I am not an especially religious person, but this quote has been presenting itself to me quite a bit lately, so I thought I would do a little research and share some thoughts with all of you.
Apparently even the origin of this saying is in question, being attributed to famed architect Ludwig Mies Van der Rohe, as well as a German philosopher named Aby Warburg. You can read all about it in Wikipedia’s account here
Here is where this applies to you. Being in a service business like we all are in, accuracy is not only expected, it is absolutely vital to our survival. And a lack of it can not only lose you customers, but it can destroy your business. And the scariest thing about this is that it might happen and you won’t even know it.
So how can details be such silent killers?
Think about delivery schedules. Think about quote requests. Think about promising someone some samples or mock ups. Think about being asked to drop by to take a look at a project or consult on some new ideas.
When a client says he needs his proofs by 10:00, he might have a meeting at 10:00, or he might not ACTUALLY need them til the end of the week. In the first case, if you miss his deadline, he’s likely to want to throttle you. The latter, maybe not so much. So it’s probably a good idea to always ACT AS IF the circumstances are more like the first case than the second.
But you can’t stop there. You need to make sure that EVERYONE in your organization behaves this way; taking deadlines seriously, keeping promises and delivering what is asked of them in a timely fashion. Right the first time.
Because in today’s increasingly competitive landscape, there is always someone waiting in the wings to eat your lunch (to borrow a phrase from Bill Farquharson). Some clients are more forgiving than others, but don’t take the risk. If you demand that everyone in your company stays focused on even the smallest detail, everyone wins.
You are seen as a reliable partner, someone to be trusted, and someone they want at the table. Your clients get world-class service they can depend on.
So stay focused on what matters. And contrary to the best seller about not sweating the small stuff, I would say you SHOULD sweat the small stuff. Cause the small stuff can lose you business just as easily as majorly messing up a huge job.
Don’t lose a customer because you or someone on your team wasn’t paying close enough attention.
God, and your success and reputation, are in those details. But mostly your success.