You know that 37% of the customers in your restaurant buy wine, but you don’t know why they buy it.

You know that the customers in your clothing store who spend the most time with  salespeople end up buying the most merchandise, but you’re not sure if their returns are higher.

You get a lot of new visitors to  your website, but you’re not sure how many are from past  customers and how many are from non-customers.

What do you know about your business, and what don’t you know?

What’s in the light … and where are you in the dark?

It’s very important to understand what you know, but it’s also really important to know what you don’t know.  What key information are you missing?


  • Dan Gunter
    Jan 07, 2010 - 09:59 am

    Excellent companion thoughts in conjunction with something I was thinking over this morning, which was a quote from Visa founder Dee Hock:

    “The problem is never how to get new, innovative thoughts into your mind, but how to get old ones out.”

    The point to me (in the case of MY thinking this morning) is that we so easily get bogged down or outright tripped up by the “facts” that are right in front of our face (such as “37% of the customers in the restaurant buy wine”) but as you well describe it, we don’t understand the “why’s” or causality associated with the known, obvious fact. Without understand the why’s, there’s no chance of improving on it (e.g., raising that percentage to 45%) and no chance we’ll see a change in the causal/driving factor, thus we get blindsided and left clueless when it “mysteriously” plummets to 18% and we suddenly have an overstocked wine inventory to pay for! Thus we say “It’s the economy.” Who knows, perhaps it was actually that article in the paper last week that told how local law enforcement was about to start policing the downtown area more heavily in the evenings in order to crack down on DUI drivers??? Funny, we could have asked a frequent patron WHY he’s suddenly not ordering wine with his dinner in the evenings. But that would involve getting close to the customer. Heaven forbid!!!

    • Steve Yastrow
      Jan 07, 2010 - 22:34 pm

      Dan – I’m sure you’ve noticed the way people assume cause and effect, pulling it out of nowhere!

  • Randy Bosch
    Jan 07, 2010 - 15:03 pm

    Great insight and needed question! Thanks.
    “The rare moment is not the moment when there is something worth looking at but the moment when we are capable of seeing.”
    Joseph Wood Krutch, “The Desert Year”

  • Steve Yastrow
    Jan 07, 2010 - 22:34 pm

    Great quote Randy!

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