In the words of the Greek orator, Demosthenus, “Small opportunities are often the beginning of great enterprises.”
Great concept, but how do we implement his sage advice?
While searching for some answers, I decided to look at our company’s Core Values. Do our Core Values apply to each & every project – even the small ones? Do they promote big relationships? I believe they are a perfect fit and the benefits of utilizing them will be exponentially rewarding. Big relationships are built on the same foundation, no matter the size of the project.
- Customer Relationships – A satisfied customer is one who will recommend you to others and provide repeat business. Ask yourself, “What’s the best way to foster excellent customer service?” My answer is pay attention. Gleaning the proper information about a project requires our full attention. Listen to your customer’s needs, ask questions, get the information required to produce excellent solutions. The payoff: a customer who feels their needs have been heard, validated, and met.
- Work with Integrity & Ethics – Be honest with your clients and co-owners, even in difficult moments. Most of all, be honest with yourself. Show a little humility – if you need help or don’t know the answers, be brave enough to ask. This is not a sign of weakness. It’s a sign of strength. The payoff: a chance to learn something new and use your new-found knowledge to create a better project outcome!
- Leadership – According to John C. Maxwell, “A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way and shows the way.” I like this quote because it sums up the role of a leader quite succinctly. Leadership is setting the example, following through and helping others succeed. Even small projects need leaders. The payoff: customer confidence in our firm’s abilities.
- Right Attitude – We’ve all had to work with someone who has a “bad” attitude. Not fun, huh? It’s even less fun when you find out your attitude is the one getting in the way. Keep it positive. Take a walk, chat with a coworker, new possibilities rarely present themselves when you take a negative approach. That can be a real creativity killer! The payoff: when our clients know we care about what we do, it proves how much we value them.
- Work Smart – We talk a lot about setting SMART goals. Working smart means applying those goals to each project, every day. Make to-do lists, track progress, and know what’s ahead in each project. This is how we can save time and money for our clients and ourselves. It’s often tempting to skip this step on small projects. Instead, let the potential to wow our clients with our swift delivery tempt you. The payoff: faster, more efficient results.
- Budget/Cost Controls– Even the smallest project requires a budget. Ask yourself, how do I make the pieces fit together to accomplish the client’s goals and still bring a profit to the bottom line? This is where working smart and being organized really pays off. Be vigilant and understand where the budget stands during all phases. Search for ways to implement cost controls. The payoff: the client respects our ability to stay on budget.
- Communication – This is an essential ingredient in every successful project. Pick up the phone, send an e-mail, plan a meeting. Keep in mind, communicating requires talking and listening. Listening is the only way to find out what a client wants and needs. You can’t solve a problem if you don’t know it exists.
- Design Creativity – Steve Jobs said, “Design is not just what it looks or feels like. Design is how it works.” Learn how things work. This doesn’t mean being an expert in everything. It just means that your work is never done when it comes to exploring new ideas. Exploration is the beginning of creativity. The payoff: unique solutions.
- Quality – Quality control is essential to every project and cannot be stressed enough. Quality is not just about the final product. Great projects require the highest quality output at every stage. That’s what our clients demand (and deserve). The payoff: as the saying around L&F goes, good work gets more good work!
- Tool Box Development – Your kitchen knives need to be honed, and so do your technical skills. Keeping your tools sharp by learning new technologies or techniques helps you deliver the best product to your customer. The payoff: Luckett & Farley maintains an edge over its competition, and our clients benefit from our continued expertise.
Frank Lloyd Wright said, “Regard it just as desirable to build a chicken house as to build a cathedral.” Not many projects are cathedrals. Most are chicken houses. Every project has new challenges to offer and new opportunities for creativity. There is one thing every project has in common: the chance to build a big relationship with our client.