Somewhere along the line, in this dog-eat-dog, get-rich-quick-with-the-next-big-internet-invention, trade-stocks-according-to-an-algorithm-that-would-make-Stephen Hawking-blush, you're-nothing-without-50,000-facebook-likes world, business fundamentals got lost.
You can make an analogy with the SportsCenter-focused modern game of basketball. Alley-oops, emasculating dunks, long three-point bombs...these are the "skills" kids practice now - because they want to be on television's nightly highlight reel.
What happened to free-throws, and boxing out, and making the extra pass?
Those may lead to less time on SportsCenter, but they bring more digits to the "win" column.
And it's the same with business fundamentals.
The business fundamentals are very simple:
- Care about your customer as much as yourself - and show it (handwritten thank-you and birthday notes, the occasional phone call just to say "hi")
- Show up early and stay late as the norm, rather than as the exception
- Dress and groom yourself well - look your best at all times (you don't need a ton of money for this)
- Always be extra-polite
- Always do your research on new people you're about to meet, to show them you care and are a conscientious person
- Ask about - and keep tabs on - your associates' families
- Always speak with courtesy and respect, and almost never raise your voice
- Listen to your clients' needs before even thinking of coming up with "solutions"
Etc. Etc. You get the picture.
It it all sounds so simple - and yet these behaviors don't come "automatically" anymore.
I've said before that all business comes down to relationships, and that relationships are all about the little things.
But in today's hyper-competitive, hyper-connected world of instant gratification, it's these very same "little things," these small but effective relationship building blocks, that have been lost in the name of speed and ambition.
I have a feeling - no, I know - that some big success is waiting for the next clever entrepreneur who builds his or her new business on these mundane relationship/business fundamentals.
Are you practicing these business fundamentals?
Or are you too focused on the next big, flashy "thing"?