As Business Advisors focusing on helping businesses grow faster, we look at key elements to be able to scale the business for growth. Having the proper marketing, client identification, unique selling proposition, systems, financials, customer experience, etc. are all necessary to accommodate growth.
But it is refreshing to read about businesses that have had years of business success through basic business principles and practice. One such business is the The Wool Shop in Parksville that is celebrating 35 years in business, and the 85 year-old owner Cathy Kazenbroot is still going strong. In a recent (October, 2017) Business article in BC Local News, Cathy says that when customers ask her if she plans to retire her answer is, “I tell them, they’ll have to carry me out.” Talk about an Exit Strategy!
So why has her business been successful? As the article states, “There are no signs welcoming credit or debit cards — she accepts only cash or cheque, and does not use a credit card herself. And don’t even ask about a website or social media page. “I have no computer. I have no cell phone,” Kazenbroot said. “I am a simple woman.” I think that her last statement says a lot about Cathy’s reason for success – she keeps things simple.
We often speak about the need for a great customer experience these days and here is a business that “keeps a comfortable chair alongside her circular sales counter, where she sits and knits during quiet moments. And when a customer comes in experiencing a problem with some knitting technique or item, Kazenbroot has them sit alongside and offers tips and lessons at no charge.”
Embedded in that great customer experience is also identifying our customer’s needs and providing a solution. Cathy says that her customers “... can come in any time and bring their problem and I’ll help. I don’t mind.”
What is her Why for the business: “She has remained in business, in the same location, not out of a need for the income, but from a love of getting up every day to be among other knitters and to stay active and engaged in the community. It keeps her healthy and happy and here in the community”.
After all, as Cathy says “It’s a nice pastime for the ladies. It beats going to the psychiatrist, anytime.”