I had an interesting chat today with a restauranteur of a Thai cafe that opened five months ago. Never having seen anyone eat in there before I couldn’t help but ask him how business was going for him? To which he responded “It’s getting better.” Track the underlying meaning in that one folks!
Knowing that he had decided to open a Thai cafe in a small strip of shops which already had three other well patroned Thai restaurants, I asked him why he decided to open up in this location? His answer was simply, “I have eaten at the other Thai restaurants and I didn’t like the food. The food is more oriented to Australian taste buds than Thai taste buds, Thai people would not eat the other restaurant’s food.” Now I was really curious about this Restauranteur’s thought process and business planning. My curiosity got the better of me and I had to ask him what percentage of his customer base was Thai? To which he responded “None, this restaurant is too far for them to travel to, they mainly go to the city as it is closer.“
So here we have a cafe with a proprietor who is attempting to sell traditional Thai cuisine to a customer base that doesn’t travel to his suburb, in a location where there is established competition and who cater to the local’s taste buds. Is it any wonder why this cafe never has a soul sitting inside eating their food?
What was evident to me during this discussion was this proprietor did not seem to be working with a business coach to help him turn his business around. He also did not appear to have conducted an effective SWOT analysis to chart the business’ Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. And he also didn’t seem to have a well developed marketing plan in place as evidenced by his poor signage, unexciting specials, spartan decor, lack of local area marketing and a failure to effectively communicate his Unique Selling Proposition.
He reminded me of the saying:
“When you fail to plan you are successfully planning to fail.”
This is where business and executive coaching fills an important role in aiding business owners and their staff in charting a course of action that increases the prospect of success. Without expert assistance and well formed plans; a business can be akin to a rudderless ship with a hole in its hull, adrift in a sea of competition and leaving a huge oil slick behind it of disgruntled customers and lost revenue.
It doesn’t make cents to invest in business coaching – it makes DOLLARS!