Once upon a time, in a quaint little neighborhood, Mr. Sharma opened his tiny hole-in-the-wall sweet shop. His wife was an excellent cook and made fresh mithai with real ingredients every day. They made sweets and later namkeen with perfection using the best of ingredients and love to feed others. Needless to say that in a little while the shop started doing brisk business. Reasonably priced and yummy, the goodies started flying off the shelves soon. As business grew, Mr. Sharma hired a few people to help in the kitchen and also to procure ingredients. A couple of boys also came and helped at the cash counter. The business grew further.
Dazzled by their success, another similar shop opened next door. Its sweets were not as tasty but they offered huge discounts. Initially some of Mr. Sharma’s clientele tried out the neighbor’s goodies but were lured back due to the original store’s taste and quality albeit at a higher price. Mr. Sharma’s friend who was in Marketing offered Mr. Sharma some suggestions to increase his sales and stay competitive. So the shop expanded, got a fresh coat of paint. A section spilled onto the pavement and had chairs and tables to seat people. They also added to their menu items that they did not cook themselves but outsourced. And as the prices of ingredients rose, Mrs. Sharma was asked to reduce the quantity of mawa and milk and pure ghee in the sweets. The oil for namkeen was now used till it got grimy. More cooks were hired and Mrs. Sharma now supervised rarely. All these initiatives rewarded Mr. Sharma handsomely. He started making more money, selling more mithais and namkeens and making more profit.
This continued for a year. But the sales then started dwindling. People moved away to the many new shops in the neighborhood that offered the same fare. No one asked for Mrs. Sharma’s yummy jalebis, kalakands, hot gulab jamuns or fresh-off-the-oven Dhoklas anymore. Though old timers still smacked their lips reminiscing flavors long gone. Now in their place were beautiful mithai that tasted nothing like the original, real things! Mr. Sharma was flummoxed. He did everything right! His shop looked beautiful. He even had Bisleri water for his customers and fly traps to keep the place clean. The chairs were new and glitzy and his boys wore a smart uniform. He had got a lovely new neon board installed too. He had paid good money and yet his ware was increasingly being sidelined?
Do you know where Mr. Sharma was going wrong in his chase of volumes and higher profits? Do you see this happen often around you? Do let me know in the comments.
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