The way things are

My business would bejust great if it wasn’t for the internet, competitors’ discounting, consumers changing the way they buy…” These may not be the words we use, but it’s what we are really saying when we complain about ‘the way things are: Here are the facts:

• The internet is indifferent to the overhead required to run your business model.

• Customers are indifferent to the overhead required to run your business model.

• Customers are adapting their buying processes to a changed environment, quicker than you have adapted your selling and your marketing.

• Customers will only buy at their convenience, not yours. And they find the internet convenient – the same way you do when you’re ‘ buying something that’s not a kitchen.

• You are going to have to start thinking like a customer; not a retailer.

As a kitchen designen you may well have the skills to sort all this out. Think of how you work with your clients. You talk to them and listen carefully. You measure the space available. You invest your time, energy and skills designing a solution that makes the best use of the space available and the relevant components, bearing in mind the customers’ needs and expectations.

Well, just think ofthe internet as a big, awkwardly-shaped space where consumers live and extend the same design principles to this environment. You need to get the dimensions of it and (re)design your business to suit. You have access to an endless range of ‘components’ which are as flexible as the space they are designed to address. They can also be constantly measured to see how well they ‘fit§ (or not) and can be freely expanded or reduced as required.

Unlike kitchens, these ‘products’ are frictionless and gravity-free but good design principles still apply. You still need a sense of balance and proportion. You still need to have an eye for when somethingjars aesthetically or ergonomically, simply isn’t working, or is not what your clients are looking for lust like kitchens, it takes a while to really get to know these products before you can get the best out of them and be confident and competent in their use. The best time to make a start is yesterday.

Online business design

A word of caution, though, when you go looking for advice think of web people as you would kitchen titters – their skill, knowledge and experience are invaluable to the process, but you wouldn’t necessarily want them designing your kitchens. When it comes to your online presence, it’s not about web design, it’s about business design.

Use relevant and appropriate digital components with the advice, knowledge and support ofthe tech guys to achieve the outcome you want. Like good kitchen design, it’s the intelligent and purposeful arrangement ofthe components that will determine the quality of that outcome. It’s past time for complaining about the way things are. What you’re really complaining about is the way things were. What are your thoughts?