If It Works, It Works

Five times a week I go to the trail to walk, hike and bike. It’s my “third place” – the place where I go to think, reflect, plan and get my ideas flowing. In all the time I’ve been doing this, I’ve passed by a local business and noticed a sign outside announcing how long they’ve been in business.

I’ve watched the sign change from 23 years to 24 years, 25, 26 and all the way up to 27 years in business. 27 years is pretty impressive, yet in all this time I never even noticed what the business was. Until last month.

You see, a friend had called me up and asked for my support. She needs to lose weight but didn’t want to go to a weight loss program on her own. I was hesitant, but I wanted to help my friend so I agreed. And the next time I passed by the long-time business near the trail, I saw that it was a weight loss program. Isn’t that something? It’s like when you’re considering a new car and all of a sudden you spot them all over the road.

It looked like this place offered more of a personal, one-on-one approach, and I liked the idea having more privacy during this process. So I called up my friend and asked if she’d like to try it. The minute we walked in the door I could see that not only had the business been around for 27 years, a lot of the furniture and equipment had too! Forget about computerized accounting programs, this office used a one-write system. When my client stepped on the scale, it was a mechanical scale, not a digital one. When she got a photo for the “before” shot, it was taken with a Polaroid camera. You get the idea.

The woman who runs the business didn’t inspire our confidence at first, since she was overweight herself and had obvious related health problems.

At the end of the day, though, when my friend looked through the “before” and “after” photos and heard about the personal approach to the program, she could see that it worked. Even more, it was easy to see how much this lady cares about her clients. We had her full attention, yet she didn’t once try to sell or manipulate us.

And the program is chock full of accountability. Three times a week you visit the office for a one-on-one check-in meeting – an accountability meeting, of sorts – to review what you’ve eaten over the last few days and set up your eating plan for the next few days. She also monitors your blood pressure to make sure you’re healthy.

And she gets results. That’s why her clients are happy and refer their friends. That’s why my friend signed up for the program. That’s why the business has been there for 27 years. It works. It doesn’t matter that the decor is outdated or the record-keeping is on paper instead of the computer. As long as there’s good old-fashioned accountability in the mix, this old business will keep going for many years.

Has your business progressed in terms of systems and procedures, but left behind some good old-fashioned practices for dealing with your people?