Just Do It Or Your Competitors Will

Years ago I worked for a restaurant that had built a very successful chain of locations using nothing but word of mouth. They did not believe in any other kind of advertising. None. No TV, no radio, no print. They wouldn’t even put fliers on cars.

Their philosophy was that as long as everything inside the four walls of the business were running correctly, no outside factors could affect their sales. Any decline in sales meant that something must be wrong inside the business and had to be discovered and rooted out.

This worked great when the competition was minimal. In fact, since this chain opened in the sixties, they were the only game in town in many cities for a very long time. They even bragged about how they saved money by not opening on main street, but by putting their locations on a lesser known, and cheaper to lease, side road. As long as everything inside was perfect, then the place would prosper.

No outside factor could hurt the bottom line.

Tornado ripping through town? Sales should not be affected. Economy suffering a recession? Sales should be fine. A dozen competitors open up on the main drag? Why, that should only drive more customers to the area, so sales should increase!

Those dozen competitors start an advertising blitz so intense that people forget you exist??? They believed that shouldn’t affect business at all.

In fact, over the years I saw many upper management types lose their jobs as the corporate office tried to figure out why sales were declining. It just had to be internal. Their philosophy told them so. Their company charter also told them, no advertising. It wasn’t necessary.

So they stuck with both outdated beliefs. And suffered till they , reluctantly, decided to do what all the rest were doing.

How many businesses today are like this one? How many are waiting to see if all the new technologies and avenues to reach customers is tried out and perfected by their competitors? How many think that it is too difficult, and that if they can’t figure it out, their competitors probably can’t either, so they should be fine.

My guess is, a lot. And they will probably suffer the same fate. It could take years to recover, if they do at all.

Business today can be a lot like musical chairs. If you are the last one to adopt new methods, you may find yourself without  a place to sit. When the times are a-changin’ you have to change with them.

Put it into your company charter. Make it your philosophy. It is the one belief that will ever be outdated.