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Vol. 3 issue #355 May 6, 2012



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Quality: To Do or Not To Do?

By Elizabeth Cambridge

Ask any entrepreneur if "quality" is essential to their business and you will without fail receive a resounding "Yes!" There is no question of the importance, significance and relevance of "quality" to any business. But, ask for a definition and you will receive a slew of answers like "quality is... excellence, perfection, consistency, etc." But nothing exact. This article, therefore, is going to focus on how, as an entrepreneur, you can effectively define "quality" for your business (or life) and put that interpretation to work for you.

Here are 3 definitions of "Quality" that might interest you:

* An essential and distinguishing attribute of something or someone
* A degree or grade of excellence or worth
* A characteristic property that defines the apparent individual nature of something.

That's right, "Quality" in and of itself is not definitive. It can be tailored and suited to fit the needs of your business (or life) as per your requirements, your goals, your aspirations, your ROI, your employees, etc. In other words, "Quality is always the sum total of its parts." Quality, therefore, can or cannot mean perfection, can or cannot mean excellence, can or cannot mean consistency, can or cannot mean straight A's!!


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The real question then, that every entrepreneur needs to ask himself or herself is this, "What kind of quality do I want in my business?" What sort of colors do I want to use? Or, what features must my product have? Or, what kind of customer service experience do I want to offer my customers?

The more specific the question you ask addresses the characteristic or feature of a product, or the degree of excellence or the attribute of a toy, then you are indirectly, yet more precisely addressing the bigger "Quality" question. Simple, huh?

Let's take another example: a manager who wants to produce more qualitative reports on his team's monthly performance. Instead of simply asking for better reports, the manager must ask questions like this: What specific attributes do I want to measure-hours worked, number of leads closed, time taken to finish typical projects, number of new leads each week, ROI on each team member? Or, do I just want better graphs to more accurately visualize the existing performance reports? See the difference?


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The first set of questions will require a certain level of detailed planning to reproduce reports that track and measure different attributes of each team member. This gives the manager a detailed 'qualitative analysis report' that will help him see how each of his team members is performing. The second question, however, only requires him to find a way to put the information he already has into a prettier, graphically pleasing format (which can also be useful for presentations....in meetings.)

So, you see, the real question is directly dependent on what the manager wants to achieve, or more specifically, do. Overhaul the reporting system or get better graphs! The needs for both are different. The former focuses on measuring employee performance to better determine revenue, ROI and team performance. The latter just requires a prettier picture.

In both cases, the degree of quality is neither right nor wrong. It is just essential depending on the need and what problems it helps solve.


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So, if you are facing a "quality" question and you are trying to figure out what to do. Start by asking yourself what kind of results you want to see and then work backwards. Try to figure out if you can make what you already have work, or, if some restructuring is required.

Working towards quality is like fitting a shoe; if it doesn't fit then try another. Different size, maybe even a different color and it all depends on the occasion- wedding vs. hiking. And, what you will find is that trying to attain to an abstract ideal like perfection or excellence is like looking for glass slippers that don't exist!

Your business identity is as unique as you are. And, "quality" helps keep it that way. Therefore, quality must be defined, designed and developed to integrate the attributes that matter to your business the most and to present that quality to your stakeholders in the best possible way. Take the time necessary to identify these unique characteristics and decide how to make them work for your business. This way you will have created a truly one-of-a-kind brand identity. No copycats here!

As Michael E. Gerber says in his book, The E-Myth Revisited, "Quality is just a word, and an empty word at that, if it doesn't include harmony, balance, passion, intention, attention."




Elizabeth Cambridge aims to "make entrepreneurship possible" by providing small business owners with effective solutions to successfully increase their company's growth, visibility, and reachability. Contact Elizabeth today for a consultation by going to her website at http://www.QuilonConsultancy.com/

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