In the 1996 movie Jerry Maguire, Rod Tidwell (played by Cuba Gooding) is the only athlete who stays with sports agent Jerry Maguire (Tom Cruise) after Maguire is convicted about poor ethics and decides to try a new sports marketing system. In one scene, Tidwell defines a philosophy now known as the "The Quan." Simply stated, "The Quan" means "love, respect, community...and the dollars, too. The package."
If you've seen the movie, you know that things work out for Jerry Maguire. Though his career suffers for a brief amount of time, Maguire stays true to himself in the end, and his business thrives. In my limited experience, "The Quan" is always the best way to way to build a business. People want to know that they matter, and honestly, it doesn't take much to show them that they do.
Steve has been changing my oil at Midas since my freshman year of college. His prices aren't the cheapest around (although not the most expensive), but I will keep going back to Midas to get my oil changed as long as I live in my current town. Why? Steve knows my name. He asks me how teaching is going, how my husband is doing, and remembers what I told him the last time I came in, which was 3-4 months and several hundred customers ago. Steve offers me a cold bottle of water in the summer or a hot cup of coffee in the winter, and I sit down with my free Wi-Fi, generous selection of magazines, and wait the 45 minutes to one hour while Steve handles my car. He is honest with me about what needs to be fixed and what can wait, instead of pressuring me into making hundreds of dollars of unnecessary repairs, like the dealership often does. At the end of my visit, I thank Steve and leave the shop with another punch on my loyalty card (the fourth oil change is always free). Who knew that a simple oil change could be such a pleasant experience?
Because Steve shows me love and respect, I want to go out and spread his name to the community. He treats me like more than a customer; he treats me like a person. Midas doesn't have to provide free Wi-Fi or drinks for its customers, but the company chooses to dispense a little extra money to make people feel comfortable. By spending these few additional dollars, and by being honest and respectful, companies like Midas actually end up thriving in most cases.
Hobby Lobby founder David Green, one of the most successful businessmen in the United States, gives away a majority of his annual wealth to philanthropic causes. In so doing, he not only remains true to his values, but he is able to spread Hobby Lobby's name and superior reputation.
What is the difference between a good business and a great one? Love, respect, and community. The dollars will follow, because philanthropy and risk management always go hand in hand.
Have you had a positive experience with a business lately? What made the difference for you?
(See the related blog here.)