Not long ago, I received a note of gratitude from a customer. It made my day, my week, made all the work I’ve done for the last year and a half worth every second. The impact of his words went beyond the moment and kept growing until it brought tears to my eyes. I’ve had similar compliments for which I’m so grateful, but this one was different as he took time to mention and appreciate the little things I do for one of my businesses that always go unnoticed and unappreciated.
But I do them, not for attention, but because I want to be excellent in all that I do.
Truthfully, it’s much easier to be mediocre (and costs less).
When I bring my best it creates a better experience for everyone. However, I admit that it’s tempting to not put effort into the little things because it can appear that it doesn’t really matter that much. Plus, it takes extra money, effort, and time to be excellent.
(Read: 8 Ideas To Help You Save Money In Your Business )
Yet I believe in the long run, the little things make all the difference.
I’ve had pushback on the little things. “Good enough” reigns supreme in many mindsets – from my own thoughts to the words of others, I’ve had pressure to skip over the little stuff in order to save time or money. Whispers telling me that it’s silly to go into that much detail in cleaning or to spend time writing that article. Temptations and advice to spend a little less on lower quality supplies or skip over taking extra time creating a free resource.
Time is short for business owners and excellence always takes extra time. The pressure is always on to do just enough to get by.
I’m not excellent on my own.
Left up to me I’ll always take the easy route. But God in me, through the Holy Spirit, knows when I’ve done just okay and when I’ve done my best. And God always asks for my best because that is what I was made for.
Excellence sounds good but it is hard to do. That’s because it’s found in the teeny, tiny things and costs more than we think it’s worth.
This is what I’ve learned about excellence:
- it doesn’t always pay off in the short run
- many people don’t notice or appreciate it
- it often makes me wonder if I’m wasting my time
- when it pays off, the dividends are far greater than if I had just done average, mediocre work.
- it takes longer and requires much more investment upfront
- and it may go unnoticed by others for a long time
- in the end…excellence rises you to the top and makes you stand out leaving others wondering why/how.
People may think there’s nothing extraordinary or impressive about you or your business, leaving them scratching their heads at you. That’s because excellence is hidden in the details. It does what most others are unwilling to do.
Excellence is neither extraordinary or impressive. It’s simple, basic, subtle, and boring. Most people are too impatient for such things.
I’d rather have a few customers who are thrilled with my work than ten times the amount of sales with unsatisfied clients or customers. Why? Because slow and steady wins in the long run. Ultimately it takes more money and energy to continue to find new clients who are drawn in by impressive, fancy marketing. They may win big at first, but they’ll have returns, complaints, and loads of headaches. Be excellent and your customers will bring more customers in for you. Your reputation will build and pave the way for slow and steady, rock-solid, growth. A reputation for excellence will outlast those who make a quick buck and then go bust.
Hang in there. Excellence is worth it!