Saturday, March 06, 2010

Big Tent Thinking

Seems everyone is talking about inclusiveness. Nobody wants to be left out. I was once in a church that decided to clean up their member directory. They removed all the people who were not attending at least once a month. Suddenly people came out of the woodwork mad that they were not included. They acted like the church had done some horrible act by excluding their names from the directory.

We see the big tent approach being heavily pushed in the political area. Rather then take a strong stand on an issue, which may serve to shrink the tent. We see wishy washy, limp positions on nearly all issues. With both parties doing their best and worst to draw in the crowds they instead are starting to scare them off. Suddenly, nobody wants to belong to a less then exclusive club. People are suddenly aware of the fact that pleasing everyone pleases no one and the result is a large crowd who stand for nothing.

The Big Tent idea has started to permeate into business life as well. During a recession, this looks like a good idea but will often end in disaster. Most businesses are scrambling for sales in order to stay in business. They are so focused on making the next sale that they often push out to the edges of their ability just to get that next contract. Soon they find themselves doing jobs barely in the possible range and often taking losses due to this lack of expertise.

Knowing your niche market and focusing on what you do best is the way to stay in business. Doing what you do best means doing it with maximum outcome for both you and your client. Doing what you do best means getting referrals and staying in business.

Doing what you do best also means doing it more competitively. You are confident in your costs and turn times and are therefore confident on negotiating the price. Making money or breaking even is almost guaranteed. Once again staying in business means covering the costs and satisfying the customers.

The Big Tent approach means doing everything for everyone in order to never turn a customer away. This approach will often give less then ideal results and start turning customers off rather then making them more loyal. Small amounts of dissatisfaction will lesson referrals and reduce confidence in the customer getting a job well done. Instead of endearing the customer to you, you are slowly driving them off. A significant failure may result in a loss of more then just this customer. The word gets out.

Stay in business by doing the business that you do best.

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Blogger Joe said...

This, of course, overlaps into politics, specifically the Republican Party.

There have been those crying to "enlarge the tent" that is the Republican Party, not realizing (I guess) that they will succeed only in watering it down so that it can stand for nothing.

As we all know, if you stand for nothing you will fall for anything.

Politics needs a lesson from business.

4:31 PM, March 08, 2010  

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