Blackberry Hostages

The Lesson of Too Many Customers:

Most of my clients want customers, lots of customers, as many customers as they can get. The truth is; I don’t really need that many customers and sometimes too many customers become overwhelming.  When they do and you’re not able to provide for the customers, they begin to look around and find that the grass really is greener somewhere else and move on.

I have always liked goats and now that I have enough space for a small farm, I decided to get some! As it turns out, I get some really great deals on goats and I’ve now got two goats and then, a short time later, two more! Then I get the ultimate deal, no strings attached, just come and get it –  a free Llama named Buddy.  I have got a beautiful field full of blackberries and everything I need to serve my new customers, heck I have the greatest blackberry patch in town.  However, I had no experience with goats and didn’t do my homework, my due vigilance. My new goats and Buddy the sexy Llama quickly eat all the blackberries. How fantastic right? Not really,  because now the grass begins to look a lot greener at the other neighbor’s house.  The goat looks across the fence and say to one another; look, they have better blackberries and more of them. Goats being goats, well they begin to stray and go to the competing yards and sometimes they escape without me even knowing they are gone!  I find another patch of blackberries here and another little patch over there but now I have spent so much time and money fixing fence I can’t even buy any hay to keep them loyal to just my field. On and on we go as I try to provide for the too many customers that In reality, I don’t have the capacity to take care of anyway. But I love goats and seem to have a desire to respond to about every cute goat ad, and truly wanting my goats.

I soon see that I have to buy more land and expand or get rid of some goat inventory, heck maybe even Buddy the sexy Llama, might be looking at the greener grass, elsewhere!  but llama is much more loyal than goats. In the beginning, I just wanted a whole bunch of new customers, never thinking about the ability to provide for those customers long term. I never thought about how do I keep my grass green enough or get enough product,  keep a consistent flow that will keep happy goats?  If you don’t have enough blackberries your customers will stray when they can’t get products from you or get good customer service. They will tell themselves over and over that there are not blackberries on that side of the fence. Bringing them back and keeping them is a lot harder than keeping them happy in the first place.  Herding goats and trying to trap them into the yard can be a pricey endeavor but they would most likely not stray if they had a lot of blackberries or even a good substitute like hay.

I think it’s better to have less quality customers that will become long-term customers that you can serve and do a good job of keeping them on your side of the fence over the long haul.