Can Your Business Simply Do It Better?
Published in the NPSOA Magazine - September 2023
A few years ago, at one of my facilitated monthly print peer group meetings, a print owner member shared with his peers that a long-time client returned to do business with him after having left for a competitor. He was delighted by the news and called the client to find out why he got the business back. “You guys screw up less,” was the reply from the client.
While that is certainly not a slogan to base any advertising campaign on and it did not cause any rejoicing or celebration within his company, it serves a purpose to surface the means to set a company apart from others. A few years ago, one of the leading cell phone companies promoted itself as the company “with the fewest dropped calls,” after all; something hardly worth bragging about, yet that organization did.
Keith McFarland, author of the best-selling book “The Breakthrough Company,” was asked in an interview to describe the one thing that caused the companies he researched to excel in spite of difficult competition, challenging economies and growing pains. He said, “They simply did it better.”
“Doing it better” sounds extremely nebulous. Most businesses are filled with many procedures and processes created to standardize how things are done to eliminate errors, yet mistakes are made every day.
Too many business owners believe that to do it better means an outlay of cash for equipment, people, and materials. That is not what McFarland said and that is not what he means.
Despite spending lots of money on sales and advertising, most of us find sources for products and services by word of mouth. That means that every time someone from an organization comes into contact with a prospect or a client, that experience influences the base of referrals.
What do your prospects and clients experience when they come into contact with your printing or sign business? Do they have a positive one that will propel them into doing more business with you and will cause them to mention and refer you to others?
Is there a way to simply improve the process of doing business with you that costs little or nothing?
The answer is yes, but three things must take place. The first is that you have to be open to changing how things are done in your company. The second is that you are committed to implementing the change even when facing resistance from employees who see it as “more work” or “another crazy idea” from the boss. The third is that you have to enforce the change once it is made.
It is essential to explain the “why” behind the change. Taking the position of “I’m the boss and do what I tell you to” doesn’t work with today’s employees; no one blindly follows leaders today.
If you assume that people understand that the challenging economy requires changes in how things are done simply to help the firm stay in business, think again. People go with their own self-interest. This requires the print or sign owner to sell the idea to his or her employees. And like many buyers, acceptance won’t be immediate.
What can you do better in your company for your clients? Probably just about everything. What can those departments and people do better than serve internal clients? The answer is the same; just about everything.
How does a print or sign owner communicate the message? It can happen through the creation and communication of a simple yet powerful message that everyone understands.
Decades ago, as part of the ambitious programs (Mercury, Gemini and Apollo) that put man on the moon and returned him safely to the earth, Lockheed Missiles and Space Company rallied thousands of employees to the Main Thing of “Zero Defects.” This encouraged people to do their jobs better.
The Los Angeles Dodgers play Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’” as they come to bat at home games in the bottom of the 8th inning. The team has had one of the best records in baseball. The players believe and so do the fans.
Can your business simply do it better? The answer is yes, how to do that is for you to determine. Have a company meeting or meet with each department in your company and challenge your employees on how they think you can do it better. You may be surprised at the ideas they come up with.
Mitch Evans is a management consultant and trusted advisor who works with graphic company owners, CEOs, and entrepreneurs. Mitch is a managing director at Graphic Arts Advisors LLC which specializes in Mergers & Acquisitions (valuations, buying and selling, mergers and non-bankruptcy orderly wind-downs). Mitch is also a partner in The Next Level Group which facilitates formal top executive peer groups for leadership, business growth, including revenue growth, improved internal efficiencies, and greater profitability. Please contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 561-351-6950.