His Holiness the Dalai Lama has long been a source of inspiration for me. A quote from him I love is:
Always choose quality over quantity. This rule applies to every life situation. In a monastery, it is better to have fewer monks but monks who are genuine. In a school, the main thing is not to have a large number of pupils but to educate them well. In a family, the best thing is not to have a large number of children, but to have children who are healthy and well brought up.
It got me thinking about quality over quantity. Most of us have heard of Pareto’s 80/20 rule which states that 80% of the outcome will come from 20% of the input. I find this to be true in my own company in that 80% of my business comes from 20% of my customers.
So what do I make sure I do? Look after that 20% to the very best of my ability. That’s not to say that I don’t also look after the other 80% because I most certainly do. But I try to match effort of effort.
One of my mentors Keith Raniere teaches the concept of integrity: that effort should match effort in order to create an integrity based system. To reward a customer that spends less money on my products and services over someone who spends more and creates more value, would be to create a system that was out of integrity. The lesser spending customer would expect a level of service that was above their level of commitment, while I may lose the top 20% if they did not feel the product they were getting was worth the money they were spending.
At home I don’t tend to buy my kids much “stuff”. We don’t overly spoil them on birthdays or Christmas and try, where possible, to buy toys that they can use again and again for drawing, modelling or building. We spend our money on giving them what we believe to be the finest education – the gift of multilingualism and the ability to connect with many people around the world. We eat dinner at the table as a family every day and educate them on the importance of nutrition and health. We play games together and spend time cuddling and reading every night.
As mothers, our children give us so much pleasure and in return we spend much of our lives serving them. Their needs are important to us and we strive to be the best parent we can be. Imagine if you also treated your customers like that: if you always went the extra mile. Your business would grow more from taking care of the smaller group of dedicated, happy customers that you have served, than spreading yourself wide among many that you cannot serve so well.
Don’t try to be everything to everybody. It is better to be exceptional to a smaller amount of people, than mediocre to a larger amount. The 20% will not be able to help but to sing your praises and spread the word, in essence, doing the work for you.
Task: Identify your 20% and make a point this week of finding something special you can do for them to show your appreciation. Then think about something smaller you can do for the 80%. Have fun with this!