September 26, 2023

Impossible Inflection Points

Last week I ate at multiple one-star MICHELIN restaurants. That's what makes vacations fun!

Now, a one-star MICHELIN restaurant can offer an impeccable dining experience at $270 per person, or, the restaurant can offer an impeccable dining experience for just $32.


Either way, the restaurant did a bunch of things right in the past, earned a MICHELIN star, and has now created a situation nearly impossible to manage. Customer expectations are sky high. It will be easy to disappoint the customer, it will be hard to delight the customer. You just do your best to maintain a very high standard.

This is where I start receiving emails from intrepid readers, with quotes like this:

  • "Kevin, you don't understand. We are unique and special, but we sell widgets. Widgets are commodity items sold at the lowest possible cost. What inflection point matters for us? We aren't a MICHELIN star restaurant, we're a purveyor of widgets?"

Of course, there are inflection points for the purveyor of widgets.

But there is nothing special about your business. You've designed a boring business. As a result, your struggle is different.
  • The one-star MICHELIN business deals with nearly impossible inflection points.
  • Your business deals with very boring inflection points.

The one-star MICHELIN business must be creative, must change, must be excellent.

The purveyor of widgets? The rules are very different. Make sure the customer needs widgets a few times per year, make sure your prices are fair, make sure you get the customer a widget immediately. Maybe you hire a "Widget Influencer" to create programming on your YouTube channel, and you link her fabulous shows to increased sales as an inflection point. But make no mistake - you are in a different business.

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