When Good Enough, Isn’t

I really am conflicted on this. There’s a gap between what best practice tells us, and the practical compromises we have to make when running a business in the real world. In this and the next blog post I’ll be arguing for, then against going the extra mile. Which is best? That’s your decision to make!

What is ‘good enough’? Good enough is when you design something to simply do its job. When you give the customer what they asked for. When you take the requirement, and meet it.

  • When I was 18, my old Vauxhall Viva was good enough. It wasn’t flash or fast, but it generally got me to where I wanted to go without fuss or fanfare.
  • I find Skype to be good enough. It can be a bit flaky, the quality is not as good as a landline, but it’s free and available to just about anyone, and so it meets a need.
  • Microwavable chips are (apparently) good enough. Nothing like their freshly cut, home-made, deep fried counterparts, but they are cheap and instant and people buy them!

So why go further?
I’m always speaking to business owners who say their business is fine. Their marketing and their website and customer service is all fine, yet they complain about how tough the economy is and how their margins are being squeezed by new competitors.

So, ‘going beyond good enough’ is about going beyond fine, beating same-ness, and creating clear distance between you and your rivals.

There’s something powerful in being seen as an innovator, a thought leader – the go-to people in your field. It allows you to stand apart from your competitors, and be an easy choice for customers amidst a forest of mediocrity.

And this isn’t altruism, or ego, it’s simple economics – Customers don’t always know all the questions to ask, or even how to fully identify their needs. By going the extra mile you have a chance to really fulfil their needs, and exceed their expectations and delight them. You create loyal repeat customers, upsell opportunities, and independent (i.e. trusted) advocates for your brand.

There’s never a shortage of others who also do what you do. By thinking ahead, tracking your customers’ current and future needs, and always pushing and innovating, you get to lead the field and keep your competitors on the back foot.

Unless you want to be an ‘also’ yourself, do you really have a choice?

Next Up: When Good Enough Is, Good Enough.

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