Someday, I hope that Anna will thank me. It’ll probably take her a while to understand, but the lessons and lectures on homework and discipline I seem to dole out on a regular basis will pay off for her in the future. Like any athlete that expects to reach the top of their sport, discipline and practice are not optional. Schoolwork and academics are no different.
I’m certainly not perfect in this area, but I have learned the value of research and preparation over the years. When I was working in the technology world, one of my associates used to always say, “It’s not enough to know the answer, you have to understand why”. I believe that you can apply this principle to many areas of business and life. Certainly it plays a role in baking our gourmet cookies, and I practice this philosophy in the business side of Anna’s Gourmet Goodies as well.
Baking is really about science and chemistry. Ultimately, you are trying to take moisture out of natural materials at a rate that allows all the ingredients to blend together just perfectly. I can throw together a sauté dish of veggies and meat for dinner with my eyes closed, but making a batch of 10,000 cookies where each one will come out precisely the same, requires research, diligence and doing your homework. Whether or not Anna will ever step behind the mixer and fire up the oven is yet to be seen, but I am still going to insist that she develop the muscle required to approach problems and opportunities logically, and do her research.
We apply the same principle to conducting business with our clients. It is not uncommon for us to receive an order with what appears to be an error in the shipping address. We could simply ship the product as ordered and let the chips fall where they may. Instead, we choose to do some basic research on the Internet first, before contacting the customer for clarification. Sure, it takes a little extra time to do this work, but in the end, it is one of the features of our service that differentiates us in the marketplace.
I do the same when contacting new prospects or vendors. Before I ever pick up the phone, I’ll do my homework to make sure that I have a basic understanding of the business I am calling. How easy was it to find them on the Internet? Is their website up to date with contact info? What about products and services – is it easy to find out what they do or sell? Is the owner or management team listed?
It is a habit I’ve developed that truly pays dividends when it comes to building long term relationships with clients. It helps us build our customer base, as well as selecting our suppliers, because we expect the same level of service and commitment from those companies that support our business, that we provide to our clients. Ultimately, we attract and retain customers and suppliers that are truly a pleasure to do business with. Life’s too short to have it any other way.
So if you and your company decide to send gifts from Anna’s Gourmet Goodies, you can rest assured that we’ll take some time to do our homework on your business. If there is something we can do to help, even if it has nothing to do with cookies, I’m happy to share our experience. And, if you are a supplier looking to work with Anna’s Gourmet Goodies, I’d recommend you at least visit our website and do a little research before you make that first call. If you think it’s not that important, just ask Anna how Dad feels about doing your homework.