This is a little different for a Sunday Morning Reflections. In fact, it would probably work for Marketing Monday, because there's a great lesson here. We've all heard and used the expression, "You can never go back." Yet, I just enjoyed a couple of experiences that entirely challenge that statement and prove it wrong.
Leaving Las Vegas, I had business in LA and thought it would be fun to go back to my old stomping ground in Santa Monica. I haven't been back since leaving Rangefinder/WPPI ten years ago. We got in Friday afternoon and headed to a couple of old favorites, wandering up the Pacific Coast Highway to Malibu. On the way back, while it was a little early to have dinner for most people, our stomachs were still on east coast time.
I was ecstatic to see an old favorite still there and open, the Reel Inn. It's nothing fancy - just a good solid seafood restaurant with a fun atmosphere and great food. Putting in our order, I told the kid behind the counter how I hadn't been there in over ten years, and I was so glad they were still in business. His answer was perfect, "Oh yeah, we're still rockin' it!"
Yes, I'm about to turn this into a life lesson, or at the very least a business lesson: Most of you are in business for yourselves, and there's a lesson from the Reel Inn. While their menu has changed and grown, it's their quality that's kept them in business. It's their reputation for excellent service, fresh food, reasonable prices and the fun of a completely relaxed atmosphere that's kept them in business for so many years.
Then I had one more real-time flashback yesterday driving down Lincoln Blvd. in Santa Monica. We drove by Bay Cities Deli, and I had to stop. It's one of the most incredible delis I've ever been in, but their claim to fame ten years ago was their selection of subs. I had to have a "Godmother." Sheila thought I was nuts - after all, we were headed to dinner in less than an hour, and I'm running in for a small sub as my appetizer!
And here I go with that same lesson again...The place was jammed. I pulled a number, 87, and they were only on 65. The selection of everything from sandwiches to salads to prepackaged goods, wine, pasta, breads, etc. hasn't changed. As I was waiting in line one of their staff pulled anybody out who wanted a cold sandwich. They were handling the overflow out of their catering kitchen on the other side of the store. Service was the issue, and in minutes I had my sandwich and was headed out the door. It was worth every bite!
I'm focused on a couple of simple points this morning. First, don't let anything stand in the way of the reputation you're trying to build on quality, service, and consistency. They're the foundation of your success and will never be replaced by anything more important, not even price! Second, when you maintain a standard of excellence, people will come back, and just like the pure joy I've had in the last couple of days, you really can go back!
It takes twenty years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it.
If you think about that you'll do things differently.
As always, I'm wishing you all a terrific day ahead. Take the time to think about your reputation and all the work you're doing to build your business. Along the way, don't forget to go for those long therapeutic hugs with the people who matter most in your life. They're a huge part of the process.
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