What “If You Give A Mouse A Cookie” Can Teach You About Business

If You Give A Mouse A Cookie…” by Laura Numeroff is a well-loved children’s book that has inspired several other iterations. The classic concept of ‘one thing leads to another‘ takes the reader on a silly journey through all the things a boy must bring his mouse friend all because of a cookie. It demonstrates the fleeting attention of little ones, but can it also teach us how to run a better business? Certainly!

If you give a mouse a cookie… he’s going to ask for a glass of milk.

Of course–cookies and milk just go together. When we can identify natural pairing for our products and services, we can find an easy opportunity for up-sells.

If your customer has thoroughly enjoyed your cookie, why not offer him a cold glass of milk, a bag of cookies to bring home to the kids or the option to buy a cookie cake for their next family get together? This is why salons and barber shops can easy sell hair products or lawn mowing companies offer fertilizing and leaf raking services.

Take a few moments to make a list of your main products and services. Then consider where there might be opportunities to add supplemental products or services to better serve your customer base. When you focus on trying to fill a natural subsequent need for them you grow your business by satisfying customers rather than merely trying to make more sales.

When you give him the milk… he’ll probably ask you for a straw. When he’s finished, he’ll ask for a napkin.

Anyone in the restaurant industry will tell you this makes sense. But how often do we take common sense out of the equation when it comes to serving our customers? When you can anticipate the needs of your customers ahead of time, you can provide a better overall service for them.

Ideally your customer shouldn’t have to ask you for anything–you should equip them with everything they need. This might look like providing washing instructions for a handmade garment, following up with a client rather than waiting for them to ask you to remind them what documents they are supposed to gather, or keeping bathroom signs easily visible in your shop.

Take a few moments to close your eyes and picture yourself in your customer’s shoes. What might they be confused, worried, anxious or unsure about? Make a list, then consider what could be done to minimize issues in each of these areas. When you are intentional about your set up and process, your customer will be able to have a much more pleasant experience.

And if your customer has a pleasant experience… you can bet they will be back for more!


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