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  • Writer's pictureAlex Gough

If it aint broke, don't fix it

This one I'm learning the hard way.

A couple of months ago, I bought a coffee van off a lady who had been running it for nearly 6 years. Its in an area that I haven't spent much time in, and I was naive in thinking that I would be clever enough to turn it into something amazing.

The problem was: it was already amazing.

The sole owner had built it up from scratch, developed a loyal following, and catered to that specific market extremely well. Here I was, some big shot from out of town ("I've got 4 coffee vans in Sydney"), with grand plans to shake things up, "improve efficiencies" and ultimately, make more money. It had never been run as a drive thru coffee van, and here I was, the drive thru guy, thinking I'd turn it into a drive thru overnight. I thought I knew these people. "They'll love it, just wait". I thought I'd impress them - show them how a van should really be run.

I've now got egg all over my face.

Fortunately, all is not lost. 4 weeks in to me taking over the van again myself (after losing the two employees I had employed to replace the one original owner - again, part of my grand plan of improving the business), and scrapping the drive thru idea (South Coast people have way more time than Sydney people, and unlike the Sydney people, love to have a chat!), I am slowly regaining the trust of the locals. Some of them are gone forever, never to return - it only takes one bad experience for some to never come back. Some are still there, and more are coming. But it is a long road back to redemption.

In many ways, I'm enjoying the learning experience. I hope it helps me build a better business overall.

1. There's no one-size-fits-all model in business.

2. If it aint broke, don't fix it.

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