I love Alex Polizzi’s no nonsense style in the Hotel Inspector. But after a while all the various hotel issues seem to merge into one! So as much as I still watch the Channel 4 programme her new programme The Fixer appealed to me much more when it aired last year. Firstly because it was showcasing a variety of businesses and secondly as the programme looks at family businesses. I wrote two blog articles on last year’s series. And eagerly awaited the next series. https://fionadranesblog.wordpress.com/2012/02/23/alex-the-fixer-hits-manchester/ and https://fionadranesblog.wordpress.com/2012/02/16/the-fixer-alex-polizzi-what-can-you-learn-to-fix/.
First programme of series two was a curtain shop in East London with a rich history dating back to 1920. Three things in particular stood out for me.
One first appearances count. The outside of the shop was cluttered with posters and different messages all giving the impression that the shop was some bargain basement store. Not a business that could offer custom-made quality curtains. It’s easy not to see things in your business and assume that customers and potential customers see your business as you do. They don’t. You only get a limited window to showcase what you do. So make sure that when people approach your business they know exactly what you do and that you give the best possible image.
Secondly stick to your knitting. We are going through hard times just now. A business needs to know what it does and what it stands for. This business should have focused on curtains supplying material and also offering a custom-made curtain service. Instead inside the shop there were rugs, cheap towels and bath towels, duvets, alongside the curtain material! In other words clutter, clutter,clutter. What is this business’ knitting? Curtains? Do they stand clearly for this? No.
Finally the third lesson is listen to your customers. Yes you have your own views and opinions. But so do your customers. You are offering a service and a key part of that is to listen to what your customers want and give it to them. This business is given the opportunity to tender for curtains for one of the Rocco Forte Hotel’s. The client in this case Alex Polizzi’s mother clearly states that the hotel is about being clean and contemporary. Minimal is key. This is evident from the stylish bedrooms that are shown. So what does one of the brother’s do? Argues that what is needed is pelmets and lots of fussy curtains. Why? It’s what he likes to do but this is not about him. It’s about the customer and it always pays to listen to them.
Why do I like Alex Polizzi? Many reasons but mainly her ability to get to the heart of the issue. In this case first impressions count, secondly know what you do and stick to your knitting and thirdly listen to your customers. Three business lessons that we all need to consider.
PS – And as for the infestation of rats in the shop! I’m speechless not that there was the infestation but that they kept the shop open! What can I say each to their own.