Humor me for a moment while I get inspiration on this topic from an unlikely source: McDonald’s. After slumping sales the past few years, the fast food franchise decided to do something to save itself. No, it wasn’t adding McTofu to the menu (the McPizza and McPasta should have discouraged the brand from offering products too far outside its customer base). The solution was simpler than adding new items to the lineup.
McDonald’s simply began offering breakfast all day. This one big idea came from the new CEO.
That’s it. Nothing complicated. Just make pancakes and egg sandwiches available any time. The results have bolstered McDonald’s revenues and are making competitors sweat.
Taking Inspiration From McDonald’s
I just love the sheer simplicity of executing on one good idea. Not complicating things or investing tons of money in a risky endeavor. Just doing one thing, and doing it well. So what can we learn from this?
Your customers tell you what they want. The unique thing about this story is that McDonald’s turned to its Twitter feed to see what people were asking for. They sifted back through 10 years of tweets to document how many fans had requested an all-day breakfast. What diligence!
The fact is: McDonald’s customers weren’t asking for a McPaleo sandwich. They just wanted breakfast. All day. What are your customers asking for?
The simpler, the better. I keep making bad jokes about potential McDonald’s products, but we know that the brand has failed a few times trying to create innovative products to appeal to appetites. What it has learned from its mistakes is that simpler is better. People go to McDonald’s for a hamburger and fries, or an Egg McMuffin. There’s no need to try to be Iron Chef. Just be good.
Make rules if you need to. While the fact that some locations offer egg sandwiches made with English muffins while others use biscuits and no locations offer hash browns all day is causing a stir among die-hard McDonald’s fans–but hey, they had to do what they had to do. It’s cost-prohibitive to offer every breakfast food a customer could possibly want all day, so the company set up rules about what would be available. Customers can complain, but they’ll still eat breakfast in the afternoon.
Your mission isn’t to be all things to all people. Be okay with making rules for your one good idea. Set it up on terms that make sense financially for your brand.
I think many entrepreneurs try to come up with complex solutions when the path of least resistance is often the one best slated for success. Look at whatever problem you’re dealing with in your business and ask yourself: what is one good idea to solve this? What’s the simplest solution? I’m pretty sure you’ll get amazing results if you take that direction.