Many small business owners, including those in franchising, are faced with so many different business elements to manage that they often tend to place too much of an emphasis on one area. While it is important to spend quantity and quality time to develop a specific business element, entrepreneurs cannot put all their efforts into one focal point alone as there are many other factors to consider that will contribute to their success. Many owners seem to predominantly focus their energies on either being product centric or customer centric when it comes to managing their brand. The question remains, which option, if any, is the right one to zone in on?
Managing Executive of The Fish & Chip Co, Jan de Beer believes a franchised business needs to focus on both.
It goes without saying that the business is nothing without the product or service. With nothing to sell, what is the purpose of trading? Equally important in the equation of trade is having someone to sell to. Which begs the question, what is the business without the customer?
As logical as it may seem that both the product and customer is crucial to the business, many franchise owners operate their stores with their focus on the one concept more than the other, which could lead to ultimate failure in the end as these focus areas need to be interlinked and complementary within the business.
Here is why a business needs to be both product and customer centric:
- The business owner focusses all efforts into the development and growth of a product. With meticulous research into the market, competitors and the customer they are targeting governing the direction that will be taken to ensure success.
- Being product-focused implies that the owner is continuously building on the improvement of the business offering to ensure the brand always stays ahead of the game.
- The danger lies in being so caught up with the ‘bigger picture’ that the owner loses track of the smaller details, such as the customers’ in store experience of the product.
- Customer centricity takes its lead from the consumer at all times. It’s all about their wants, needs and preferences.
- While it involves a great deal of research into the target market, it also calls for taking an active role in managing relationships with customers – something that all team members in the business need to take part in as everyone contributes to the customer experience.
- In turn, the danger in being too customer centric can lead to the owner getting so caught up in pleasing the customer that important strategic decisions can be overlooked. At the end of the day, what works for the customer might not be best for the business.
While product and customer centricity each come with their own positives and negatives, success can only be ensured when a balance is struck. Both the product and the customer play a vital role in the success and survival of the business, which is why the focus of the owner needs to be placed on both, in equal measures.
In the end, the one cannot function without the other. Without the product, the business has nothing that will entice the customer to purchase. Without the customer, there will never be a need for the product, making its development redundant.
Opinion piece shared by PR Worx.