For new small business owners, it is important that when we move into developing and implementing our product and services, quality should always be at the forefront of our thinking. If at all possible, avoid the urge to jump into the market as soon as possible. Thinking about the money that we can make, or trying to beat others to the market can blind us to the importance of taking our time and establishing a quality service or product that our customers will trust and buy.
Spending time on quality is important. I was recently watching a business show and they were interviewing Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla. I was shocked when he said that at the early stages of his business they spent zero dollars on advertising. For them the most important thing was quality. They put all of their money and efforts into building the best and most efficient car in the world. Last year, based on survey results from 1.1 million subscribers, the Consumer Reports Annual Auto Issue ranked Tesla's Model S the top overall pick. The ratings factored in quality, reliability and consumer satisfaction. Elon Musk realized that if you focused your time and resources on building a superior product or service, it will sell itself, and competition would be the last thing you would have to worry about.
Here are three things that you can do to determine if your product or service has quality and is built for the long haul.
1) Test It
Put together a small testing group or focus group to get good feedback about your product or service. The quality of your product and service is not determined by what you think, it is determine by what your customers and potential customers. So find a strong group of individuals that are willing to give you unbiased and honest feedback
2) Break It
Before taking your product or service to the market, get others to try and break it. If it is a product, find an expert in that area and have him or her look for weaknesses or potential issues that might arise with the product. If you have a service, the process should be reviewed on a regular basis to assure that you are providing the best and most efficient service to the customer.
3) Survey It
Most good companies have a customer satisfaction program built into their operation process. Good companies are no longer waiting for something bad to happen before they touch base with their customer base. Many of them have a follow-up phone or email survey process that is forwarded to the customer after every interaction. This allows their customer base to have a voice, and it allows you to build more confidence and loyalty with the customer.
Other Recommended Resources on Quality
4 Steps to Improve Quality at Your Business – Entrepreneur.com http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/242926
5 Steps to Improve Quality No Matter What You Produce – Inc.com - http://www.inc.com/drew-greenblatt/5-steps-to-improve-quality.html