Your business doesn’t have to be the world’s best to survive. You just have to be available and ready to improve. Bear with me a moment, and I’ll explain why.
I just returned from spending a magical afternoon wandering the aisles of the Reading Terminal Market in downtown Philadelphia. I had visited the market about 20 years ago, and I wanted to share the experience of a bustling city market with my family. I wasn’t disappointed.
The market was mostly as I remembered. It was fascinating to see the economics at play. The market is a popular destination, and on a Sunday afternoon the demand for hot prepared food exceeds the supply. It was easy to identify the popular businesses. Long lines of committed customers eagerly awaited their delicious food. In addition to the line, there was a confused throng milling around as they tried to decide whether to wait in line or to try their luck elsewhere.
Inevitably, some of the people who arrive wanting to eat at a popular business are too busy or hungry to wait and end up at less popular establishments. That was true of my hungry family. We found a restaurant with empty seats and no crowd to serve us quickly. It was a fallback, but it served our need. Unfortunately, the food was not good enough for us to make that choice again. But it could have been, and this is my point.
If you are providing a product or service for a well-defined business niche, this same principle applies to your business. When you begin, you won’t be one of the popular choices. However, if you hang in there a while you will be a fallback for a customer. The popular business will not meet everyone’s timeline. Their product will not be exactly what is needed for everyone. When one of these customers settles for you, listen carefully to exactly what they need. Deliver. Make sure they are happy, and soon you may be the business with the waiting list.