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October 01, 2013

My Americano Addiction

americano.jpgI recently stumbled upon a website called the “Coffee Cost Calculator” (www.hughchou.org/calc/coffee.cgi). After a few minutes of deep, introspective debate, I proceed with an honest calculation of my coffee (americano) consumption. Truth be told, I was afraid to know the real facts behind my americano addition. After all, wouldn’t life be better if I stayed in denial and just continued to enjoy my (x2) daily americano?

Alas, I finally entered the required information into the coffee calculator (average cost per cup, consumption, frequency, etc). In true barista fashion, the coffee calculator quickly dispensed a number. I couldn’t believe my eyes; I must have made an error in my assumptions! I re-ran the calculation and came up with the same result! Apparently, I spend ~$2,100 on americanos each year! If you factor in a 4% opportunity cost on missed investments, over a 10-year period that number is $23,412! This humbling exercise has left me asking myself, was it all worth it? Am I making the best decisions with my money, time, health, and resources?

This very depressing exercise made me think about other ‘americanos’ in my life, both personally as well as professionally. How many seemingly small and insignificant routines do we encounter each day and never really question their value? As witnessed in my coffee calculator exercise, these small and insignificant routines do add up over time and can make a big impact on your life and/or business.

The moral of this story is to be aware and cognoscente of the small things in your life and business. From a business perspective, your version of the ‘americano’, may be a standard operating procedure, weekly staff meeting, monthly ‘TPS report’, or that yearly direct mailing that never results in any good leads. Don’t be afraid to question the value and significance of the small things, there is never a bad time to ask the hard questions:

  • “Why are we doing this?”
  • “How is this benefiting us?”
  • “Is there a better use of our resources?”

As marketers, we need to apply this lesson to the yearly budget planning exercise. Often as marketers, we allocate our yearly budget resources to the same events, trade shows, campaigns, promotions, advertisements and publications, and rarely do we question if it’s the best use of our marketing investment resources. We need to continue to ask ourselves, are these marketing initiatives giving us the necessary return on our investment?

I leave you with this final take away. Don’t sweat the small stuff, but don’t be dismissive of them either. Continue to question the value of where you invest your money, time and resources, and remember that value can also be measured qualitatively. If your ‘americanos’ are producing happiness and personal satisfaction, be confident in your decision, because you made a great investment! Value can take on many forms, so make sure you have a way of measuring and rationalizing your decisions, both big and small. Cheers!

Blog Author: Chuck Miller


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