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August 12, 2014

Whoever said ‘Innovate or Die!’ was right!

franklin2My wife and I just got back from a walk around Franklin, Tennessee… one of this country’s great small towns, founded in 1799. It has the traditional, quaint Main Street (yes, it’s actually named that), lots of unique shops and restaurants and is jammed with visitors (both out-of-town tourists and locals) every weekend strolling the sidewalks. We’re lucky to live just 15 minutes away.

But here’s what’s so interesting… New and unique shops keep opening on Main Street and further and further down on the side streets. Long a venue for festivals and parades, Main Street hosts new ones every year, each attended by thousands of visitors. A few years ago, the city completed an $8 million renovation of the Franklin Theater, originally built in the 1930s. And as I write this, they are about 90% compete with new road work which not only makes access and egress easier, but beautifies the entrance to downtown Franklin with stunning stone work, iron work and historically-styled street lights.

Franklin has always had a solid foundation as a great place to visit and spend time… but – and here’s the key – it keeps improving. The city fathers and leaders haven’t rested on their laurels… they evolve to meet the needs of their visitors and to keep giving people a reason to return (again and again).

Solid thinking. And it applies to your business, as well.

Are you [continually] looking for ways to improve and enhance your services and the customer experience… or are you still delivering ‘more of the same’ and hoping good things will happen? Here are a couple of quick examples…

  • For a focus group facility… Are you adding new technology for your moderators and the clients behind the glass? How about offering additional services like usability testing, online qual platforms or unique furniture options? Are you taking advantage of technology for better & faster recruiting?
  • For a research agency… Have you added new methodologies to your service line? How about developing unique project processes or adding expertise around a new application? Still reporting your findings the same old way?
  • For a technology provider… When was your last version update? Are you still a 1-trick pony… or have you added new, complimentary products? Have you improved the way you train and support your clients?

Bottom line… Doing good work or having a good product isn’t enough anymore to keep your clients coming back. Like beautiful Franklin, TN, you need to continually find ways to improve. When you do, in addition to giving your clients a reason to return, it gives you something of interest & value to talk about with clients and prospects and inevitably, positions your firm as an ‘innovator.’

Hmmm… I wonder if we should change the town’s name to Franklin 3.0!

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