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Promote Your Business With Quality

Aug 13, 2008
Every businessperson learns quickly that customers are valuable. Repeat customers are the most valuable of all. Yet the vast majority of businesspeople do not take the simple steps that attract new customers and keep existing ones. Hence, most new businesses fail, and older ones go through hard times.

Quality is the single most important determining factor of success on a long-term basis. This statement is true across the boards, in every industry and trade. Musical groups are usually short-lived, unless they are very, very good musically. New restaurants pop up every week, and disappear within months. Which companies disappear first in an economic downturn? The ones with the least solid customer bases.

What is commonly overlooked, and often not known at all, is that what attracts customers is not just quality of product. What attracts customers is the overall quality of the business, which includes quality of product, but oh, so much more as well.

Hundreds of business books focus on how to improve specific areas of a company: customer relations, advertising, personnel management, inventory control, and hundreds of other aspects of businesses. They keep missing the common denominator: the principles of quality. The principles of quality apply to each and every area of business. Implement these principles across all the functions of a business, and that business will succeed (assuming it actually has a real and valuable product).

The first major principle of quality is that quality is an attitude. This is surprisingly hard to get across to many people. Yet the business owner or manager will never get it across to his staff if he doesn't have it himself. Fortunately, an attitude is completely under a person's own control, so one can adopt a quality attitude at any time. Unfortunately, a quality attitude flies in the face of what society generally agrees upon and teaches, which is, and must be, whatever is the average.

So yes, the steps are simple, like climbing the steps up a mountainside. The problem is, there are trolls above you on the mountain throwing stones at you, telling you "It doesn't have to be that good" and "You're expecting too much" and "No one expects perfection." All of which are true statements, and all of which you have to totally and utterly ignore in order to make things better.

Customers come back because they are pleased, and in this society, sometimes just because they are not displeased. They got what they wanted, and a little more, or they got what they expected, and a little more. They felt comfortable. They understood or were helped to understand what they needed to know. They saw nothing that lowered their opinion of your business: no stupid mistakes, no dirt, no unpleasant people.

Not only do the customers come back, but they tell their friends.

Make quality the first and highest priority in your business, even above profits, and the profits will come soon enough. Learn about quality, think about it, incorporate it into every aspect of the business from bookkeeping to addressing envelopes to buying raw materials to sweeping the front walk. Most important, get everyone in your company to do the same thing.

Demanding quality from others does not work all by itself. Sadly, many people equate "improving quality" with "wasting time." They can even feel foolish or apologetic about trying to do something better than is normally expected. So the effective approach is not to demand quality, but to expect it. Start raising the standard of what is expected. First with yourself, and then with others.

You will run into opposition. Muttering and grumbling will occur. But your best staff will embrace every step you take to make things better.

Finally, one more step is critical. You have to find out what your customers think of your business. You can ask them; you can provide a very easy link on your website for complaints and praise and suggestions; you can run a contest on "The five things you like most and least about this company"; however you do it, you must do it. Without this knowledge, you will often be shooting in the dark in your efforts to improve. With it, you can soar straight to bull's-eye after bull's-eye.
About the Author
Don Dewsnap has spent years studying quality and its principles and applications. Now he has put his knowledge into a readable, useable book: Anyone Can Improve His or Her Life: The Principles of Quality. Learn more about this book at Principles-of-Quality.com .
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