Be the Best at What Matters Most

Be The Best At What Matters Most

Successful companies seem to make everything look easy, because they have mastered their craft – doing only a few things, and sometimes just one thing better than any one else.

In fact, the concept of business best practices is just that – doing what needs to be done and doing it well.

In this interview with respected author and keynote speaker Joe Calloway, we discuss what makes the best companies successful, and how any business can learn how to do the same. As Joe puts it, the most successful businesses are simply rock solid at executing on the fundamentals.

Here’s the video that features our discussion of Joe Calloway’s new book, Be The Best At What Matters Most (Wiley 2013), with the three key points of that conversation summarized below.


Joe Calloway has a gift for helping companies find their focus for getting to the next level – and that starts with simplification.

For any business to get to the next level, there has to be a collective agreement among the team members on what matters most for getting there. That’s the starting point.

Entrepreneurs and small businesses especially are known to “wear many hats.”  The challenge is obviously learning which are the right hats – and then wearing them well.

Win on the Fundamentals

In recent years there has been a great of emphasis on delighting the customer by somehow creating some sort of “wow factor.”

Yet, in our current risk-averse economy, consumers today will be wowed by the assurance of knowing the basics will be done well – without exception. 

Let’s face it, consumers today have a voice and they are using it to be heard. So, if there is one thing that every company should be doing, it’s making sure there are no mistakes. This means no surprises.

Sure, we all like to have pleasant surprises, but as Joe commented in our interview, before you worry about the sizzle of the steak, make sure you get the steak right.

Take Action

In every business the greatest challenge has been and always will be taking action. This is what separates average companies from the great ones.

For small businesses, consistently taking action is what got our entrepreneurial ventures off the ground. We worked impossible hours and wore many hats.

To get to the next level requires something else – taking action on what is most important.  Find out what that is, specifically for your customers.

Then take action on that to consistently set the expectation of what your company stands for.  You can think of this as your brand, mantra, mission, or promise.

Whatever you call it, being the best at what matters most is the only strategy you will ever need. When you get that right, your marketing takes care of itself, as it is driven by the customer.

What’s the singular focus of your business?  Please share your thoughts.

About the Author:  Jeff Korhan, MBA, is the author of Built-In Social: Essential Social Marketing Practices for Every Small Business and host of This Old New Business podcast.

He helps mainstream businesses adapt their traditional growth practices to a digital world. Connect with Jeff on LinkedInTwitterFacebook, and Google+

Better Business Practices

Business consultants love to talk about best practices because it makes their job easier – and they are not alone.

Many contractors, educators, and salespeople do the same. They have a few solutions that they have perfected – then they apply them to problems that may or may not fit that solution.

That’s the problem. Best practices may be well-practiced by others, but are they what’s best for your small business?

What Needs to be Fixed

The one question you should ask yourself every day is:  What does my business most need right now? Then ask that same question looking down the road a little, and again while gazing even further into the future.

Leading companies in every industry have developed practices that are working for them. You can and certainly should learn from them. Though you will also want to consider some especially relevant factors that are unique to your situation – such as your company culture and the customers you serve.

Ideal is Better than Best

If you follow the best practices of your industry, you may well succeed.  Though there is a risk in following the leaders in your industry.  You are now a follower that may not be thinking about how to make your practices even better.

Sometimes when you are a little ignorant of the right or best way to accomplish an objective, you come up with one that is innovative – one that is ideally suited to your business.

Best practices will increase your odds of succeeding, but innovation that leads to ideal practices could make your business wildly successful.

And guess what? Now you have become the leader.

Congruency is A Form of Innovation

Most businesses, and certainly most small businesses are challenged with the one habit that undermines their success – consistency. The ideas you are now reading are the result of my efforts to build more congruency, and therefore consistency, into my work.

Most of us have developed the habit of consistency in at least a few areas of our businesses. Yet, it’s difficult to achieve that across the board because not all of the pieces fit well together. Look for ways to achieve congruency among the various disciplines in your business and you will greatly simplify your work.

For example, take a look at the topic areas in the secondary navigation menu of this blog (the bottom row). Small business, SEO, social media, content marketing, online marketing, social business, and small business trends are not just the focus of this blog.

They are congruent with my consulting work, the book I’m writing, and my presentations for small businesses.

How about you?

Can you identify those areas within your business that if you innovated and made them more congruent would better serve your customers or clients – and make you more successful?

In my opinion, the biggest lie in marketing is one size fits all. Why?

Because we all know it’s never true.

Collaborate with your customers and then innovate to create practices that will ideally serve them better.

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Until tomorrow,  Jeff

Photo Credit: sylvar