"You're better with a kick-ass half than a half-assed whole" -Jason Fried-
When we first started our sign business, we wanted to be as full service as possible. I didn't want to tell people that we were unable to help them with their needs, so we promoted more services than we were capable of because we wanted to be competitive in the sign market. We soon realized that we were a "half-assed whole."
I came to the conclusion that we should be great at a few things rather than mediocre at several. We switched our focus and are now focusing on signage that we are comfortable with and we do well. Telling customers "NO" is tough, but if you know you are not great at something, and you sell a product that is mediocre, you just told your customers that you are a mediocre company. I would rather sell the best, or sell nothing at all.
5 IDEAS TO BE BETTER:
LIMIT "OFF" DAYS We all have off days where we lack motivation and creativity. I believe the key is limiting those "off" days. It is okay to have an off day, and it is okay to fail, as we are all human. The key is to limit those off days and failures. How we react to those off days and failures will define our reputations as people and business leaders. In the event that we let someone down, we must work twice as hard in an effort to correct it. When we drop the ball in our company, it becomes more of an effort to take care of the customer and the people involved. Throw the margins out because they do not matter at this point. The people who take care of people are the businesses that hold longevity in the business world.
DON'T BE A CHEAPSKATE
I am one of the cheapest, most frugal people I know. That mentality has carried over into my business, and it has hindered us. As said in an earlier blog, you do not need to have the most expensive equipment, but you do have to have equipment that is operable and that gets the job done well. I have not always been one to provide the most operable equipment. Our equipment works, but when you have to describe your equipment as "the trick to operating this is...." it is probably time for an upgrade of some sort. This is frustrating for your employees as well. Faulty equipment will cost time to operate and time costs money.
EMPLOYEES ARE VALUABLE ASSETS It is critical to take care of your employees. They work hard for the company and should be considered your business' most important asset. I do my best to take care of my employees. I pay them the best I can. If I notice they like something, I might purchase that item for them (within reason). I throw them a bonus here and there. A few examples, my guys were loving the Shed Necks shirts and hats, so I purchased one a hat and one a shirt. When people pay us extra for our work, I throw some cash their way because it was mostly likely due to them that we earned the bonus. Communication and organization to help things run smoothly will keep employees up to speed and happier. As most of us know, nothing is more frustrating than being in the dark. I am not the greatest at providing the "need to know" information, but it is something I am trying hard to improve on. Your employees should never go without, treat them how you believe you should be treated.
FOCUS ON THE POSITIVES WORK ON THE NEGATIVES We all have negatives in our lives. To prevent from sending out a half-assed product, it is important to learn and grow at the things you do poorly, but you can't forget the things you are already good at. Sometimes we focus so much on mastering or correcting our negatives that we forget to continue to grow and refine the positives. If we focus our energy on the negatives and forget the positives, we will live in peril. Your stress will grow and the enjoyment of your business and life will begin to disappear. Work hard to improve the negatives, but work harder to build up and grow the positives.
HAVING THE BEST COMES WITH A PRICE
Everyone wants to be great. Everyone wants to have the best. If you want the best you will have to pay for it. We want to sell the the best products that we can. We want to do the best work that we can. I want people to have the best product, but sometimes I struggle to charge for the best product. People are always comparing prices and gathering estimates from several companies before they move forward. People often look at the cheapest bid and move forward, but is it the BEST bid? I have gone the cheap route and I usually have to redo the project again because the product failed. I have learned the hard way several times by trying to save myself and others money. Make sure you have the best craftsmanship and products you can find. Do the job right the first time.
It is important to master a product or concept before you start producing and selling it. Your business and products are what people say it is.