Detail, Detail, Detail

Don’t ignore the “big picture,” but don’t let it consume you either. I enjoy the big brainstorm meeting – the excitement, the ingenuity, the kick off – but  I’d be a fool to think that’s what brings success.

Picture by Moses Tey
Picture by Moses Tey

You may think that the big picture matters most. Truth is, the details are much more important.

The engine under the hood is much more impressive to me than the shiny chrome hubcaps. Why? Because the entire presentation means nothing if the engine dies. The purr of the mustang is more attractive to me than the cool design.

Enough with analogies. Your business has details to it that should consume you:

  • Marketing. Write the copy yourself. Maul over every word. If you’re a bad writer and need to outsource, share a collaborative document and work together on the next promotional piece. Detail, man – this is your business.
  • Fulfillment. Jump in the mail room and pack a few orders. Read that customer’s name on the packing list and look up their order history. Write a personal note on the slip, and throw in a free book and sign it. Do you have any idea how cool it is to receive a SIGNED copy or a free book – straight from the author himself or herself? Do it.
  • Customer Service. Be the Steve Jobs who was noted to now-and-then respond to complaints personally. I do this all the time. I call the homeschool mom on the other side of the country when I hear they want to make a return. It’ll bring loyalty and return business, but don’t let this be your motivator. Do this for one reason only: you care.
  • Accounting. I hate this part of business. Ask my accountant. He’s one of my best friends, a real love-hate relationship, but he knows (and I do too) that the success of my business rests in the cash flow that makes it breathe. He enjoys pulling me into those details, and I love/hate him for it.
  • People. No business is void of people. Sure, you may be all about the development of a widget, but real human beings need to want that widget. Befriend these people. Get into what they get into. Be part of their communities.

See what I mean? The big idea can be thought through at your quarterly board meeting. Details fill the gaps – the huge gaps where life prevails – for the rest of the year. Detail is everything.

Question: What details have you been neglecting?