Implementation Fail: How 4 Businesses Cost Themselves Customers and Revenue

Broken ChainHaving an awesome, or even “just good”, idea is only part of the equation.  The process to make it happen has to be in place and properly executed.

Here’s how 4 businesses with great ideas failed at implementation and cost themselves customers and revenue as a result:

IMPLEMENTATION FAIL #1: Food Vendor at local Farmer’s Market

He’s known for his amazing food.  On this particular day his chalkboard was advertising ribs, sausage and peppers and various side dishes — including his reknown cheesy potatoes and candied yams.

When I walked by there were a few people in line, all asking for ribs.  The Market had been open for just over an hour.  His response? “They’ll be ready in about an hour.”

I thought maybe he’d run out and was making the next batch.  I was there to pick up a sausage and peppers for my husband.  “Not ready yet, come back in about 30 minutes”, he tells me.

“WOW, you’ve had a great day”, I say, a little surprised as the Patriots were playing, it was a raw and drizzling day and over half of the vendors (including the one I specifically went for) weren’t there.

Turns out the food wasn’t ready because he hadn’t prepared it in advance.  He was asking people to wait 30 – 60 minutes at a Market that didn’t have enough booths to occupy us for more than 15 minutes.

The Result?

As I walked through the Market, I counted 9 people who were grumbling to their partner/another vendor about how much they were looking forward to his food and how none of it was ready.  My guess?  He lost several hundreds of dollars and a lot of goodwill.

IMPLEMENTATION FAIL #2: National Chain Grocery Store

Given #1 above, I wanted to bring something home for my husband’s lunch.  Something “hot and ready” for him to enjoy during the football game that didn’t require my cooking and wasn’t fast food.

I swing into a national chain grocery store, pick up what I need to finish off our dinner plans and head over to their hot food counter.  There’s a man standing behind the counter smiling at his smartphone as he types away.

Of the 9 sections for hot food, two of them had something in them:

  • shriveled up fried chicken
  • 3 dried up potato wedges

It took my asking twice to get his attention and learn that they’ve been “swamped” and he “hasn’t had time” to prepare more.



While walking around the store in #2, I was behind a very well-dressed gentleman walking slowly and using a cane.  The cane was a statement piece itself with it’s elaborately carved design.

He was with an equally well-dressed woman and saying to her something to the effect of he loves his new cane, but can’t get the “!@#$%” bar code off and, as a result, won’t use it at the office or any function where someone may see it, “even though I try and keep it covered”.

So here we have a gentleman who simultaneously loves and is ashamed of his walking cane and refuses to use it where his colleagues may see the bar code.  Sure, he could go back to the store he got it from, but he’s likely not going to, nor should he need to.

Think he’s referring anyone to this store?

IMPLEMENTATION FAIL #4: The Farmer and the CSA

So after all of this, I stop at a local farm and am thrilled that he’s not busy at the moment.  You see, he has a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) Program and, while I’ve read his info on it, I have a few questions.

I start to ask and he tells me how his CSA is “perfected” and they did a lot of research before deciding on this particular model.

“That’s great”, I tell him, “I had a few questions on it.”

“Go on our website and you can read all about it. The information is there.”

AH! Now I’ve been on the site and I still have questions, but he was having none of it.  Every question was met with “go to the website”.  If he was busy with customers, I’d totally get it (and it’s the reason I haven’t asked until now), but I was the only one there and he’d been sitting in a chair until I walked up.

The Result?

He’s the one farmer I most definitely will not be getting a CSA from next season.

Great ideas, great processes only take us so far.  We, and our Team, need to follow-through on both when it comes to implementation.

What “implementation fails” have you run in to lately?  Please share below as they provide great lessons for all of us.