We recently visited Blue Bell Creameries in Brenham, Texas. When we arrived, we were greeted by the sign featuring the slogan they've become famous for, "We eat all we can, and we sell the rest."
I've wanted to visit when we've passed through town before, but never had the chance. Hard to believe, but it's already been a couple of years since their troubles with listeria. Of course, even back then it didn't seem to change die-hard fans' view of the "national ice cream of Texas" as ice cream lovers rallied behind their favorite brand. And I must say, our visit was sweet to the taste and reminded us of a few things about being successful in business.
2. Listen to your customers and value their ideas
When walking through the visitor center Marcus met one of the members of upper management. He was friendly and listened as Marcus shared how we've tried to eliminate sugar from our diets (easier said than done) and how we found another brand of ice cream using stevia to sweeten their treats. He was so interested in Marcus' idea, he promised he would locate the product and give it to their food scientists, who'd reverse engineer and study it. Watch out, competitors!
3. Be generous with your product or service
We visited the ice cream parlor and paid $1 per scoop and were pleasantly surprised when the scoops were HUGE. It was just another reminder to go above and beyond, even in small ways, for your customers. As Marcus says from his Apple days, "Surprise and delight."
I highly recommend trying the peppermint flavor and stealing a few bites of your kiddos' chocolate to go with it. When you go above and beyond for your customers they love to return the favor. I gladly purchased a $16 "I'm cranky without my Blue Bell" tee from their shop as a reminder of our fun visit. #humanbillboard
4. Be proud of your journey
Jaxson loved checking out the paintings showing the history of Blue Bell - mostly because every other one was of cool ice cream trucks. Ha ha! A lot has changed since the company began in 1907, but it was neat to see their history - from logo changes and old slogans, to new products and ice cream flavors.
You may not keep the same company logo you started with. Things may have changed in your market, and you may need to update your mission statement to reflect your new goals. The old way of soliciting business might not effectively communicate your services to today's potential customers.
It's OK to change. In fact, it's necessary for survival! We don't operate in a vacuum. Make 2018 the year you embrace change. If you're not sure about all that social media jargon, find someone who is Facebook fluent and let them help you start a page. If your website manager hasn't been communicating well with you, maybe it's time to get a new one. Celebrate your business' history and past successes and move forward with new ideas. You'll never know until you try!
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