Friday, August 8, 2008

How to be the Best - It's easier than you think

I had a boss who once told me that in order to be extraordinary in this business, I had to be just a little bit better than pretty good, because the business world is filled with a lot of mediocre players. His advice was simple: do what you say you're going to do, return phone calls/e-mails promptly, thank customers for their business, treat people fairly, smile, and then, when you think you've done everything you can, do a little bit more. Oh, he had other advice too, such as "get to work before the boss and stay a little bit longer than he does", and of course, my personal favorite, "don't cr*p where you eat." And the truth is, to be the best in any business takes adherence to these principles, but you also need to know a little bit about accounting and finance and marketing and sales and psychology and a million other things. Running a successful business cannot be reduced to a handful of well-worn phrases.

However, these phrases can certainly provide a framework from which you build a successful business. It sounds so simple, so "business 101". And yet, how many times a day do you find yourself wondering, why is my business not doing better?

Well, times are tough, according to the national news media. So, blame it on the recession, blame it on your customers (who can't manage their business), blame it on Bush/McCain/Obama, blame it on your neighbors, maybe it's China's fault. But before you place the blame elsewhere, look inward and ask yourself, "Have I done everything I can today to increase or improve my business?"

  • Before you leave work tonight, make one more phone call.
  • Send a handwritten note to someone.
  • Thank an employee for a job well done.
  • Thank a customer for a recent order.
  • Start a big project, so when you get in the next day, you can build on the momentum of the night before.
  • Review your goals on a regular basis and take a positive action on each of them.
  • Read a business magazine.
  • Share the successes of the day with someone else.

    There are many ways to excel in the business world. Most of us measure success in financial terms. Notice that none of the suggestions in the previous paragraph have anything to do with selling or making money. But I promise you, if you begin to think daily about what you've done to increase or improve your business, and learn to act on them, your financial success will be assured.

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