I was watching Restaurant Impossible the other day. It’s a show about a chef who works to help turn around failing businesses.

In two days.

This is reality TV, so one presumes the producers vet and select restaurants where the business issues are so blatant that a few tweaks (and a decor redesign) can make a big difference. And that’s the point: the difference between failure and success often boils down to whether or not you understand your core business.

You have to know your sweet spot.

Sweets

In the episode I watched, Irvine asked the two owners of the Off Street Cafe to name the five bestselling items on their very lengthy menu. Each correctly identified only two. Because they didn’t understand what their customers wanted, they were wasting money on inventory that was used infrequently (or, perhaps, not at all). And even frozen food has a shelf life.

The restaurant also had major service issues that were driving customers away.

You need to know what your business does best–and you need to know what your clients, customers, and prospects believe you do best. And what they need (i.e, the market landscape). If you don’t have the data to back up what you’re doing, you’re pretty much throwing your money away.

Do you know your sweet spot?

Photo by Ilinca Roman (Unsplash).