What happens to most good restaurants after 5 years or so? Little things degrade. The bathrooms are not as clean. The staff not as welcoming. The food not as nice. The paint on the wall is chipped. The tables and chairs worn. The staff forgets to light the candles, serve you bread and include the after-dinner mint. With most restaurants after awhile you start to see a dozen little flaws. Friends stop telling their friends. Soon customers stop visiting and a once flourishing business begins to languish.
It is easy for the owner to blame the change on fickle customers’ changing tastes, another hot restaurant luring their customers or a recession pinching everyone’s wallets closed. But had the owners and staff kept up the reliability, quality, surprise, excellent service and warm but clean setting they delivered flawlessly in the first years of business would their customers really have left?
Is old age hurting you?
Degrading over time is not unique to restaurants. This happens to many, many small to mid-sized organizations. Perhaps the staff gets worn down? Perhaps they forget what made them great in the first place? Perhaps in pursuit of big opportunities or trying to escape from big threats it’s easy to forgo all the little details. Whatever the reason this is a common trap.
If you have been in business for more than 5 years it is worth asking these questions:
- Is the value we are delivering the same or better than it was several years ago?
- Is the experience we deliver the same or better than it was several years ago?
- Do we really know what current key problems our members are dealing with and why those problems are important?
- In the last two years do we keep disappointing our members or do we keep delighting them?
The good old days are good for a reason. Once we hit our stride we feel great. We serve those that serve others. We figured out the key to success. We are at the top of the world…. until we are not any more. Perhaps the hard part is not just growing membership in the first place but earning your members’ vote time and time again.
- One more thing to delight your members
- 3 myths of association innovation
- How to show members you care