Cookie cutter business

Every year I make shortbread for Christmas presents. A lot of shortbread. It takes me several evenings to make enough. I think people expect it now – I’ve been asked to give shortbread for presents and so I don’t think I can’t! I don’t mind. If shortbread is something I’m good at then that’s fine with me.

Last year I bought some new cookie cutters. So rather than just doing stars and circles, I could make reindeer shortbread (my favourite), snowmen shortbread, Christmas Tree shortbread, Angel shortbread – there are so many shapes and I love them.

Every shape of cookie cutter has some association with Christmas. Every cookie cutter creates the same shape over and over again.

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In your business you should have a range of images or templates that have something to do with what you’re all about. Templates and images that create the same impression and style over and over again. Just like the cookie cutters.

This is about one of my favourite things – consistency. Using the same imagery over and over again creates an association with your business in the minds of the people who see the imagery. Being consistent shows that you’re reliable, trustworthy,  you think through what you’re doing and always get the same results.

I want the same results every time I cut out a reindeer biscuit. Every time. Otherwise I’ll be annoyed!

Your clients want the same results and experience every time they work with you – they have expectations to be met.

Having a “cookie-cutter” business isn’t seen as being a great thing. It shows a lack of originality and sameness. However, if you are the creator of the cookie cutters that you use for your own business and ensure that you use them appropriately, then I think a cookie cutter business could be a good thing!

It’s about having systems and processes in place, developing a visual identity and ensuring that you are consistent – but not boring. Certainly not unoriginal and samey – but taking all the important things about your business and using those to create your very own original cookie cutters that help you to create the same look and feel time after time, the same experience and process recreated over and over – not to be boring, but to ensure that your brand is showing through at every touchpoint.

Examples include:

– your brand style guide

– the systems you use to attract customers

– the processes you use to deliver a great service

– the way that things are made

– your follow up process

– how often you send a newsletter

– how often you tweet or schedule a Facebook post and how that sounds

Maybe you could consider reading The E-Myth by Michael Gerber to see how important this is.

If you have all of these cookie cutters in place then you’ll be able always serve people in the same way – and so will your staff, your franchisees, anyone else who needs to take part in your business.

Having a cookie cutter business, provided you’ve thought through each shape, can be something that really works for you. If you get really good at cutting those cookies the same way each time then people will want more of them because you’ve thought through your business so well, you’re managing expectations and people know they can trust you.

 

 

 

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