Pushing a boulder
Running a business can be daunting. Driving constant improvement is essential but, as one entrepreneur said to me the other day, “it’s like pushing a huge boulder up a hill.” Keep that pressure on or it’ll roll back and crush you.
Pulling that boulder
Living in “push mode” means you relish the events that conspire to support you. This week I found mine, by getting my suppliers and customers together under one roof. The face to face lifted the load off my shoulders, shared it and suddenly we were all pulling that boulder together from a much better position.
My favourite supplier and I visited my biggest and most inspirational customer. We’re into our third year of working with the cosmetic brand, Lush, and Nikos and I have worked tirelessly to meet, anticipate and fulfil their needs.
It really helps when your customer can inspire you and values your relationship. When this happens things just seem to line up. It becomes easier to collaborate with others in the challenge to meet a unique need. It becomes easier to see where the customer wants to go and set things before them that they’ll love.
I’ve written plenty about our amazing customers. But, what about our exceptional suppliers? Nikos and his 15-year-old son, George, flew from Greece specifically to join me.
Attention to colour and detail
Nikos’ fine print quality has been an important part of SplashMaps’ development in recent years. No one else comes near his attention to colour and detail – critical factors in making the best fabric maps money can buy.
Tight specifications and high expectations
The Department for International Trade introduced me to print experts who, learning of our tight specifications and high expectations, introduced us to one of the best print houses in Europe.
Together we’re continuously improving in print, processes materials, physical product options, imaginative design, personalisation and the best-licensed content money and goodwill can buy.
This week, when Nikos came to dinner. Clutched in a fresh new branded bag, he bundled me with a sack of unexpected prototypes he’d created.
Map leggings, velvety Toobs, cycle shirts and ponchos exploited selections of our best designs to bring maps into even more apparel.
Strategic long-term partnership
Working relationships are what makes businesses work. Mutual interest in meeting customer needs drives this kind of co-creation. When a supplier recognises how your unique business can access new markets for them, that’s the essence of a true strategic long term partnership. We’re lucky to have suppliers like Nikos.