Why No One Likes Watered Down Orange Juice and Why That Matters For Your Business

By Michael Roderick  -  On 02 Feb, 2015 -  0 comments

One time I was over a friend’s house and I stayed overnight. In the morning, I awoke to a fresh cup of coffee and a full breakfast of eggs, bacon, and orange juice. I remember vividly picking up the glass and taking a deep long gulp . . .

Then almost choking on it.

You see, I was expecting to taste the rich lush taste of orange juice and instead what met my taste buds can only be described as water with a hint of orange flavoring. Think of the old McDonald’s thermoses of punch after they had been out in the sun for a few hours and all of the ice melted in them and you might get close to the bland taste I was experiencing. I asked my friend what had happened and what was wrong with the orange juice. Her parents then explained to me that they “cut” their orange juice to make it last longer. This meant that they took a carton and poured half of it into a pitcher and filled the rest of the pitcher up with water and then poured the other half into another pitcher and did the same. Meaning one carton gave them two full pitchers of orange juice making the juice last longer. What they didn’t articulate was that watering down the juice made it taste like sh&! . It didn’t really matter how much you had because you really didn’t feel like drinking any of it. I decided to finish my coffee and avoided the orange juice any time I was at their house and I never forgot about that experience.

A number of years later I was sitting in a one on one meeting with someone who was trying to explain to me what he did. He had been introduced to me as a graphic designer but when he explained what his business was he talked about web design, social media, branding, marketing, copywriting, and I think maybe even dog walking was somewhere in there but I lost track after the first hundred things. When I asked him if there were specific industries that he focused on, he then went on to tell me all of the different people he could help and then he said the word that instantly destroys my ability to make an effective match:


As he finished his long explanation, I started to taste that orange juice. It was all so bland and watered-down. I had no idea where to place this person and I really had no idea who I could introduce him to. We parted ways and not surprisingly, he fell off my radar. Now I have no doubt that this guy was probably “pretty good” at any of the things he mentioned, but my guess is there was only one thing that he was truly excellent at. I’ll never know because he never explained where he specialized. I often meet with people who are “pretty good” at a lot of things and are very interested in doing all of those things. These people have sometimes up to four pitchers of “juice”, but I’m looking for the carton. If you have a number of things that you do well, that’s great. The problem is this:

People don’t pay much for “pretty good.”

If you really want to grow and have people refer business to you, then you have to show them that you are superb at one thing. This doesn’t mean that you can’t do other things and in many cases you’ll have to do other things, but people need some kind of anchor to be able to recommend you. If they don’t have it, they’ll have a lot of trouble seeing where you fit. So take some time to think today about how you are presenting your business and who it is that you’re serving. Are you cutting your orange juice? Is it bringing you more opportunity or less? As I said before, people don’t pay much for pretty good . . .

But they pay premium for the best.

Now go find your carton and pour someone some damn good orange juice.