The fourth of 5 top tips to grow your food business
2. Know your numbers
3. Resources - Physical, Financial, Emotional
4. Your opinion doesn't matter!
5. Smart Change - What have you got in the pipeline?
YOUR OPINION DOESN’T MATTER
Three years ago, I was working with one of the major fast food outlets when I learned the lesson that the personal opinions of their management teams did not have much value at all.
If a manager (however senior) suggested that their chilli sauce wasn’t hot enough, it is
likely that they would at best be ignored or at worst be admonished.
If a manager said that they had asked 100 people, of whom 75 said that they chilli sauce needed more oomph then it was likely that their findings would be looked at and their actions praised.
The point here is that business decisions should be made from the customer’s perspective, not your opinion. The voice of the customer should drive every business decision.
NOT LISTENING TO YOURSELF IS A DIFFICULT DISCIPLINE
Running your own business can be a lonely place. Many owner / operators find it difficult to turn to others for advice which is probably caused by the necessary self belief bordering on arrogance that is a required to be a great entrepreneur . Many of them are convinced that they know best.
Trusting other people’s opinions therefore is difficult for some. But, surely, if that feedback is coming from the people who are buying your products, you've got to listen. Their opinion is far more important than yours.
The real winners in the business game are those people who understand and react to their customer's needs whilst at the same time anticipating what they want next.
HOW TO COLLATE CUSTOMER OPINION
OK, understanding one response from a customer is easy, extracting good business information from many responses is not so easy.
The first thing to do is to make sure that you can manage your sample size. You are probably working long hours already and you don't want to spend time and money gathering data that you won't have the resources to use.
It's better to get great feedback from 50 people that you can use than to get feedback from 1000 people that takes too long to disseminate. Sample sizes are down to you. Television ratings for the 12 million people who watched Strictly Come Dancing were multiplied up from a sample size of only 5,100 viewers!
So, whatever your sample size, make sure you focus on what the majority are telling you. It's too easy to focus on the one good review and ignore the 5 bad ones.
YOUR CUSTOMERS ARE YOUR BEST BUSINESS CONSULTANTS
If you are constantly listening to your customers and driving your business on what they are telling you, then you have just engaged the best consultant you will ever have - for free!
If you think that you know better than your customers, stop running a business and go write a book.