Sunday, December 21, 2008

Business Lessons - A few thoughts on making quality decisions

This post begins my arc to business lessons. With that said though lets deal with a basic truth which applies to everyone and everything and yet many people work so hard to ignore it. Balance is important – knowing the difference between a need vs want – sure it is fine to get some wants but if you focus only on wants and never address the needs then there would be no point. 

Example – you need clothing, water, food, electricity, transportation and a few other things but suppose you spent your money on lottery tickets – soon you would not have even your basic needs for survival – unless of course you won the lottery! With respect to business if you spent all of your money on advertising and none on manufacturing, quality improvement, staffing, etc same difference. While the balance is ever changing and dynamic there must be a balance – advertising does not good if there is not a product or service just as having a product or service is not good if there is no one willing to pay for it. 

So let’s talk about the core issues or characteristics of importance: 

  • Reliability – you know almost without thinking that you can depend on it to be there when you need it. Be it car, PC, Security system, sound system, it works!
  • Quality/Integrity – you know that the construction is sound, the specifications are clear, the materials used will stand up to normal none abusive use
  • Durability – knowing that this device will last for a reasonable period of time
  • Predictability – knowing the device will perform as advertised
  • Consistency – knowing that that manufacturer used a process that ensured each item was made the same not using one method on Monday and another on Tuesday. Further knowing green is green, blue is blue and a keyboard is not being sold as a mouse
  • Price – Having a reasonable cost associated with the perceived benefit and the feeling I am not being taken advantage of
  • Warranty – does the business that made this have confidence enough in their ability to make things right by me in a reasonable amount of time
  • Customer Service – this should actually be first – it is the value add and lets the customer know they are important and servicing them (not making money) is the focus of the business
  • References/Reviews – what do other reliable sources have to say about the item or service you are about to purchase? 

Here is a simple truth many ignore – people buy things and as soon as they stop working or do not perform as advertised they either return the item, are disappointed, or they put it away and stop using it. The only devices, items, and services that people use day after day and come to depend on are those that meet the criteria set out above. 

Also important is how the business makes that person feel - are they important - is their business, time and money respected or are they treated as an inconvenience that as soon as or even before the money is received is at best an annoyance? 

Here is the twist if you will some food for thought – has anyone thought or considered this applies to the following (business and personal):

  • Consultant
  • Friend
  • Computer
  • Family member
  • Store (grocery, fast food or convenience)
  • Security System
  • Politician
  • Car
  • Waiters, cashers, clerks….
  • A/V systems
  • Etc 

Google search on what to look for when you buy 

What are your thoughts? 

In subsequent posts will deal with the respective individual points of quality, customer service, etc as they relate to the success of any business.  

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