People are funny. Okay, they’re not.


I follow several stocks. I read the message boards. No matter how badly a particular stock has performed, there are always those claiming to have made 20%, 30%, 50% and over 100% returns by being very patient. I think most people do not know how to calculate a return. If I invest $100 and make $10 in a month, I’ve made 120% annualized return. If it takes 10 years to make $10 I have not made 10%.


Okay, here’s the point. In your business it’s the little stuff that brings the BIG returns. If you can do one little low-cost improvement that saves the company one failure or service call per day—that’s a huge return. CEOs want big expensive solutions to bring huge returns. It never works. The smart companies are constantly making little improvements that produce immediate and lasting results.


Again. The big stuff never works. Spend $10,000 on a voicemail system to improve service and watch your service deteriorate. Put thousands of dollars into a new product and watch it flop. The big winners are rare.


Spend $3000 on email training and you’ll probably recoup the investment the day after the training. Seriously. If your people could prevent a shipping problem or save a customer from going to a competitor wouldn’t that be worth $3000?


Nope. It’s not sexy. You can’t go to the yacht club and boast about your new VM1000 call center. But you’ll probably get to keep your membership at the yacht club for a lot longer than the guy who bought the VM1000.


Shameless Promotion: I’ll come to you. We’ll get the phone situation and the email problem worked out. Your customers will be happy. All day you’ll hear, “wow, someone actually answered the phone!”
Chris Reich, Author of TeachU’s Business Talk Blog