I have come to the last post of the set of twelve I promised for Kind over Matter. I committed to writing for an entire year and stuck with it. That “stick to it” is a huge part about this lonely life of being an entrepreneur. Consistency.
Another part about the life of an entrepreneur is the consistency of routine. Every year we all do a plan. Doing that plan is a chance to look at what we did well over the last twelve months and then push the envelope for the next twelve. Doing that plan is a chance to see what we screwed up over the previous twelve months and figure out if any of the lessons learned left us with something salvageable for the next twelve. Lastly, doing that plan is our chance to think wildly and dream up one or two wild and crazy ideas that truly push the envelope and bring in some significant exposure, profit or even both.
This past year I have spent much time presenting thoughts from my second book, “Survive and Thrive Through the Next Decade.” As I have done all my life, I come up with wild and crazy ideas first and then find evidence to support them later. I was very fortunate to find the facts and evidence from analysts at Harvard, Cornell and MIT as well as in Switzerland, India and Japan. I want to leave you with a thought as you plan for your next fiscal year.
Because the world we have known is changing at an incredibly rapid pace, only nimble companies will survive the next twenty years. Those companies will have three key attributes:
- A flawless execution of the total customer experience
The total customer experience is the combined technological and human interaction beginning to end of the product or service. It starts from the time the prospect sees it flagged on social media or hears about it from a friend to when the product is tossed in the garbage or landfill – and every single part in between.
If you were to think about that, could your business deliver a flawless execution? I would hazard a guess and say 99% of most businesses today can’t. First it starts with the employees being inspired and compensated properly. It then moves to the employees and the teams understanding the company’s purpose and promise and their own relationship to it. The next step is actually having all departments and functions working in concert together. That is a tall order.
- The simplest of processes
When I refer to the ‘simplest of processes’ I am not referring to IT and complicated IT systems. I am talking about having stuff written down so that a grade school person could understand it – not copious manuals, but simple common-sense customer-focused ways to tackle problems. This makes it easy for the customer AND easy for the employees. Remove the needless paperwork and bureaucracy and make it easy for everyone.
- Be pillars within their local communities
To be a pillar within the local community is taking a page out of the ‘It takes a village’ handbook. Focus donations within the community first, outreach second. Fix the internal community issues, demand transparency and accountability and take the good PR from both. It is not about photo ops and sound bites. It is about real back room work.
Over time we business people have become extremely fragmented in our thinking. We believe we have to be masters of everything. This is a most insane thought process. More than ever, it is important that we focus on one or two things and trust that others will focus on their streams of expertise. Focusing on what we are good at is absolutely the best way we can give our best to our clients.
Wishing you your best in 2019!