The Risk of Cutting Corners

by Howard Shore, Date: May 23, 2012

The Risk of Cutting Corners

Are you cutting corners to save money or time? It’s an easy thing to do. You are preparing for a presentation on short notice, or trying to shave a few dollars from your marketing budget, and convince yourself that no one will see the difference. The truth is, if you notice the difference, then so will your clients. And that could cause serious damage to your brand.

The other day, we were preparing a last-minute new business proposal and I admit my team fell into the corner-cutting trap. We were so hurried in getting it done, that the almost-final presentation was littered with errors. It had inconsistent use of capitals and other formatting mistakes, and there were even a few grammar issues. When it was given to me for approval, I sent them back to the drawing board. I couldn’t let this presentation be the “face” of our company’s services.

Remember that old saying, “the devil is in the details”? It really is true. I am an avid reader of Seth’s Blog and read a recent post that inspired me to highlight this topic myself. In his post, he proposed a few business scenarios where missed details created a quality mismatch, or disconnect between the expectations of the brand and the delivery of the brand promise—what he says is the difference between a customer saying “hack” or “wow.”

The point that he and I are trying to make is this: every time you touch a customer, it reflects upon you and your brand. Every day, we make business decisions that impact the relationship with our customers. Your attention to detail and delivery of services are the building blocks of your brand. Each time you “touch” your customer, another block is added to their overall experience and relationship with your company—for better or worse.

When you create your next new business pitch, brochure, client report or meeting materials, try to look at them with new eyes. Be ruthlessly critical and examine every detail. You are building a brand so make it the best it can possibly be. And never, ever justify cutting corners by telling yourself “our customers won’t notice or care” because they most assuredly will, and definitely do care about the details when they are spending their hard-earned money on your product or service.

Howard Shore is an executive leadership coach and founder of Activate Group Inc, based in Miami, Florida. His firm works with companies to deliver transformational management and business coaching to executive leadership. To learn more about executive leadership coaching through AGI, please contact Howard at 305.722.7213 or email him.