Bigger or Better – What Should Come First?

by Rebecca on June 5, 2012

smalldogwithbonebiggerI heard a great story awhile back about Truett Cathy who started Chick-fil-A™.  It was in the 90’s, and Boston Chicken™ had come on the scene.  Boston Chicken™ was growing like crazy and had announced they planned to grow into a $1 billion company by 2000 after raising $51.5 million in an IPO.  Well, the executives at Chick-fil-A™ started getting nervous, and management began meeting with bankers about borrowing money to finance their growth in order to keep up with Boston Chicken™.  The leadership team got together, and all the discussion was about growing bigger.  Truett finally slammed his hand down on the table (pretty uncharacteristic move for him evidently) and said, ”If we get better, customers will demand that we get bigger.”

dogwithsteakbetterHis focus was on getting better not getting bigger.  Fast-forward to the year 2000.  Boston Market™ (previously known as Boston Chicken™) is in bankruptcy, and Chick-fil-A™ hit $1 billion in sales.

So many times we get caught up on the “bigger, bigger” instead of focusing on how we can make things “better.”  We unfortunately had a great example of this a few weeks ago.  Let me preface this by saying we attended this same event back in 2010 and it was incredible. We still talk about what an amazing experience it was.  That being said, we were pretty excited to get to attend again this year.


I had dropped a pretty good chunk of money so my entire team could have what they called the “executive experience”.  This was to include better, up front seating, a lunch with the speaker of our choice, a lounge area, and valet parking.  The main reason I wanted to invest in the additional expense was so we could have an “up front” experience being closer to the speakers.  as well as have lunch with one of the speakers.  Unfortunately, the “executive experience” was a joke, and it was obvious the focus was on making the event bigger not better.

First, we had flown down the morning of the conference, and when we arrived, the only available seating was in the back of the room.  VIP seating in the back of the room. Really? Does this make sense to anyone?  Also after asking four different people where we should go to sign up for the speaker lunches, I finally found someone who knew. The problem was, by then, it was too late.  The sign-up sheets were all full.  When we attended this event 2 years ago, we signed up for our lunch when we bought the tickets-first come first serve- which makes a lot more sense to me.

We had a good time spending the day together, but to say I was disappointed in the experience would be a huge understatement.  What I quickly realized is they way oversold the executive experience, which destroyed the experience for people who did pay the additional expense.  I believe the mission of this conference has changed, and instead of focusing on making it better, they have become focused on making it bigger, and that is really sad.

This is just one example and I know there are countless others. So, when you are thinking about making your hospital bigger, why don’t you instead focus on making it BETTER, and over time your clients will DEMAND that you make it bigger!!

What can you and your team do to make things better? How can you add value for your clients and their pets?

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