I was thinking about why we have an obesity problem in the richer nations of the world and I have come to the conclusion that we are bored. I have bought more gadgets to get fit than I care to think about. I have also been so bored with them that I want to take a nap in the middle of using them. Repetitive Motion Sickness is the phrase for this junk’s usefulness. None of it is fun and none of it makes me want to go back and use it again. I do not see the end to people becoming fat. I was going to call this article “I Don’t Know the Answer”, but I do know the answer. Eat less calories and exercise. I am not good at either one, but I do maintain my weight with a scale and an occasional salad.
Now, why is a guy who talks about business and finding success talking about fat? The answer lies in the fact that, like many things, it affects the way you do business. If people are getting fat, they are getting slower. They are looking for ways to get things done that require less energy and effort. At the same time, you have to think about size in all that you do. If you are making cell phones, you need to think about bigger buttons for fatter fingers or a voice recognition software that will make buttons obsolete. If you have a brick and mortar store, you will need wider aisles. That will mean you will have less room for merchandise. You will need to move the products off the shelf and have a catalog system where a customer scans items at a kiosk and the order is bagged in the back warehouse. Obesity makes you have to change the way you do business.
So, what if you want to change a person’s habits? Changing habits is not really a business model. A business is geared to the habits that the population already has. Changing habits requires a shift in business that makes people think about a problem as a solution. What if exercise was in that grey area of business where customers wanted to be? How do we make exercise seem like a “must do” event in everyone’s day? Make it fun.
- Many sports are good for exercise, but most of us find it hard to get the time to meet and play
- Workout places smell and there is always some kind of etiquette that I still don’t understand
- Workout equipment is either too costly or its cheap and dangerous
- If I look like I need to work out, I am probably not going to fit in on a team, in a gym, or as my own coach
We need a business model that involves fun and a challenge with friends that requires less time commitment and a way to communicate with a team of people working out with you. The internet provides a medium for communication. That takes care of the peer pressure. It can also make it so you can log in when you have time. I like the idea of the exercise games on Wii and PlayStation, but they are marketed as toys and the exercise games are few. The adult mind is tuned differently than a child. Trying to push an adult into a kid’s world is a bad fit. Adults need variety even more than kids do. Want to sell more Wii’s? Make more games that appeal to the “big kids”. Create a new brand that is team building, online, and is fun and you have a way to change exercise habits.
*I am not going to create the business here…this is the point where I get YOU thinking of the actual game for adults to play.
But, what about eating less calories? Again, we are bored, so we go for comfort food.
Is there a fun way to eat less food? I like to feel something when I eat. I like to feel full and rewarded. Sound selfish? Yes it does. I am not arguing that point. I want to feel good when I eat. So, I am looking for foods that take care of those wants (not needs since I only need the calories to keep my body alive). Now I need to a tailor a business model to feeding people well and meeting their desire for full bellies and tasty foods. That is a culinary dream. Just like we get repetitive motion sickness with exercise, we get tired of the same tastes and need change.
Most restaurants have a set menu. That is the consistency they bank on when a customer wants to eat. We go through the list of restaurants weekly to find the right place to eat. What if the menu changed and it was all acceptable to customers? I have seen many of the best restaurants use this design. What about a fast food chain, though? What if they used fresh ingredients and provided it fast to buy and eat? I have often heard that the seasonings and sauces make the dish. Chicken is chicken flavored and beef is beef flavored when cooked. It is the addition of seasonings that change the taste and make the dish. Create a menu of fast well seasoned foods that are lower fat and calorie and you have a business that meets the needs of customers.
I know I am not the first to think of any of this. It is not the point of the article to create something new. I want to stir the pot and skim off some of the fat while meeting customer needs. I want you to see clearly the world you sell to. Take a good look at your customers and their challenges. Look past today and see where people are heading. Make changes that meet needs and change outlooks and you have a business that you can be proud of talking about.
Bob Griffin – CEO and Co-Founder