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As you grow older (and hopefully wiser), Father Time starts taking a greater interest in you. He gives you lots of little daily reminders that there is more time behind you than lies ahead of you. Because of this, a wise person (of good vintage) begins to pay more attention to those things most important in life. The most common items making this list are things like friends, family, health and happiness. From this list, health was the initial focal point and inspiration for this article.

All my life I have tried to keep health a major priority in life. Overall I have done “ok” at this, having made it to a ripe, old age but along the path I could have certainly done much better than I had. This is something I aimed to correct in my elder years. Now I do much better at reading labels for things like sodium, saturated fats and unhealthy food additives. I like to know where my food comes from, opting more often for unprocessed and organic options. Thanks for sticking with me to this point because here is where I finally start making my point.

Enter jar of peanut butter.

I happened to notice that the major brands of peanut butter had lots of extra stuff on the ingredient label that wasn’t very healthy. For example, here is the ingredient list from America’s most popular selling peanut butter – “Choosy Mother’s Choose JIF?”

“Made From Roasted Peanuts And Sugar, Contains 2% Or Less Of: Molasses, Fully Hydrogenated Vegetable Oils (Rapeseed And Soybean), Mono And Diglycerides, Salt.”

This is why I have a photo of the peanut butter I now buy shown here. Crazy Richard’s (of Ohio) proudly displays it’s list of ingredients as simply “Peanuts”. How awesome is that! I can put this stuff on a stalk of celery and it’s a 100% natural little snack!

What can this teach us about running a more successful business? PLENTY!!!

  1. Don’t force things on your customers they neither want or need for the sake of YOUR convenience. This is not limited to food additives, stabilizers and preservatives. This also includes things like hidden charges, long waits for service or support and pestering phone calls at dinner time.
  2. Keep your business focus, products and services pure and untainted. In today’s business world people hate complicated and convoluted. Keep your message and everything related to it pure and simple. Be the best you can possibly be and the rest will fall into place. Make it as easy as possible for the customer to choose you and stay with you.
  3. Don’t ride a mistake or bad idea to your grave (for the sake of YOUR convenience). Many years ago JIF started receiving flack from ACTUAL “Choosy Mother’s” about using hydrogenated vegetable oils in their peanut butter.  They basically ignored these concerns and eventually others seized this missed opportunity and established a foothold in the all-natural peanut butter niche market. JIF felt they had such a hold on the market with their recipe that this allowed them to ignore the desires of more health-conscience customers. Now JIF does offer a “natural” peanut butter option, apparently (and eventually) recognizing the lost opportunity.

Circling back to the jar of 100% peanut butter. One common complaint is it needs to be stirred as the oils tend to separate and rise from the solids. The solution? Once a week turn the jar upside down and let gravity do the stirring. For those like me who place health above convenience, it’s a small price to pay!