What are the two most harmful words to a business? “Poor performance”?, “Serious complaint”? “Impending “foreclosure”? I’d argue that the two most harmful words are “Good enough”. Because once they become commonplace in the parlance of your business, it may only be a matter of time before you hear those others. “Good enough” is the antithesis of delivering operational excellence. It’s the straw that may break the camel’s back. “Good enough” implies that you have relaxed your standards. And this can make you vulnerable in a number of ways that may lead to your business’ downfall.
You have grand ambitions. You have progression, expansion and the dominance of your market set squarely in your sights. But if you’re not paying attention to the little details that make your business great, it doesn’t matter how brilliant your digital marketing campaigns are or how inventive your new product line may be.
Here are a few reasons why you can never afford to relax your standards in business…
Your standards are your brand
Your branding is more than just your logo and the pretty colors in your website design scheme. It’s more than just your clever slogan or the bold claims you make in your marketing copy. Your brand should make a promise to your customers. It should be explicitly tied to your mission statement, and it needs to imply a certain set of standards what define what customers should expect from your business.
As such, your standards are your brand. And letting them slip is a betrayal of everything your brand stands for.
Relaxing your standards sets the wrong example to employees
Like any leader, you need to lead by example. Even if you’re having a rough or stressful day, you need to remember that the eyes of your workforce are fixed squarely on you. If you’re seen to relax your standards, it’s only a matter of time until employees accept “good enough” as the benchmark. And you’d better believe your customers will notice (more on that shortly).
It can make you legally vulnerable
It’s not just the customer-facing aspects of your business that need standards to be meticulously maintained. Everything behind the scenes needs to be kept ship shape in order to ensure that the font-facing aspects of your business shine. Not only can letting standards slip damage your brand, it can also make you legally vulnerable. Take a look at the legal case of Summer Uchin v. Condo Roccia. Only the company’s dedication to excellence and meticulous record keeping saved the company’s reputation from being damaged by a wrongful dismissal suit. And nothing’s more important than your reputation. Especially now.
It can reduce your chances of customer retention
Finally, if you expect to remain competitive in this difficult time, you’ll need to protect your relationships with every customer you have. It costs up to 5 times more to acquire a new customer than to retain an existing one. So you can’t realistically expect to grow your business if you’re not making every effort to retain and engage your existing customers. And if you let your standards slip, they’re unlikely to reward you with second chances.