The business of improving

In business, it is not a good idea to think you don’t need to improve. We can all name countless businesses, concepts and brands that no longer exist.

I heard this business quote the other day that was spot on. After some research, I found it was written by Grant Tinker who is 91 years old and in the 80’s was the chairman of NBC. The tern is “First be best, then be first.” I might need to write that again, “First be best, then be first.”

If there was ever a business quote that deserves some attention it would be that one. So many companies want to be first in their market that they forget to be best. They put their focus on the wrong thing. What really makes a company stand the test of time is the product itself and how well the company executes the delivery of the product. Take Starbucks for example, the product is why people go to Starbucks because it sure is not their fast service or snazzy employees. Guests can overlook a lot of faults if the product they get exceeds their expectation. It is like waiting for your order in a restaurant longer that you should but when you get the food, it exceeds your expectations.

When I think of this subject I think of companies like K-Mart, Sears, Blackberry, Kodak and Lincoln, etc. who all had the lead on the market and for many years, led the market but somewhere along the line, they quit improving and quit growing.

At Hotel AG, I doubt we will ever be the best because the company would need a much smarter leader than it currently has. Ha. That said, our goal is to be the best we can be and to remain relevant as the markets and cycles shift. We can never be good enough to stop trying to improve.

If you have ever eaten at a Cracker Barrel restaurant you will notice hanging on all the walls are advertisements from business that for the most part, have ceased to exist. I call it the walls of shame. Ha. The point is that in many those cases, the owners of those businesses thought they had arrived at success and had a product and distribution that would stand the test of time. Well, it don’t always work out that way.

The best I can tell, in business, you have to have your head and heart in the game. You can’t be standing on the sidelines watching, rather you have to be in the thing. The quote “First be best, then be first,” is a very very good example of how to run a company. It means to keep your focus on being the best and then just maybe you will have a chance to be first. KT

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