Business owners are in a classic squeeze play, facing rising costs at a time when most consumers aren’t sitting on a lot of coin that they can afford to spend. The natural reaction for businesses is to lessen the quality of what they sell or provide. But I would encourage you not to do that.
I spoke recently about how Panera Bread never discounted, never cheapened their ingredients and never reduced the size of their servings even during the thick of the recession. They just took the squeeze play on the chin. Now, not every business can afford to do that.
What do you do if you don’t have that level of branding and influence like a Panera to be able to follow their example?
You’ve got to figure out a way to provide your product or service without lowering quality or raising prices, but rather by working smarter. A recent report I saw in USA Today talked about how businesses are going back and looking at what they make, how they make it and even how much of it they make to wrestle more value out of their system.
Maybe your business has too many varieties or sizes of products, or if you’re a restaurant you may have too many choices on the menu. All of that creates more waste.
Here’s my challenge to you: What is it in your business that you can do faster, cheaper or better and still give the consumer the same kind of quality and pricing?
In most any business, there’s waste and inefficiency even in a well-oiled machine. Squeeze out that waste and inefficiency and do what you can to maintain profit margins. That will make you a survivor even in tough times.