Giving a K.I.S.S. of life to your home-based business

K.I.S.S= Keep It Simple ,Silly!

Shalini had always had a flair for cooking. A true qween at kitchen, she could be seen experimenting with dishes, making her family and guests drool.But she wanted to do more. With the encouragement from her friends and family, she decided to join QWEEN. After completing a few trainings with renowned chefs ,  she was ready to launch on her own.

Soon, her venture was born. Initially, she started with simple home cooked food for which she would take orders a few days in advance.She was happy and so were her customers. Enthused by the response, she decided to increase her portfolio. Now she was thinking of offering baked products, ready to eat meals, and a lot more. Very soon, she was working almost 18 hours a day, sometimes, pulling in late nights and early mornings to give her best to her clients.

But one day, a rude shock awaited her. She got a call from a friend. “Shalini, have you checked your Facebook page lately?” Wiping her hands off her apron , Shalini replied “What happened?” The friend , trying to not divulge much over phone said “Check it right now, someone has complained about your food” Shalini was devastated.

What exactly went wrong? She wondered. When she approached us, our panel of experts explained to her what she could do.. here is what happened at the discussion panel.

Having more bells and whistles on your product doesn’t necessarily make it better. If you complicate your offering, in your case home cooked food, you could end up in a lot of trouble, even loose your reputation and,worse, business!

The lesson here is that while Shalini was envisioning her offerings as a multi-cuisine no holds barred home based restaurant, it was getting overly complex and confusing to customers. And to keep up with the varied demands, she was forced to cut corners, sometimes decorating of cupcakes as an extra flair took so much time that her snacks suffered the brunt.

What should have been done-

Our experts laid out a 3 point agenda for the problem-

  1. Let simplicity reign.

Having too many frills and features doesn’t mean your product may not be up to the mark always and doesn’t do you customer any favour. In order to simplify and improve your products, first identify who you are as a company. Ask yourself and your team a simple question-“What are we good at?” Your firm’s identity gives roots to each product offering  and allows you to let them grown from a focussed origin. For Shalini, who is from North India, we suggested to go with North Indian cuisine. She could manage it well , had ideas to introduce fusion dishes and was her core strength.

Paradoxically, having a specific niche can allow you to reach a broader customer base.By understanding her own identity and isolating a certain area of expertise to build on, Shalini could attract  higher share of customers. In time, her dominance discouraged competitors from entering her segment!

  1. Don’t pigeonhole yourself

This step follows through on step one. Now that you  ave asked yourself what you and specifically your business is good at, its time to determine all the pain points that your expertise can solve. Though you are supposed to find your core strength and stick to it, if you do offer a hyperspecific product, you are cutting yourself off, and customers will use your offering only in a single setting.  Some businesses will take the above advice and run with it, aiming for an as-niche-as-possible product. But if you do offer a hyperspecific product, you’re pigeon-holing yourself, since consumers will believe they can use your product only in a single setting. A niche should be your foundation, not your ceiling.

For Shalini, we suggested that though she was offering North Indian Home cooked food at really affordable price, she could look beyond her own brand and tie up with other home chef services where her food could be sold at a margin. We suggested that she approach services like UrbanClap where she could get catering assignments for north Indian food.We also encouraged her to have workshops on teaching North Indian Cuisine and experiment with fusion foods which are becoming hugely popular.

  1. Think simple, not small. 

Simplicity does not mean small thinking. You don’t have to limit your company to one or just a few products, nor do you have to resist the entrepreneurial urge to innovate and re-innovate. As long as Shalini could keep her focus on making  good food, and maintain her quality standards, she had the freedom to invent new recipes or reinvent old ones.

“Simple,” does not mean boring. Simplyfing your business means sticking to its core purpose and making it easy for customers. Simplifying your product means distilling it to its core purpose and making it easy for customers to order . And that’s exactly what everyone wants: simple.

 

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