Five business lessons to learn from Grandma’s Thanksgiving dinner

Year after year we go over the river and through the woods to grandmother’s house for Thanksgiving dinner. Have you ever considered the lessons we might learn from making the trek? Here are some I came up with.

1.  Focus on what you do best. Sure, grandma occasionally tries out a new recipe. But she knows everyone is there for her signature dishes, so that’s where she focuses her time and energy.

That’s what successful people do. They find the thing that they love the most and do the best and it becomes their signature product or area of expertise. These are the ingenious, driven people who have given us the gadgets and services we can’t live without, and the businesses to which we return time after time.

2.  There are no shortcuts. When grandma makes Thanksgiving dinner, everything has to be done just so. Meal planning starts weeks ahead and preparation begins days before. On Thanksgiving morning, she’s up early making sure the turkey, stuffing, side dishes and desserts are ready at dinnertime.

With the pace at which things move these days, it’s tempting to take advantage of available – and sometimes seemingly obvious – shortcuts as a means to achieve success quicker. But as your grandmother will tell you, these shortcuts often lead to disappointment and sometimes disaster. Long-term success is realized by taking the necessary steps and following through with steady progress.

3.  Never be satisfied. Yes, your grandmother wants you to enjoy the meal she worked so hard to prepare. And she loves the smiles and compliments. But no matter how much you and everyone else relishes the feast, she seems to believe there is something – maybe one little thing – she can do better next year.

What your team achieves this year won’t be good enough for next year and the years beyond. You can celebrate this year’s results and still want – and expect – to do even better.

4.  Deliver on time. When grandma tells you what hour dinner is, she’s timed everything to be ready then because she knows you’ll be disappointed if it’s not.

Likewise, your customers will be unhappy if you don’t deliver what you promised on time. You’ll feel obligated to go back to grandma’s house, but your customers will feel no compulsion to come back to you.

5.  Offer some variety. Grandma knows you despise pumpkin pie. So when you walk through the door, she whispers that the freshly baked apple pie in the corner is just for you.

Not all of your customers need or want the same thing, and they won’t know whether you offer an alternative product or service unless you tell them so. As plenty of experts point out, great customer service isn’t focused on a creating a life-time relationship, it’s intended to make sure the customer will come back to you the next time they need your product or service. Offering them the right choices and following through to make sure they get them will help ensure that.

Thanksgiving is about gratitude, and it is a special time to appreciate our families, friends, customers, associates, and communities. All of us at Molloy Business Development Group are grateful for the opportunity to help our clients better understand their customers and improve relationships with them. We wish all of you a Happy Thanksgiving.

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