Over the many years I have spent in business schools and continuing education programs, one of the most remembered items I recall are the four elements of a successful business. I would like to give credit where credit is due, but I can not recall who told me about these lovely little tidbits or in what venue I learned them. To this day, I can clearly recite these four concepts as I have lived by them for many years.
The first is that you must ALWAYS tell your customer / client / patient / whatever what you plan on doing for them. This may sound simple and easy …. maybe even blatantly stupid, but believe me, most business people out there just do not have a clue on this one important issue. Let's say you own a dog grooming business. It is important to tell the owner (and you can tell the dog too) that today you are going to cut the dog's nails, shampoo, and then blow dry the hair (sounds more like my wife's salon ….. better be careful She does not see this article!). If you deliver a nicely cleaned dog to it's owner a few hours later, and she notices the dog has bad breath, then she sees the dog has dirty teeth ….. well, she is not going to be happy with you. But, you were clear – only nails, shampoo, and blow drying – and so you are off the hook. But did it make the customer happy? Not really because you did not deliver anything special to them. You did explain what you would do, but did not deliver the expected product or service – clean teeth.
Which segues us into the next key to success: ALWAYS finish what you start. It may go without saying, but in business you need to complete the task that you have started, and I believe you must always give more than you promise. In other words, you should have at least brushed the dog's front teeth and given him a chew bone to get rid of the bad breath. This way, not only did you complete the tasks you charged for, but you put in a value added item – the tooth brushing without having to be told to do it. This is how you impress a customer and keep them coming back for more – you give more of yourself than they expect and are paying for.
The third element to a successful business is that you must ALWAYS be on time. Well, actually I disagree with this to some extent. I believed that you should be EARLY for all appointments and prepared to go without any delays. In my past articles you might remember my little trick of always keeping my waiting room empty when I was a dentist – I would have my staff swoop down on the patient as they entered the waiting room, not let them wait, and get them directly …