- Benjamin Franklin –
I just finished reading Tony Hsieh’s, Zappos.com CEO’s latest book Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose, I am trying to remember why I had bought the book, probably it’s because I love buying at Zappos.com. They have the best selection of shoes (in any size, shape and color!), and they’re always creating unbelievable shopping experience like the time my order arrived the next day although I only paid for the regular shipping! Amazing! Customer relationship rules :-).
It’s a fascinating book which provided me with many insights about customer service. It is also a very motivational book, and don’t we all need it from time to time? However, the one sentence which struck me in the book was “Hope is not a good plan”.
It’s so interesting because Zappos.com’s story is all about hope. Zappos.com’s leaders were creating a business out of a new idea almost only on hope. They ran out of money and were saved at the last moment, while keeping the hope that things would eventually work out. They had changed the business strategy after realizing the old one did not work, hoping the new strategy would work out and making customer service as the brand, hoping a word of mouth would bring much needed money (and success).
So, is it hope or a well planned strategy which leads to business success? Before you jump and say “it is so obvious Liz”, wait and think about it.
I see many people coming to my store and telling me “I hope the economy will get better so my business will be successful again”, “I hope I will get this big order”, “I hope my prospect will agree to meet with me” and the one which puzzle me the most, “I hope I will win the lottery then all my problems will go away!”.
I wish I could be like Charlie and say “what have you planned and done to prepare your business for a bad economy?”, “What marketing strategies are you pursuing to get bigger orders?”, “What do you offer to your prospect and how do you plan to attract your prospect so he will meet with you?”. I am sure Charlie would have quoted Benjamin Franklin who said “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail”. As far as winning the lottery, hmmm, I guess it’s fun to dream. However, I have yet to read a biography of a successful person which started with the words “First I won the lottery and then my life became perfect”.
But I don’t say any of it, because I believe, like Tony, that hope is not a good plan, it is not a strategy. I need to have a plan and employ strategies and actions to ensure my business will have the best chance to be successful. But, I do not dismiss hope. Early on and sometimes for a long time after the “early on” times, hope is what sustains you. Hope makes you wake up in the morning eager to sprinkle the world with your talent. Hope is sending your book to one hundred publishers only to be rejected. Hope enables you to develop a new strategy on how to approach number one hundred and one. Hope is opening your store after a day in which you had only one client, but still enable you to check on your marketing plan, discuss new approaches with your advisors and find out what your competitors are doing.
I believe planning, executing and adapting are what will lead you to your success; hope is what will make you execute your plan when all looks very dark.
Jenny, my best friend, sits next to me and keeps on poking me and saying “don’t forget the Muppets, don’t forget the Muppets”. So this one is for you Jenny, the late Jim Henson said “My hope is to leave the world a bit better than when I got here”. My hope is that we will all do just that. Now back to planning my next day. Hope is not a good plan.
I would love to hear your hopes and plans for the next month, you know hope is contagious, leave me a comment.