My newspaper is wet because the delivery kid didn’t care… does anyone else care? Well I certainly do, and so do the other subscribers on my street. Should the folks downtown at the newspaper care too? I sure hope so.
In business, you’re only as good as your weakest link. You may have the best reporters, the best editors, the best marketing, and the best printing, but if the guy you choose to deliver my newspaper can’t keep the paper dry, then the effort of the rest of the team may not matter. You don’t lose customers because of what you do well, you lose customers because of your weak links.
Having weak links may be unavoidable with growth, but you can reduce the risks. As you grow, you will probably need more people on your team; you may not be able to be the salesman, run the operations and personally deliver every paper to every subscriber. But you can work to minimize the weak link risks by clarifying and communicating the strategies, goals, and values of your company to the entire team. Keep everyone on the right track and help every team member make good decisions. If you do this well, the guy who you have delivering my paper will realize that delivering the paper dry is a vital part of what your company does, and I might not be an unhappy customer forced to surf the web for my news when it’s raining outside.
Business has always been vulnerable to weak links, but technology is raising the stakes. The digital age is creating many new products and services that give your customers alternative choices that will compete with you; My old skool example also highlights how you may be only a nudge away from losing customers to the new technology on the block. I still have my newspaper subscription for now, but as I surfed the web for news last week, I realized that my internet news is always dry, on time, and free. So now do you care whether my newspaper is dry or not?