Episode 14: Jon Meyer from Oso Negro on how to let your customers lead your growth

The customer is always right. Right? Give the customer what they want and they’ll keep coming back. Treat the customer well and they’ll probably tell their friends. Involve the customer from day one in the development of your business, and never forget that it is the customer who gives you the licence to operate and you’ll have built a strong foundation to build your initial idea as far and for as long as you stick with that principle.

John Meyer of Oso Negro in Nelson is the living proof of this concept. 20 years on from what was intended to be a fun hobby business with a friend in-between career moves, a 1 Kilogram Italian Coffee Roaster and a basic belief that your business should be a reflection of your community, and that customer input should drive your product development, Oso Negro has since grown to be an institution of sorts in Nelson.

Now employing over 30 people, he maintains his belief that the pursuit of a quality product is paramount to the pursuit of profit. The growth of his business through three locations, to now occupy an Uptown Roastery in the Nelson Brewing Company building, and one of the busiest and most welcoming cafe’s around in downtown Nelson is testament to the hard work, openness, honesty and inclusiveness of his business.

I sat down with John to learn more about how he grew Oso into what it is now, and the result was a manifesto of sorts on how to let your customers lead your growth.


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