Back home in London, I don't have a TV. I used to have a TV. A big one. Then I sold it. Then I stupidly bought another one and then sold that. Then I decided I really didn't want a TV. So I painted a big gold and yellow and red sun on the wall where the TV stand used to be instead.
But Keijiro has a TV. A big one. And Netflix. So we've been watching it sometimes.
And we've been watching episodes of this programme called Ace of Cakes. And when I first saw it I thought "urgh, I'm going to hate this."
But I don't. I LOVE it. And here's why:
Ace of Cakes is about a guy called Duff who started a cake making company in the basement of his house. Now, he and his team get commissioned to make epic cakes for organisations and events all around the world.
Events like Back to the Future's 25th anniversary and the 2008 Inauguration of President Obama. And organisations like Shakespeare's Globe in London.
And they don't just create a nice tiered pretty cake. Or a bunch of cupcakes.
Their cakes are works of art. Cake architecture. Flames. LEDs. Roller coasters. The creativity, time and skill that goes into their cakes is mind blowing.
And in one of the episodes, one of Duff's team said this about him:
When everyone else is trying to make a cake that's a 10, Duff will ask, how can we take this to an 11?
And that right there. That attitude. That mindset of, "how can I make my work an 11 when everyone else is aiming for 10?" is the mindset of someone who's set up for success.
Because 10 simply won't cut it. (No pun intended.)
You need to go beyond.
You need to deliver in a way that no one else would deliver.
And that's what Duff and his team do. Every. Single. Time.
But how? How do you take your business and your actions from a 10 to an 11?
By taking what comes naturally to you and leveraging that to do things that no one else would do.
Something that comes naturally to me is caring about people in a very genuine way and doing small things where I can to support or encourage.
And so here are some of the things I've done to go beyond:
Until pretty recently, every time someone new subscribed to my website I made a personal welcome video for them to say hi and invite them to share a bit about themselves.
And not only that, before I made that video, I checked the email address they signed up with. If it was a business address with a website, I'd go to the website and find out about the person so I could ask them questions about their business and their life in that video. People don't expect you to take that much of an interest.
I send cards and notes randomly to clients, potential clients and previous clients.
Because I know how good it feels to get a hand written note and I enjoy making people I care about feel good.
I get a lot of emails. It would free up a lot of my time if I had someone else reply to them or didn't reply to all of them.
But for now, whilst it's still just about possible for me, I reply to pretty much every single one. I mean, it takes me a while sometimes, but I do it.
And again, not only do I reply, but for the emails in which people have shared something with me I make every effort to reply with thought. Sometimes I spend 20 minutes replying to a single email from someone I've never met, never spoken to and who I have no clue whether or not they might ever buy anything from me.
And I search my email archives to check whether we've been in touch before (it can get confusing after a while) and if we have, I'll read through the previous emails and familiarise myself with what was going on in their life and refer back and ask questions.
Because I care and I don't want to be that person that just fires off some generic response because then I may as well not send a response at all.
Because I know that my business is built on ONE thing and one thing only:
So with the time and energy I have, I pour as much as possible into those relationships. And it can't last forever. Time will only stretch so far. I'll need to find alternative ways. But whilst it's still humanly possible, I do it. Because it matters to me. And it's my way of going to 11.
To make every single person feel heard.
Ok, that was a lot about me. Just examples. This is most likely not how you'll take your business to 11. But this is something important to think about. So today, I invite you to think about these two questions:
1. Am I operating at 11?
2. If not, how can I leverage my natural strengths to go beyond and do what others won't do and take my business to an 11?
Love and courage,