Perfect Your Flagship – Why Ill-Timed Brand Growth Is a Bad Idea

Multi-use social venues (part restaurant, part bar, part rec) have been trending heavily over the past few years. In our neck of the woods, we’ve got Pinewood Social in Nashville, Southside Social in Chattanooga, and The Painted Pin in Atlanta. Eat dinner, bowl a game or two, break for some karaoke, head to the bar, host your own bocce ball tournament…all in one visit.

And that’s the “mission” of these establishments — to provide their customers a one-stop-shop for multi-faceted entertainment. They’ve got to grease the wheels at several levels. But most businesses don’t (and shouldn’t) fit that starting mold.

If you can champion one avenue first, then you win respect, trust, and overall buy-in. One of the biggest mistakes companies make is not taking the time to really champion anything. “Jack of all trades, master of none” doesn’t really work for consumers. They want the best. So, first, you’ve got to perfect your flagship.

Remember Your Customer.

They’re the ones who keep you afloat in the first place. A loyal customer base is loyal because you’ve somehow given them something they can’t get anywhere else. You provide the best product, your customer service is paramount, you think about their needs over outside pressures or trends, etc.

Groupon is a prime example of a company that’s lucky to have retained a following after it took off without a compass. Remember when it went public in 2011? By 2012, customer dissatisfaction was reaching its peak, the company was “trading more than 60 percent below its all-time high”, and key board members began to jump ship. They’re now back into the swing of reeling in customers with the same chutzpah that drew attention (and made them big bucks) in the first place — did you see that recent Facebook ad?

Customers are waiting for that familiar voice and treatment. Don’t leave ‘em hanging because you’ve lost focus.

Holistically Audit Your Inventory.

If you’re absolutely killing it with what you’ve got and have done so for a long stretch, then maybe it’s time to think about slowly tacking on another service. But to go from something that mostly works, has a fair rhythm, and the start of a proven track record, to something that’s more or less a crapshoot, is a bad idea.

The restaurant industry is notorious for forgoing their game plans in lieu of what might (initially) bring in bigger crowds. Menu expansion, in particular, is a siren song that quickly sinks new eateries. Even larger corporations like McDonald’s and Olive Garden are constantly under fire for not considering losses — like product quality, customer focus and satisfaction, and employee turnaround — associated with overwhelming offerings.

Keep chasing your goal to be known for the best “x”, before you begin your timeline to be known for the best “y”.

Keep Your Team In Mind.

Somebody’s gotta make the magic happen. If your team isn’t prepared to get into a groove with a new workflow, then that’s a huge problem. And getting into a groove is directly connected to your current business model. Small or large, a company’s dedication to open communication and trust is vital in order to keep things from slipping through the cracks.

You count on your team for a reason. Assess the pace at which they work, the stress levels associated with your current structure, and ask for their opinions on shortcomings and strides before you make plans for the future.

At the end of the day, think about your first vision, first strategy, and first dream that got you started. Just because your initial output is successful, doesn’t mean it’s time shift focus to a new venture or sacrifice what you have for ill-timed brand growth. A flagship, by definition, is a leader in all areas. If you’re not quite there, keep going until you’ve perfected it.

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