“Christmas With the Kranks” is a slapstick comedy based on a book called “Skipping Christmas” by John Grisham. The upshot is that the protagonists, Luther and Nora Krank (played by Tim Allen and Jamie Lee Curtis), want to “skip” Christmas because their daughter is spending Christmas overseas in the Peace Corps. They plan to take all the money they save and go on a cruise. It’s a great plan, only they run into a few problems.
Their friends and neighbors object to their lack of Christmas spirit and heckle and bully them, attempting to force them to get back in line and get their jolly on. They successfully resist… until they learn that their daughter is unexpectedly returning home for Christmas.
The Kranks have to scurry around in order to create Christmas at the last minute, borrowing Christmas trees, pulling together an eleventh-hour party and trying to woo back the neighbors the community they’ve alienated. Of course, all ends well once the Kranks respond to the external pressures and get back in line.
So, what do the Kranks teach business owners? The main lesson is that you can make all the plans in the world, but sometimes you just need to respond to what your market wants.
Poor Luther and Nora don’t think they’re doing anything wrong. So they want to head in a different direction this year. What’s the big deal?
Well, the big deal is that the Kranks’ audience (neighbors and friends) like things just the way they are. They don’t want the Kranks to change. They want things to stay the way they always have been – even if the Kranks have different ideas.
Think about trying to change something in your business – your website, your pricing structure, your offerings. Even if you’re positive the changes are for the better, you can hit serious backlash because your customers like things a certain way. They like knowing that the “buy” button is in red at the bottom of the page, or that your podcast comes out every Wednesday – not Tuesday, and certainly not Thursday. If you mess with their routines, you may have to pay the price – just like the Kranks.
Now, this isn’t to say that you can’t ever make changes to your business. It’s just a warning that you’d better make sure the risk is worth the reward, and that you’re not changing just for change’s sake.
Don’t mess with your customers’ Christmas.