Super Power your thinking with AND

When I was growing up, I was so often told, ‘you can have one OR the other,’ and maybe because of that, the notion of wanting this ‘AND’ that felt wrong and greedy. My parents would have thought they were doing the right thing because that was a way of making everything go around and encouraging us to be happy with what we had. However, it also had the negative consequence of placing limitations in my subconscious, thereby limiting my comprehension of abundance. When confronted with bigger life situations where I needed to be thinking expansively, I didn’t know how to, and I consequently defaulted to a scarcity mindset. Once I realized this was limiting my success, I set about changing my expectations and now demand more from the plans I implement.

‘OR’ can be an extremely useful proposition when there is limited resources or when there is a need to focus because it is critical to get started. So, it can be helpful to start with ‘this OR that’ decision. However, we then need to move on from what we started with, to grow it, improve it, make it more resilient, and make it more available, etc. We need to change our mindset and approach.

In hard times, there can be a natural propensity to gravitate to a singular focus on the bottom line. I challenge you to consider a triple bottom line and consider it as more than simply dollars earned. What I mean by this is considering an ‘and, and, and’ goal focus – three goals, i.e.:

  1. Make a fantastic product; and
  2. Deliver an exceptional customer experience; and
  3. Produce a good profit.

1. Making a fantastic product

When you never compromise on making your product the best you can, you are making a statement and setting yourself apart from your competition. It can be easy to think that your customers won’t pay the price, but we see over and over that quality is more important than price. However, you must take your customer with you by communicating the additional value that you have added and why a better product is worth the extra money. This might be because the product is local and fresher, comes from a unique source like ‘New Zealand Lamb’ or French Champagne, tastes better, uses a better technique, has a varietal or brand difference, is made from superior ingredients, is safer with better integrity, is presented better, is only available from us, or gives status. Warning: it is important to avoid self-indulgences that have no value to the customer.

2. Deliver an Exceptional Customer Experience

This is a never-ending commitment to give your customer the best experience, continually striving to improve on that every single day. It doesn’t mean telling the market that you give your customers the best experience. We have all heard these messages from large corporations who say, ‘your call is important to us’ and then proceed to leave you waiting for 30 minutes, sometimes over an hour, to speak to someone. This is an unprecedented fail and an insult to the customer’s intelligence.

You need your actions to impress, respect, and help your customer to fall in love with you and your products. Bring their friends to your business, gift your products, buy a voucher, rave about you on social media, but more importantly, become your forever customers and highly valued individuals on your sales team.

There are hundreds of ways you can contribute to this happening, from the effort you put into learning their name to being available to give back (which might be anything from community support to a treat for their dog or child).

3. Produce a good profit

This allows you to make a living, grow your people and yourself, reinvest in your business, and when you get the balance right, share it with those who are your business stakeholders – your customers, staff, and suppliers.

Producing a good profit requires you to be creative, agile, and respect the connection and value in everything you do. Untrained staff cost your business far more than it costs to train them. When you help your staff, customers, and suppliers to contribute to your profitability, you all succeed. Some businesses have taught their customers to select their own items, order, and check out, all to reduce costs to the business. They have taught their staff to handle customer inquiries while also replenishing the shelves or performing other tasks. They have taught their suppliers to communicate the unique differences of their products on their website, in their store, or to their database. In doing so, they are missing many opportunities to authentically connect with their customers.

Good luck with your triple-bottom-line thinking.

Mark Collins

Speciality Hospitality Consultant/Coach