A good customer came to our office and asked if I knew anyone who could make custom shoe box sleeves. He said he knew I couldn’t produce them because my press couldn’t handle big enough sheet sizes.
He looked stressed and confused, and told me this was for his biggest customer and it was due in 24 hours and he had no clue where to go because he only needed 150 units.
I suggested he go get a cup of coffee and come back in a half hour so I could talk through some options with my team. He came back in 20 minutes and in that time we had a quick meeting and determined we could do the project if we used our machines in a very non-traditional way.
We produced a mock-up sleeve and, my customer, with tears welling up in his eyes almost kissed me (which we don’t generally encourage).
The customer came back the next morning and picked up 150 shoe box sleeves and has become one of our most loyal customers.
Are you turning away opportunities because on the surface they don’t appear to fit within the parameters of what you believe your core business to be? Maybe it’s time for a creative “whack on the side of the head” and approach your business from a different perspective. Sit down with your best customers and have them tell you their perspective on your strengths and what else you might be able to do for them…
Initiate conversations with every employee to get their thoughts on what else your company might do with the talent and capabilities. In other words… think outside the (shoe) box. You’ll be surprised by what you might find.
April 2012: The Supplier Spotlight Monthly SBE Contest.
Sponsored by Supplier-Connection – An initiative of major US companies committed to spending more with US-based small businesses.