Inc. Magazine ran a fabulous article in their January/February edition called "The ultimate business tune-up for times like these". The article quotes a wide range of business leaders who give quick-hit ideas for all of us who want to improve performance. Here are my favorite (and not so favorite) suggestions:
- Bring back the fun. George Naddaff, Boston Chicken. In this case, it's a sales gimmick involving people dressed as food roaming the sidewalks and engaging potential customers. Very fun indeed.
- Be a mensch. Ari Weinzweig, Zingerman's Community of Business. The idea here is to go out of your way to do simple, thoughtful things for your employees.
- Rally the troops. Brian Scuamore, 1-800-Got-Junk?. They energized their franchises with a host of ideas to get everybody on the sales offensive.
- Listen. Really Listen. Bert Jacobs, Life is Good. Contact your best clients and find out what you are doing well and what you can do better.
- Get serious about service. Perry Klebahn, Timbuk2. Turn up your customer service to 11 on the service dial, 'cause 10 just won't do!
Not so favorite
Richard Thalheimer, fomer CEO of the Sharper Image had this gem: "Disconnect your phone." Thalheimer's contention was it is cheaper and more efficient to serve customers only via email rather than allow them to call you. Uh, Richard? The last I checked your former company has filed for bankruptcy and closed all its stores. Maybe you should keep that service advice to yourself for awhile.