Values: You’ve shown me yours – so I’ll show you one of mine!

One of the most important posts on this blog is the list of 50 top values of Spiritus members.

So I thought you might like to know about one of my own values – and how it got me into a whole heap of trouble!

This particular value is called quality.

Sandwich production line

Back in the very early 1990s I set up a 2000 sq foot chilled factory to make sandwiches.

It was really important to me that this be the very highest quality facility around.  The new Food Hygiene Act was coming in and my factory was way ahead of the game.

  • We chilled the unit to 5 degrees centigrade to keep the ingredients at a safe temperature -then gave the staff padded tops and trousers, neck wraps and a overall to keep them warm.
  • The air pressure inside the unit was slightly above atmospheric to help stop air-born germs entering.
  • We spent over $1500 a month on laundry and cleaning costs.
  • We spent another stack of money on testing salads, meats and all the other incoming ingredients and outgoing finished goods to prove our standards.
  • We inspected our suppliers, and bought only the very best.

Quality was the watchword all along the line.

This meant that our products were relatively expensive, compared with other manufacturers.

So I got my very first lesson in Spiritual Marketing.

I needed to find customers who needed or wanted to buy sandwiches made to these very high standards of quality.

I found them in hospitals, buying for their patients.

The very same rules that I was meeting and exceeding were impossible for hospitals to achieve in their kitchens so they were starting to buy in from manufacturers like me.

At that time, the biggest market for sandwiches was small neighbourhood shops and garages.Their most important value was cost. They wanted to buy at the lowest cost possible, and, again at that time, there were many factories manufacturing in much poorer conditions but just within the legal limits.

Hospitals however had to be very sure that any food they  bought in was of the highest possible quality, especially in terms of hygiene, so they loved what I was doing and bought from me.

It was only a small proportion of the overall market – but I knew who valued what was important to me, and that was who I marketed to. I didn’t bother with the local shops and garages – I knew they were not in tune with me.

That was how I built my business from zero turnover to £20,000 a week, (£1.000,000  or $1,500,000, a year)  in just thirteen months.

Sadly, at that point, our biggest hospital client, taking 35% of our production, ran into financial problems and withdrew their business literally overnight. With such high overheads, and unable to sell into the mainstream business,  we went from making an operating profit to making a serious weekly loss, and in a short time I was forced to sell the business.

But I never forgot that lesson – I needed to find customers who valued what was important to me.

Which is how Spiritus came about.

As a business, you lay out in your profile your own values, what matters to you, and how those values impact how you run your business,

Then people looking for your sort of product or service come to the Directory,  do a search, and are able to choose who to look at further by seeing the answers to those questions.

The result is people connected at the level of values -and business relationships which are forged at a deeper, more meaningful and often much more successful level than is the norm in the world of today.

If you want to attract more of the customers and clients who lift your spirits, make your heart sing and, above all, appreciate what you do and how you do it, click the How to Advertise tab at the top of the page and list your business right now for just $10 a month (£5 if you live in the UK).



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One Response to Values: You’ve shown me yours – so I’ll show you one of mine!

  1. Julieanne van Zyl June 24, 2013 at 3:56 am #

    Hi Shelagh, I didn’t know you built a brick and mortar business like that, it took a real entrepreneurial flair to do that! What a shame the hospital ran into financial difficulties or you might still have that business!

    My husband and I, over the last few weeks, have been getting “Lite n Easy” meals delivered to us (I am tired of cooking LOL). They deliver for the whole 7 days, only once a week. I am positive that “quality” would be one of the company’s values, because the meals are yummy and of high quality, and mostly fresh. There’s only been a couple of times where a tomatoe or an apple is a bit soft. If companies like this don’t provide quality, their customers would be gone in a flash.

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