Find Your Cardboard Box
When our kids were little, like many North American millennial parents, my wife and I had a tendency to over provide our kids with the popular toys of the day. If Fisher Price made it, we bought it, albeit sometimes used. A eureka moment occurred for us when on one particular Christmas morning we noticed that our daughters, having opened all their gifts, lay on the living room floor playing – not with the toys – but rather the boxes they had been packaged in. It was not the outcome we had envisioned. However it was not an unhappy one, as they seemed content enough to play with cardboard. So much so, that I went to a local appliance dealer and picked up a large stove box. I cut a door and window into it, (complete with shutters) my daughters decorated both the interior and exterior with paints, and proceeded to spend countless hours playing in our basement in a big cardboard box. The money we could have saved had we come to this realization earlier would have complimented an RESP nicely.
Fast forward to 2016. Two months ago, we completed a refurbishment of our office reception together with the common areas that serve our clients. As anyone who has undertaken a renovation can appreciate, it is not an inexpensive endeavour – especially once you retain the services of an interior designer. Laminate, is not in their vocabulary. Nonetheless, the end result is a pleasing one, seemingly to both our salespeople and their clients. As nice as it looks however, the majority of the compliments are directed unexpectedly toward a comparatively benign addition – a new coffee maker. The morning traffic surrounding the coffee maker is constant and heavy. Ive even had a salesperson relay to me that tasks she used to complete at home, she now does at the office because of…. a good cup of coffee! I am glad the coffee maker is appreciated. However the thought has occurred to me, belatedly, that had I known how popular the coffee maker would be, perhaps I could have saved a fair chunk of change, (and probably retired a year earlier) by just buying a good coffee maker. The coffee maker is my new cardboard box. The Carrera marble counter top is the forgotten toy.
“Sometimes our clients find value in areas that we had not considered…”
Lest I clumsily lead the reader to deduce that I am comparing our salespeople to my kids playing in a cardboard box – that is not my intention! (As someone guilty on more than one occasion of being fascinatingly distracted by bubble wrap, I am in no position to cast such aspersions.) Rather, the intended message and hopefully reminder to myself, is that sometimes our clients find value in areas that we had not considered or intended. Business people often get focused on providing what they see as the big things, oblivious that it might be the small things that are most appreciated.
Thanks for reading.
P.S. In fairness, coffee maker does not do this machine justice! It makes a great Cappuccino, Espresso, Mocha, Latte and some things I have not tried yet. Feel free to stop by for a cup – its free!