Old gray haired white guys

A couple days ago, the Lakers appeared a little vulnerable against the Magic after a game 3 loss.

It appeared that the Magic focused a little more and worked a little harder on fundamentals than the Lakers did, as a result, their shooting improved and nothing the Lakers and Kobe could do would stop them.

It doesn’t matter if you have a 46 inch vertical leap if you can’t make a layup or a free throw, much less play defense or make your way across the court without someone stealing the ball from you.

Small businesses have the same issues to deal with: Focus. Attention to fundamentals.

As I see businesses struggle with sales, customer retention, customer service and effective marketing, more often than not, ignoring lessons in fundamentals from old gray haired white guys are at the root of the problem.

No, it isn’t just white guys, but there just aren’t many business icons in their 70s and 80s who aren’t white, simply because of the way things were in the US 40-50-60 years ago. Naturally, there are exceptions, but this post isn’t about race relations so let’s get back to the topic at hand.

Experience is cheaper if you can learn its lessons from someone who already paid the price for it.

When I say old, of course I mean “much older than me” ( just like you do).

I’m speaking of guys like Zig Ziglar (born 1926), JimRohn (born 1930), John Earl Shoaff (born 1916, died 1965)  and Earl Nightingale (born 1921, died 1989).

Yeah, I know. Those dudes are either really old or long gone. That’s just a short list of folks, but rather than go on, I have something else to deal with that’s far more important.

Your mind. See, I know what you’re thinking.

You’re 23 (or 33, 43, 53, take your pick), an entrepreneur and there’s nothing some crusty old white dude can teach you about business. This is the iPhone age, the internet age and those guys would freak out if they had access to what you have.

It’s a big mistake to think that way. Keep in mind that those generations didn’t have some of those things – so they invented them

One of the simple things Zig teaches is to get everything you want, help someone else get everything *they* want.

Simple but powerful – and easy to implement in your business. If you put some thought into it, you can easily find a way to leverage that idea so that it creates revenue opportunities for your business.

I’ll leave it to you to discover the other things these men taught but I can’t make a better suggestion to you than to discard your prejudices and just listen.

Then take action.

PS: Yeah, I realize the photo is of a woman. There are smart, old, white-haired women that you can learn from as well.

Southwest: Something simple in the air

Yes, it’s a play on the now-untenable “Something special in the air” that American Airlines used to use – back when they really were special.

Southwest Airlines announced changes in their business model that are easy for any air traveler to understand.

Click the image below to see the entire graphic from Southwest.com:

Now I had to admit that flying Southwest used to make me nuts because there was so much difference between the cattle car experience and what everyone else did.

Since those days year ago, they’ve made boarding changes to make things far more normal, and given that everyone else has cut service to the bone, now the other guys are the cattle cars.

Rather than follow the industry – Southwest has always tended to take a page from Earl Nightingale, that is, watch what the mainstream airlines do, and do just the opposite.

That’s just where this is coming from.

Instead of making their business complicated, they’ve made it simpler.

That’s not exactly news. They’ve done simple all along – such as using the same model of airliner across the entire company.

They do simple for a reason: They understand that eliminating all this complexity makes it easier for their staff and their passengers, but that isn’t the real “secret” to all this simplicity.

The key to this latest simplification move isn’t just making the other airlines look like idiots (as if they need help), but that it allows Southwest to chip one more little piece away from their turnaround process (land, deplane/unload, clean, board/load, takeoff) without slowing things down to check for paid tags, or capture a credit card or make change, and so on.

Plus it’s a heckuva lot less annoying to the passenger.

Result: More on time departures, faster turnaround, more flights, less planes, happier customers who met all their connections, and far lower expenses for feeding/housing travelers stranded by their inability to manage their on-time arrival.

Southwest is the Apple Computer of the airline business – except perhaps in price.

Simple is better.

What can you do to simplify YOUR business?