Thursday, March 02, 2006

The Secret of Success

According to Michael Hyatt, the secret of success is responsiveness. He says that people judge you according to how long it takes you to respond (via email, returning phone calls etc.) - he likens business to a game of tag: "people 'tag' us in countless ways every day. They place calls. They send emails. They mention something to us in a meeting. Suddenly, we are 'it.' And, just like the game, if you stay 'it' too long, you lose. The only winning strategy is to respond quickly and make someone else 'it.'"

For the most part, this is our experience running a very small company as well. We make huge efforts to be very responsive to all of our business associates - personally, I feel stressed if I am away from email for more than half a day as I worry somebody is waiting for an urgent response (this is a downside of being generally highly available on email).

Where we disagree (and what causes us the most heartache) is that, especially in the small business world, at least half the time, I 'tag' someone but I am still 'it'. This applies to sales especially - I wouldn't dream of sending a letter to someone and expecting them to call me (even if they are interested).

So we have found that the key to success with our clients is responsiveness - and this would probably result in promotion if I wasn't already a director. Success for our business at this stage in our growth is a lot about bringing in new business and that is the area where we have to be 'it' all the time.

I would love to get to the stage where bringing in new business was all about being responsive to people knocking on the door and asking for our services. Until then, I'll stay responsive but I'm going to stay 'it' for a while yet.

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