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The Extra Step is Often the Difference between Real Entrepreneurial Success and Just Getting By.

We've all gotten them - a LinkedIn Connection request from someone who purports to be your friend, and you have no idea who this person is.  I never accept that kind of invitation because it's just lazy (and untrue, because we're not friends). They took the time to find me but didn't go the extra step to find a reason why they wanted us to connect.  So they wasted their 90% effort, not going that last 10%.  The extra step.

Examples of going the extra step are all around us. The athlete or team that works that extra thirty minutes every day on fundamentals. The sales person who's still making calls long after his or her colleagues are long gone for the day. The student who does the extra credit work in hopes that they'll make the honor society.

And it's that extra step that often defines an entrepreneur, their small business and the difference between them achieving real success and just getting by.

What can you do to go that extra step in your small business?

Start with your employees. Help them understand not just what they have to do but why, and in that context, how it helps both them and the company.  Allow them latitude to make minor decisions without asking for permission.  When they're wrong, don't take away the decision-making, but explain how they erred and help them learn from their mistakes.

With your suppliers, explain to the key ones, where they fit in the delivery of your product and service and how critical their product or service is to that delivery. In short, make them a part of that delivery. Ask them for help in trimming margins, by finding ways that they can reduce their cost to you, but trade them a guarantee of a certain level of business over time, given that they can meet the cost and schedules necessary.

And finally, for customers, show them appreciation and give them a voice.  As for appreciation, don't just send them a token holiday gift once a year, but all throughout the year as they order, find special ways to thank them either through special offers or special services.  They will, in turn, appreciate things that help their business more than the fruitcake or the cheese basket!

As for a voice, if you don't have one, form a user group or a customer feedback group, whose role it will be feedback, to keep your company aware of issues and opportunities with your product or service that's upfront and personal. Encourage that voice in helping you to enhance and build ever better products and services and create an even greater voice with more customers.

Go the extra step.  For the entrepreneur it will truly be the difference between a thriving small business and one that is just getting by.

"The Entrepreneur's Yoda" knows these things.  He's been there.  May success be with you


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