how the free chocolate coffee beans made me feel.

So I wouldn’t have minded if the café had added a few cents to the price of the hot chocolate to cover the cost of the beans. But I did mind that they just stopped the beans altogether.

And now there is no point in trudging all the way up to the café at the top of the shopping centre so I take the much easier option of just stopping at the place most convenient to the shops that I frequent. And hey, I might even give up hot chocolate all together.

Here is my nibble:

Your business, like many others, may be suffering from rising costs and falling revenues and it makes sense to save costs by cutting out frivolous stuff. But before you give it the chop make sure that it actually is frivolous; it might in fact be the whole reason that people are buying your stuff.

Like two delicious little dark chocolate coffee beans.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Exposing your hidden talents

The other day I stumbled across a short paragraph that someone had written about me when nominating me for an award.

The nomination was a fantastic surprise but I nearly fell over when I read what the person wrote. It turns out my nominator thought I had an amazing ability to do ‘something’….a ‘something’ that I didn’t even realise I did!

I felt quite chuffed with my new found ability so I slipped on the coat of self-confidence that comes free with someone telling you that you are good at something and off I went to try out my newly discovered skills.

And it turns out that I actually do have them.

Maybe my new found prowess is just the result of a self-fulfilling prophecy, maybe I have unearthed latent skills or maybe I was doing this stuff anyway. But who cares, I have a new string to my bow and I’m delighted.

So here is my nibble: when your customers are giving you feedback listen out for surprises – stuff that customers think you are doing well that you don’t even realise you do. Then do this stuff more, make it your calling card and you never know - it could be the very thing that boosts your business.

In the meantime I should probably check that the nominator hadn’t confused me with someone else………