CHICAGO — Making your best effort almost always opens new doors. And in my experience, a willingness to spend a little more time and extra effort than the competition has created bigger successes than the objectives I set out to attain.
Early in my show-business career, I produced a one-man show for comedian Robert Schimmel at the world’s most prestigious arts festival, the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. The goal—to do a good enough job to sign him as a client—was waylaid before I began. Upon my arrival in Scotland, Schimmel told me he had signed with a different management firm.
I could have gone off on a Highland holiday, but decided to show Schimmel the kind of management he would be missing. Every night, I called every reviewer in the U.K., and every day, I passed out free tickets with so there would be full houses. Soon, Schimmel was playing sold-out shows and received one of the event’s biggest creative honors.
And I won, too—though not with Schimmel. The biggest local star of the festival, Scottish comic Craig Ferguson, saw how hard I had worked, and agreed to come to America to see if I could get him work. The commissions I earned from his role on ABC’s The Drew Carey Show soon paid for the downpayment on my home. The moral of the story? Hard work is almost always rewarded.
Whenever I speak to a person who has built a successful business, the same pattern emerges. They weren’t sure the extra effort would guarantee a reward, and often experienced success in different ways than they had envisioned. Their efforts often opened doors that they hadn’t even tried to unlock.
Each week, go beyond your ordinary routine to make your space more alluring, add to your product line or extend your marketing initiatives. Perhaps you could donate drycleaning services to be auctioned off at local schools and organizations, introducing you to some and reinforcing your place in the community with others. You could do a coupon trade with a restaurant on your block.
People are loyal to businesses that give them a bit better service, a bit better pricing and/or a bit better atmosphere. Drycleaning customers want the same things. If you want to keep growing your business, abide by the Golden Rule: Treat customers the way you want to be treated. It takes a little extra effort, but the rewards are worth it.