Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Good Enough Never Is

“Good enough never is,” says Fields. “Set your standards so high that even the flaws are considered excellent.”*

“Good enough never is”, a business philosophy closely associated with Mrs. Debbi Fields, is one of my favourite quotes. When you are out there in the market providing a service or a product, what do you think defines “good enough” for your product or service? Nothing! “Good enough” is just a milestone or a stage in the continuous process of improving the quality of your service or product. So it keeps moving further and it is difficult to capture it [for your business] within the bounds of a definition for a long time-period or for that matter, even for the moment when you try to define it!

There can be two viewpoints here – one, that you can reach near-excellence, but can never actually achieve excellence. If you follow this tenet then you will always work for improvement - unless it is "good enough"! Two, that no matter how much you work to make something excellent, there will always be someone somewhere in time and space who would not be a satisfied customer - who will not find your product/service "good enough". So, you judge the "fit-for-the-purpose" state of your product/service for that time and go to the market.

What do these two viewpoints mean for Entrepreneurs? If you choose the second viewpoint, then the startup runs a risk of getting beaten down because of lack of excellence. But if you choose the first viewpoint then, for an entrepreneur who plans to launch his/her start-up, this may sound extremely unpractical and daunting. After all, if that were the case [that good enough never is] then a start-up can never take off. 

The point that should be appreciated here is that “good enough never is” should always be applied in relativity; it should be a mantra for a continuous effort towards the detail to quality. From an entrepreneur’s point of view, it is better to look at it in this way. Let us assume that you are either addressing a niche or new market with a product. For example, if you are providing a software product then you must see which features you can do with just being ‘good enough” and which features need nothing less than excellence [or close to it]. Your validation stage of Entrepreneurial Process would have helped you in adjusting the requirements and features that you have planned to finally roll out your product with. You should keep listening to your customers and judging the future trends to meet the new expectation levels of “good enough”. This way you will see your product evolve into what the market needs. Seek for perfections that could make a difference to your startup at that stage. Anything secondary could be “fit for the purpose”. But if you are venturing into a crowded market with a 'me-too' model, then the “good enough” should be nothing less than excellence - ever.

Since good enough never is, hence there is always a spark for innovative thinking and it brings out better value propositions. Open markets, globalization, efficient flow of information and business philosophies like “good enough never is” are the important factors that propagate  Entrepreneurship.