I am an unabashed entrepreneur. Since graduating from college – I have never worked for anyone else for any significant amount of time. In retrospect, this was probably a mistake, as I suspect the right mentor could have smoothed the road for me a bit, but it all turned out, and I have had a ball starting and running companies that have ranged from failures to fairly significant and beyond.
And as a classic entrepreneur, I am constantly analyzing businesses to determine how I would do it differently. This undoubtedly makes me one of the worst patrons in the world – arrogant and confident that "I could do it better" without knowing any of the intricacies that leads a business to make certain decisions. But the fact is – most of the time I could do it better. Most businesses seem to suffer from a lack of customer focus – an intrinsic laziness about providing the best possible service and product for the price. So when I find a really great business run by a terrific entrepreneur, I am overjoyed. I love to buy from someone that sells well, delivers a quality product, and makes you feel good about the transaction.
A few weeks ago I had an incredible experience in the most unexpected of circumstances. My wife and I were visiting New York, walking to one of our favorite restaurants on the Upper East Side. After a great dinner, my wife noticed the little nail salon across from the cafe was still open, which was unusual given the late hour. Since I am secure in my occasional metro sexual tendencies and like to have clean nails, we both entered with the intention of getting the advertised $15 manicures. Half way through our procedures the owner of the shop emerged from the back. It was as if a friendly whirlwind entered the room. She was chatty and aggressive and full of confidence. We complimented her on the fact she was open so late – and she replied that her customers wanted to come late – so she stayed open.
She had the classic customer-centered Warrior mentality – and it was obviously working for her. In addition to owning the shop, she also ran a small cosmetology school. After getting to know us she began the "up sell process" – and before I knew what had happened our $15 manicures turned into custom manicure / pedicures, seated massages, and a process that included shooting hot wax up my nostrils. The tab also increased to a couple hundred dollars. But we were happy to pay it. A great entrepreneur makes their customer feel good about the process and the price, and anxious to come back.