As I checked into a brand new Hampton Inn earlier today, it struck me that this is not the same hotel chain I started staying at over 20 years ago.
Hampton Inn has done a great job applying Stephen Covey’s seventh habit, Sharpen the saw. While Mr. Covey’s focus is on personal self-renewal, Hampton Inn has remained a viable hotel chain by renewing and reinventing the brand. I see the coloration between business and personal as real and authentic improvement which results in a sustainable, if not improving condition.
Hampton Inn is still in the hotel business but they have continuously refreshed and renewed the brand. Effort has been made to sharpen the saw. In some cases this is as simple as a new coat of paint, fresh furniture and new carpet. At other times more dramatic action like building a new hotel across the street from the old one and starting fresh as they have done here in Canton, OH. Regardless, Hampton stays sustainably in the hotel business.
Bringing the concept closer to home I am reminded of the recent revamp of my company web-site. I didn’t start from scratch but instead decided to sharpen the saw with new furniture (updated version of WordPress), fresh paint (Thesis Theme) and new carpet (some new and updated plugins to make the site more efficient). The payoff has been more visitors to a web-site that has been operating sustainably since we opened our doors for business 15 years ago.
Some ideas to sharpen your business saw:
Say your elevator speech out loud in front of a mirror. If it sounds like a commercial and not a story, probably time to sharpen it up a bit.
Look at the touch points on your web-site (like the “contact us” form) and make sure they are easy to understand and use. (You’ve spent all the time and effort getting your prospective customer to this point, do you really want to lose them at the 11th hour?)
Look at your business cards. Yes, mine look cool but don’t have my blog address or Twitter address on them. One or both needs to be on the card – time to sharpen them up.
These three items should get you thinking about areas to consider for your saw sharpening project. As you find and think of more, please come back and share with us in the comments.