Tips for Entrepreneurs – #5
Nobody ever succeeded in business by sticking his or her head in the sand and pretending a problem didn’t exist. Conversely, plenty of businesses have gotten into hot water or even failed completely by ignoring a problem until it’s too late to fix it. No one knows your business as well as you do, so if your gut is telling you that something just isn’t right, listen to it. Dig into the problem, and take action to fix it, even if it means asking for help. Just like the little boy with his finger in the dike, you can hold back a catastrophe for only so long—unless you’re willing to start over and even build a new dam.
Confront problems squarely.
They won’t just go away.
Featured as Tip number 26 in my book, The Evolution of an Entrepreneur.
From the Jack Nadel Archives
A major issue at a meeting of our board of directors was the salaries of company officers and how they related to each other. There were easier issues on the agenda, but I started the meeting with the statement that the salary problem had to be resolved before anything else was discussed. It wasn’t easy, but it was finalized at the beginning of the meeting, and we were able to proceed with other items.
How Does This Tip Apply Today?
The “Our Pizza Sucks” campaign launched by Domino’s illustrates how truthfulness and transparency can triumph. In 2011, Domino’s CEO, Patrick Doyle, perceived widespread customer dissatisfaction through complaints posted via social media channels like Facebook, so he decided to solicit criticism online and in person. Words like “flavorless,” “cardboard crusts,” and “processed cheese” were frequently mentioned. In response, Domino’s ran a series of national ads that admitted its pizzas were inferior and explained how dozens of cheeses, sauces, and crust seasonings were being tested in various combinations to find a superior-tasting product. Doyle closed his ads with a pledge: “We’re going to learn; we’re going to get better. I guarantee it.” And that’s exactly what they did. By getting out ahead of the problem and fixing it sooner rather than later, Domino’s introduced higher-quality pizzas, store sales increased, and quarterly profits doubled.
Tips for Entrepreneurs
This post is part of my regular “Tips for Entrepreneurs” blog post series, featuring shared experiences and wisdom from my career as a global entrepreneur that I outline in an easy to understand tip format with a brief story/snippet from my own business experience, as well as a current anecdote about how this tip applies in today’s business environment. These entrepreneurial tips are also featured in my award-winning book for entrepreneurs, The Evolution of an Entrepreneur, featuring 50 of My Best Tips for Surviving and Thriving in Business.
Referenced for How Does This Tip Apply Today? materials:
Hamilton Nolan, “domino’s strikes gold with ‘Our Pizza sucks’ campaign,” Gawker, January 13, 2010, http://gawker.com/5447282/dominos-strikes-gold-with-our-pizza-sucks-campaign.
Charlene Li, “the art of admitting Failure,” HBR Blog Network (blog), March 28, 2011, http://blogs.hbr.org/cs/2011/03/the_art_of_admitting_failure.html.