The Ten Priorities #9: Continuous Improvement

Ten Priorities, finance management
Ten Priorities in Business, quality assurance

The Two Rules of Seth

Continuous improvement an quality management: This is the ninth post in the series of The Ten Priorities: Laying the Foundations for a Great Business and Life. The ninth Priority is about your Managing the quality of your Products or Services. The introduction to this series on The Ten Priorities is here. One of the most insightful modern business gurus I know, Seth Godin, said it really well: “To do well in business you only have to do two things:
  1. Deliver a great Product or Service
  2. Make sure lots of people know about it”
As usual Seth Godin nails it, and the last two of the Ten Priorities are about those two simple rules of Seth’s. Because the problem is, they’re a lot easier said than done. To have any hope of following Seth Godin’s 2 Rules, you have to have gone a long way to covering Priorities #1 through #8 first. It’s really hard to be uncompromising about the quality of the thing you sell, about improving your quality continuously, in the face of the day to day challenges of business. The temptation to let a less than perfect widget go out the door, because a customer is screaming at you, can be hard to resist.

But resist it you must.

If you give the customer his widget and it turns out to be not quite right, it doesn’t have the quality the customer expects, the customer won’t be happy and tell his friends that the widgets you sell aren’t always quite right.

Continuous improvement means always delivering on your promise

Come what may, your business must deliver what it promises. Quality management, and continuous improvement means not that you always have to build Rolls Royce motor vehicles, but if your company name happens to actually be Rolls Royce, you better not build an Hyundai. The inverse is that if you are managing your business along quality management principles, if your customers expect an Hyundai, it’s simply silly and a waste of effort to try and deliver them a Rolls Royce. Quality management is about defining the product or service you promise and delivering exactly that, every time, no more, no less. Not until you’ve mastered the arts of:
  • Looking after yourself
  • Giving yourself the time to think
  • Ensuring that business is Fun
  • Saying No
  • Planning
  • Money management
  • Asking for help
  • Having your people do great work
Will you be the kind of business owner who can build a business that delivers what it promises, all day, every day… I promise you.

Quality, Systems and the 7 Big Questions of Small Business

Business owners frequently ask 7 Big Questions about how to Build a Beautiful Business and Life. The first of these  Big Questions is: How do I grow my business? To answer that question I have identified the 11 most important strategies to create Business Growth. The eighth of those strategies is Grow your business with Systems. This article and others on this site, explains how Quality, Systems and Growth hang together, in some depth.

Next week, Priority #10: Manage your Publicity

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