Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Is the Juice Worth the Squeeze?

Would you squeeze two dozen oranges to get juice that tasted like Tang? Of course not. Why put all of that effort into something that can be created more easily by opening a jar, scooping out some powder, and mixing in water?

So why do many of us (yes, I am including myself) waste our time buying merchandise that we can’t make money with, get involved in projects with limited potential, work with vendors that don’t perform well, serve customers we don’t make money with, retain employees that under-perform, and stay in locations that are marginal at best?

I was at a meeting of my mastermind group, a.k.a. my board of advisors, colleagues, brain trust, and my closest business friends in the world. We meet every other month to discuss trends, our businesses, and the issues of the day. At our last meeting Susan Keane Baker, author of Patient Expectations and a leading service expert and authority in the healthcare industry, uttered the words, is the juice worth the squeeze? It stopped us all in our tracks because it addresses such a universal problem in business today, getting involved in things that aren’t the highest priority or just aren’t worth the effort.

I was working with a business that was agonizing over which long distance carrier to go with. I know every penny is important but she was losing sales on the selling floor of her store that could have represented hundreds of dollars of business while she was figuring out the difference between paying a monthly charge with 5 cents a minute or no monthly charge with 7 cents a minute. I asked her how many minutes they used long distance service? She said about 500 to 600 minutes a month. That juice was not worth the squeeze.

A store that carries a name brand that every store carries and is discounted by everyone is the juice that’s not worth the squeeze. Sure you can sell it, but can you make money from it? Probably not. Find another resource.

Giving a customer an argument over a return is the juice that’s not worth the squeeze. Give them back their money, suck it up, and move on. No, they’re NOT right but is it worth the time? No way! Again here’s the juice that’s not worth the squeeze.

Is it worth time to complain about a business if we have no intentions of ever returning? No! The juice is not worth the squeeze.

Don’t open up another business unless you can make a strong case that the return not only on your money but time and focus is going to pay off. I worked with a business that had a chain of stores. One store was well run, paid its bills on time, had a loyal customer base, and was profitable. The only problem was after all the bills were paid, this 10+ year old store generated only $3,000 to $4,000 annually to the owner. Either build up the sales, which she is constantly trying to do, cut the expenses, which are already as low as they can go, or move the business to an area with more potential. In that location, the juice was not worth the squeeze.

Start to ask yourself that simple question — is the juice worth the squeeze? — and amazing decisions start to happen. You won’t get involved in non-productive tasks and it will simplify your life. It’s already starting to simplify mine.

By the way, for all of you regular readers … I did get my spa cover delivered. But I never received a call from the company to apologize. They’re a business that’s not worth the squeeze but maybe that’s how they feel about me.


At June 08, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm sorry, but for anyone who has tasted fresh squeezed orange juice, there is NO comparison with Tang! I put the effort in EVERY day to fresh squeeze oranges for my family. Not only is it better, but there is more nutrition in fresh orange juice than in Tang. Sorry, Rick! I do understand your point but I really get hung up on the juice analogy. You really should try some fresh squeezed OJ!

At July 21, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Rick

I agree with you. One has to quickly analyse the worth of the effort. But then the values of different people are different. Everyone looks at the picture through their own glasses.
Good analysis.

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