New York is a city where good pizza is abundant. Which is nice, because I love pizza and eat it often. When I’m craving a slice, I can typically find a good — or even great — slice on my path. But I will go out of my way to go to Joe’s Pizza.
Think about your business.
Do people hire you because you’re convenient, or do they go out of their way to find you and work with you because you excel at your craft and deliver outstanding value?
What kind of business do you want to be?
The Convenience Model
There’s nothing wrong with creating a business that serves convenience. Convenience can be a lucrative business model. There are times when we just need to eat right now. We need businesses to serve our immediate needs.
If you’re creating a business with a convenience model, you must be prepared to serve customers at their demand. A customer who is looking for convenience isn’t loyal to you; he’s loyal to the convenience you offer. As great as you are, you’re one of many who offers the same thing. You’re a commodity.
The minute you can’t deliver, the customer is off to the next place. If your price is too high, the customer will find someone else who is selling the same thing for less money.
The Convenience Model is focused on quantity: faster (less time) or cheaper (less money). Convenience businesses make money by racking up transaction volume. The goal is to serve as many customers as possible.
The Craft Model
In what I’ll call the the “Craft Model,” your product or service is differentiated. Your customers seek you out because you deliver outstanding value. If you aren’t available immediately, your potential customer is willing to wait until you are available.
That doesn’t mean your customer is not hungry; she may be hungry, but she knows that what will satisfy her hunger is not eating faster, but eating the right food. She is willing to wait for what you offer. And she is willing to pay for it.
The customer looking for craft knows that she can’t just walk down the block and get the same thing that you offer.
The Craft Model is focused on quality and value. The product or service may take longer and cost more, than a similar product sold by a convenience seller.
This Isn’t An Either/Or
Think of these models as points on a spectrum. Most businesses are not one or the other.
Joe’s Pizza, for example, offers both convenience and craft. They’ve always got a pie in the oven and others that have just come out. This is a by-the-slice joint that is almost always ready to serve on demand.
It is also a pizza place that people will go out of their way for. When it gets really crowded, sometimes there’s a wait for a slice. When that happens, people rarely leave.
Joe’s charges $3 a slice. You can go to a $1 slice place instead, but Joe’s charges $3 because it can. And its customers pay the $3 because they believe the slices are worth it.
Where Business Owners Get Stuck
Many of my clients are real estate agents or other creative solopreneurs who feel stuck in growing their businesses.
The cause of that stuckness is often a misalignment between the business model they are operating and the business model they want to be operating.
The dominant model in your industry influences how you view your business and what you think you need to do to grow your business.
How you view your business and the way you attract or pursue clients influences the type of customers and clients you attract. How you feel about your customers and clients will influence the experience you create for them, and how they feel about you. This is a continuous cycle.
There are many strategies you can use to grow. The secret to sustainable growth is to use strategies aligned for the business model you want to run. If you’re trying to use strategies to grow a $1-slice pizza place when you really want to run a sit-down pie-only pizza restaurant, you’ll keep getting stuck.
Do your goals and practices emanate from the training in your industry, or do you create them from a grounding in your personal values and desire for how you wish to serve?
What’s Your Business Model?
Take a look at your business, and your industry.
- What’s the dominant model in your industry?
- What’s your business model?
- What kind of business do you want to be?
I would love to hear about your business. Please share in the comments.