Well, it's after the end of January and I only managed to make 9 posts, but I'm going to keep going with the Ultimate Blogging Challenge, and get to 31 by the end of February instead :)
About 13 years ago I bought a coffee maker. It was an espresso machine - you know the ones, just like you see in Starbucks, lots of steam coming out, lots of noise (mostly from you banging the old coffee grounds out of the holder).
Most importantly for me, though, it was a machine from a "real" coffee maker brand: the people who make the coffee machines in Italian restaurants.
Well, my espresso machine has finally been retired, and last week I bought a Nespresso machine. It's made by Magimix, the blender people. Not a name I'd associate with fine coffee.
And yet... I feel so much better about the Nespresso purchase than when I bought the old machine.
And it's not just about the fact it makes excellent coffee (and anyone who spends much time around me knows I *LOVE* my coffee).
It's about the whole experience of opening up the box.
When I bought my old espresso maker, it was about £140 ($210), and that was 13 years ago, so maybe it would be a £200/$300 coffee machine by today's standards.
The Nespresso was £110/$175.
It's a cheaper machine. So I had lower expectations...
Back in 1999, I opened the box with anticipation and wonder.
But what I found inside was a coffee machine stuffed into a plastic bag, supported by plain brown corrugated cardboard, with a manual printed on pretty cheap paper, and a notice about regular cleaning. The coffee maker itself was completely made of plastic, apart from the coffee holder itself. It felt cheap.
And the whole lot went into a fairly cheap cardboard box.
That was it.
To say I was underwhelmed is an understatement.
Fast forward to February 2012.
I get home with my Nespresso coffee maker: co-branded Magimix and Nescafe. Not an auspicious start to the whole thing.
Inside the plain brown corrugated box, however, is a very glossy inner box, with a well-framed "hero shot" of the coffee maker. All looking very upmarket so far!
Inside I find a "quick start" guide that looks and feels like the kind of brochure that Aston Martin or Porsche do for their new models.
The espresso maker itself comes encased in cardboard packing, but one side of the cardboard is laminated in high-gloss white, and that's what you see when you open the box (and remove the glossy literature). And the machine? Yes, there's black plastic everywhere, but each side of the coffee maker is a textured metal plate that gives the machine a modern, industrial look and feel, even if it's only for show.
digging further, I find a hard-bound folder, reminiscent of the menus in high-class restaurants, with a description of each of the 24 coffee "Grand Crus" (a term I've only ever seen on fine Burgundies and my favourite wine, St Emilion (OK, second favourite after a good Rioja!).
The coffees themselves are presented in a clear plastic presentation box, and the whole thing has obviously been packed with care and attention to detail.
So what's happened here?
My old Italian coffee maker was probably seen by it's manufacturer as a poor relation to the gleaming chrome machines it usually sold at upwards of £500. They may even have been a little ashamed of creating something so "mass market", but needs must! They were probably worried that some of their high-end customers might be inclined to trade down when it was time to buy a new machine.
So they took what was, ostensibly, a four-star product when compared to the other coffee makers at the same or slightly lower price point, and turned it into a three- or even two-star product.
They put their heart and soul into taking a mid-priced coffee machine and making it a) something you'd be proud to put on display, and b) something you are very happy to have invested in.
Oh and it makes fantastic espresso in seconds. And I don't have to spend half an hour cleaning it afterwards :) (unlkie the old machine!)
They've taken what could easily have been a three-star product and, through attention to things like presentation turned it into a five-star *experience*.
Last weekend I ran an invitation-only workshop for a select group of coaches and consultants, and we spent a LOT of time talking about how to turn your coaching into a five-star experience.
Some of them worried about the cost.
I pointed out that a big part of creating something worthy of five-stars is the way it's delivered, and often that is free or low-cost. It's about *how* you deliver, not just *what*.
They were blown away by everything I shared that weekend about growing a six-figure coaching business. Stuff that, as they pointed out themselves, no-one else is talking about.
And they convinced me to open it up to everyone.
So I've created The Six-Figure Blueprint Intensive, a two-day workshop where I'll share with you everything I know about building a high-income coaching or consulting practice, selling people into high-end coaching programmes (I'm talking £7k/$11k and up), and doing it without driving yourself into overwhelm or overwork! (remember, it's all about creating More Clients, More Money, More Fun!)
All the details are here: http://robcuesta.com/6figureblueprint/