My father is 85. He doesn’t get out as much as he used to. He looks forward to our weekly Sunday morning breakfast. It‘s become a tradition. We’ve varied and rotated restaurants over the years, but usually stick with the same staples. Dad has biscuits and gravy; I have bacon and eggs. The last several months we’ve been going to a mom & pop lunchroom. It’s clean and quiet, the staff is friendly, and the coffee is hot and fast. The food ain’t too bad either. Last week when my wife was out of town, I called dad and suggested we try dinner at our new spot. He agreed.

It was not a Good Experience

This small dinette has a six-page menu. Not only breakfast and sandwiches but Greek, Mexican, and Italian cuisine. I wondered how they did it. Now I know. They do it with inferior food. Unlike their breakfast, dinner wasn’t homemade. The Chimichanga I ordered was worse than a low-end, supermarket, microwave burrito. It was nothing like a chimi. It was awful and dad’s meatloaf wasn’t much better. I took a bite and sent it back. I was done. They charged me one-half. We may go back for breakfast—we may not. Here’s the point. How often do other types of businesses do the same thing?

Solve Problems Don’t Create Them

I’m all for any business offering additional products to their customer base and solving client problems, but only if they’re prepared. Attempting to offer services before they can be adequately delivered hurts an organization on every level—even with the stuff they do well. It soils an organization’s reputation.

A Story of Two Companies

In 1959, the auto manufacturer Renault sold more than 91,000 of one model, the Dauphine, in the USA, by far the largest selling import in America. Renault ruled the market; for one year. The problem was the car was of questionable quality and parts and service were sketchy at best. Some of the garages selling these cars didn’t have the metric tools required to service the vehicle. The first Volkswagen Type 1, the VW Beatle, was imported to America in 1949. By 1958, a total of 18,000 had been imported to the stateside market. VW moved slow, delivering a quality product with the parts and trained technicians needed to maintain the vehicles. You know the rest of the story. VW continues to hold a strong market share and Renault never completely recovered in this market. That was 56 years ago. Some things are hard for the public to forget and forgive.

What’s your Plan?

Before attempting new products or services, before pushing into new markets, before committing to new offerings for your loyal and valued customers…be certain you’re ready. The worst thing you can do is bring a product online before it’s time. You’ll be perceived as unorganized, poorly prepared, and greedy. And that’s probably close to the truth. How do you avoid moving forward on projects too soon?

Photo by Basheer Tome / CC BY-SA