On Friday, by some fluke of nature, both hubby and I were working at home. We decided to treat ourselves to fish and chips from the local chippy at lunchtime.
I went in and placed the order “One large fish, chips and peas please” (It’s plenty for 2 – especially at lunchtime). Despite it being 12.30 and with no-one else in the shop, I was surprised when the cook started to batter up a fish to fry.
“Haven’t you got any ready?” I asked.
“No. I only cook them when they are ordered. The customer must wait for the fish. The fish doesn’t wait for a customer. That way they are fresh and crisp.” I was told.
And I realised that I apply the same principles to my business.
Recently I’ve been sent lots of training requests. All great opportunities, but none of which I can take advantage of. Each opportunity is like a shopping list:
- The vendor must have role/industry-specific experience
- The provider must have a course ready
- The ‘syllabus’ must meet XYZ standards
- The course must be accredited with this body or that body
- The course must cost X and be able to be delivered in Y town on Z date
- The trainer must be called Bob and have a dog
OK, so I made the last one up, but you get the gist!
As a small business, I can’t for the life of me understand why any training provider would write a very specific course or programme and then HOPE someone wants it. Why cook a fish in the hope it will sell? It’s madness. And from a client’s point of view, I can only imagine that finding a ready-made solution that ticks ALL the boxes is very difficult.
That’s why I would much rather find out what a client wants and then create it for them (and coincidentally why I never work with the Public Sector – you aren’t allowed to have those conversations!). I get to know their industry and business and find out exactly what they want before I start. Yes, it’s going to be very bespoke, but at least I’ve got a buyer. I can include whatever models they want, ensure it meets whatever standards/accreditations they want, provide detailed or ‘top-line’ materials, include loads of pre-work or none at all, create follow-up assignments (or not) make it more or less active, shorter or longer in duration. It’s like magic! And, like my fish and chip shop you place your order and it will be cooked for you.
I’d far rather spend a week creating something that someone wants than spend a week writing something that may never sell.
In addition, the client gets something that is totally relevant to them, not forced to fit, and not including elements that they don’t need because they were already included in the ‘ready-made’ course. We create it together, and the price is probably about the same.
The customer waits for the fish: The fish isn’t waiting for the customer.