By Charlotte L. Hanna CCO CMBS Global
Chocolate. For many, chocolate rules and this one little word can cause the salivary glands to go into full drive and conjure up strong feelings of desire. It can produce “oohs and ahhs”, succeed in making fruit-eaters out of children and persnickety adults, calm anxiety, and even force (women, in particular) to make an emergency run to the nearest convenience store – unconcerned for their attire or lack of makeup.
In other words, there are those who are willing fools for chocolate! They’ve just got to have it.
You may, or may not, be passionate about this nearly universal obsession – but there is no denying the power of this confection when you look at the business of chocolate around the world. Chocolate has been around since the ancient Maya and Aztec cultures started mixing ground cacao seeds with various seasonings to make a spicy drink. The world of chocolate has its highs and lows, to be sure, and the solid milk-chocolate bunnies we all enjoyed as kids are fine for 7-year-olds, but many adults who have been indulging for years have a more evolved palate. Paying premium prices for premium chocolate has become an acceptable form of ‘investment’ for those seeking the pleasure of its company, and thousands of dollars per ounce is not unheard of in today’s gourmet chocolate industry.
Thankfully, there is a price point for almost every level of chocolate compulsion – and when you’ve just got to have chocolate – there is a plentiful supply from which to choose. The business of chocolate is big business, and those who provide this tasty treat to the masses long ago recognized the benefits to the industry of providing a wide variety of choices and prices to keep the people's cravings satisfied.
If you are in business, be sure you are hearing from the market you serve. Don’t focus only on what you would like to see, or on your own personal preferences, instead let your customers and clients tell you what they want. Make it a point to look closely at what the consumers of your products and services are actually saying about what you are offering.
As with chocolate, a genuine demand is necessary for the realization of profits. However, there may be times when you must be flexible and creative when providing for your niche market. Some may be looking for the basics; some may require additional add-ons to flavor the deal. Some, who are looking for what you offer, have to be able to ‘sample’ it first. And some are familiar enough with what it is you provide, but they have come to the point where they want more and are willing to pay for a premium product or service. Be ready and able to step up your game and realize the potential profit.
You must know your market well enough to be able to decide when it is time to add the “nuts and fruit,” as well as be effectively prepared to go all out and offer what no one else in the industry is yet providing – that “unexpected and out of this world ingredient” that can put your business over the top!
Success, like chocolate, can be as sweet as you make it. Quality is the one ingredient you should never skimp on in business. By asking your customers for their input, listening to, and hearing from those in your target market, and watching what those in your industry are doing – or not doing – you may soon find that one thing for which your clients and customers will passionately do and spend whatever it takes to experience its benefits.