Whilst kicking a few ideas around the office, ranting about a few bad technical decisions a customer had made about their wesbite, I came up with a great analogy that will hopefully explain the pain and pleasure of having us onboard, within your business.
In the UK, we have a popular chef called Gordon Ramsay who’s a very astute business man. He’s about to start his 3rd season of a TV series called Ramsays’s Kitchen Nightmares – in essence he’s a trouble shooter for restaurants in trouble. There’s an interesting dilema involved for the businesses that take part. Do they accept that their business needs help in a popular TV program in exchange for some clear, hands-on advice from Gordon – or do they lie low and hope they can work it out for themselves?
Gordon’s advice invariably covers the whole business – it’s not just the stuff that goes on in the kitchen. It’s everything from restaurant promotion, team work, hiring/firing team members, workplace environment, ingredients, interior decoration, booking patterns, customer expectations/needs, menu revamps, profit, etc…
He usually bruises a few egos, sometimes looses a few people in the process of turning the failing restaurants around.
This is very much what we do in our style of ‘usability testing’ at SimpleUsability. We consider the whole business – not just where the online activities dovetail into the owner’s main ambitions. Without turning this blog entry into the web industry ‘Kitchen Confidential’ book everybody wants me to write, you have to realise that the website you own, that’s probably not working as well as it could do, has been created by a team of people. Did they set out to make something that’s below par? Most people think they need to defend the reasoning behind why they did, what they did – but we believe life’s too short and our day rate for counciling is the same as our day rate for advice.
Where the analogy of why I think the stuff I do is pretty similar to the stuff that Gordon does really makes sense is that we both regularly roll our sleeves up and do any aspect of the business we’re involved in.
This is the bit that usually leaves the biggest bruise on the biggest egos – showing the incumbent what to do – and sometimes that’s not pretty. That’s what makes the TV show entertaining/embarassing to watch.
Anybody want to improve their online business? Better warn you that it may upset the incumbent in the process… if you really want it to work… that is.