I read a book 25 years ago written by Rich DeVos, and it made an impression on me. The title was called the “Four Stages of Business.” Stage (1) the personal contact or the face-to-face of what you do for a living (2) the management stage (3) the analytical stage (4) bankruptcy.
It’s really very, very simple and so incredibly true. Stage one for a doctor, painter, lawyer, CPA, builder, hotel broker, car salesman or pretty much any other sales profession known in the world is meeting someone and doing business with someone this week that you didn’t know last week. If you are a manager, consultant, trainer, writer, receptionist, etc., your stage one is being the best at seeing and interacting with people in your care. Simply put, whether you are meeting clients, training staff or answering phones, don’t hide behind emails. Get on the phone or face-to-face, but whatever you do, put the human element to it. Emails are great and needed, but you also need the personal contact. Everyone that has a business and has had to meet a payroll understands the value of the personal element; I have found that this is really when the relationship starts, and it is what keeps the relationship fresh. It is literally the very lifeblood of a company and of a profession.
Stage two and three are also easy to understand as well. When people get afraid and intimidated by what is required in stage one, they hide behind emails, busy work, idle chatting, and then want to analyze everything. What happens is a slow fall into stage four, which is bankruptcy. That’s right, if you are not spending a good deal of your time in stage one you are headed for stage four.
The Bible says in Proverbs “the stall that has no oxen is always clean.” Did you understand it? It means that if you don’t have any oxen, sure it’s easy to keep the barn clean. It is always easy to keep it all straight, organized, and in its proper files when you don’t have anything going on. Stage one is the raw, uncomfortable, unpredictable part of business that is also the very most important part of business and life itself.
So, regardless of your profession or your business, the place to spend 60-70% of your time is in stage one. It’s the most uncomfortable stage, but it’s also the most rewarding. KT