I was visiting a thriving café in Westbury last week and being 5 months pregnant and avoiding caffeine, I had a rather odd request. Bit of a back story, being so caffeine sensitive when I’m not pregnant, on the rare occasion I do order a coffee, I ask for a quarter strength latte and it needs to be before 10am – I actually enjoy a really milky coffee. I know what you’re thinking and don’t worry, it’s been every barista’s thought. This new request even topped the old one, as I discreetly asked, “Could I have a quarter strength, decaf latte, with honey please?”. The request was politely refused, but I wasn’t annoyed like you might expect, in fact my thoughts were actually the opposite – let me explain how and why.

The response to my left field request was not just a polite refusal, but followed with a caring explanation that proved to me that the quality and customer experience was incredibly important to this café – and for that I was impressed. What I learned that day was you cannot create the same high-quality coffee with a decaf blend and they simply weren’t happy with providing any of their valued customers with a second-class experience — so they simply decided not to offer the option to customers at all. I have to admit, I had never heard of a café simply not offering decaf, so I was initially slightly perplexed, but quickly realised the genius behind it. Essentially, they had unintentionally created a not-to-do-list.

Some of the most successful businesses began from a principle about what the business (or creator) would not do.


ZAP Fitness decided not to have gyms that held classes.

James Dyson decided not to make vacuum cleaners with bags in them.

Bunnings Warehouse decided not to employ just anyone to represent their brand.


What are you happily excluding to become the best at what you do?


Not sure on what your business should cut or keep? Let’s chat, we’d be happy to help.

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