Make Business Simple – My Four-Word Rules For Success. #9 in a Series. We’ve spent the last few weeks talking about my four-word rules for business success. My goal remains simple: I want to give you easy to implement tools, tactics, and techniques to make your business better.
Each rule is only four words long because often that’s all it takes to make a huge difference when you build your brand and your business.
If you missed any of the rules, just click on each link: Rule #1 is HERE. Rule #2 is HERE. Rule #3 is HERE. Rule #4 is HERE. Rule #5 is right HERE. Rule #6 is right HERE. Rule #7 is HERE. Rule #8 is HERE.
It was my college roommate’s anniversary and he wanted to take his girlfriend somewhere special to celebrate.
When he asked her where she wanted to go, she didn’t hesitate for a second. “Benihana” she said with a big smile.
But there was a problem. My college roommate had never been to Benihana, had never eaten Japanese food, and didn’t know how to eat with chopsticks.
He was scared he’d do something stupid, so he asked me if I would find a date and go with them.
“We’ll tell her it’s an anniversary party,” he said. “And while we’re there you can show me how the place works.”
When the day arrived the four of us showed up at the restaurant. We were ushered to the teppanyaki table and sat with the two other couples already there. Besides us, there were another eight strangers on the other side of the big table.
My roommate looked at me with raised eyebrows.
“Don’t worry,” I whispered, “they always put you with others. It’s fun.”
A moment later the waitress showed up and offered each of us a steaming hot rolled-up washcloth from a bamboo tray.
As my roommate looked over at me, I whispered: “Take one, wipe your hands, and put it back. DO NOT wash your face.”
He smiled with relief and did as he was told.
After that, things progressed nicely. My roommate chose a drink and found things on the menu to order all by himself. It wasn’t until the waitress handed out the bowls of miso soup that he looked at me with panic in his eyes.
“What’s with the funny spoon?” he said under his breath. “Why is it shaped like this?”
I couldn’t resist.
“It’s because the soup is always so hot. What you do is scoop the soup up in the spoon and then put the other end in your mouth. Just tilt the spoon up and let the soup run down the channel to cool off.”
“Wow!! No way!! I love that. Let me try it.”
He scooped up some soup, turned the spoon around, and let it run down the handle into his mouth. He was so intrigued and excited that he did it again and again, never noticing that everyone at our table —and then everyone in our corner of the restaurant — was watching him.
Finally, my roommate looked up in mid-slurp. He froze when he noticed the whole room staring at him.
He put down his spoon.
“You are such a jackass.” he said quietly.
(Years later my friend and virtuoso drummer Allen Lynch was chaperoning a trip to Washington DC with his son’s sixth grade glass. When they went to lunch at Tony Chen’s, they were served wonton soup with the same little plastic spoons. Because I had told Allen the story about my roommate and Benihana, he sent me this photograph after lunch was over. It was accompanied by three laughing emojis 😂 😂 😂).
Have you ever noticed the arrow in the FedEx logo? If you have, you can’t look at the logo without seeing it. But if you haven’t, you’ll be stunned that the arrow has been there all along.
How about the “31” (the number that represents their selection of flavors) in Baskin Robbins’ logo?
Can you recall how wonderful it smells when you walk into a Four Seasons Hotel anywhere in the world?
Have you ever gotten off a long flight at Las Vegas’ McCarran airport and seen the directional sign for the bathrooms? They’re posters of the bald blue guys from Blue Man Group pointing the way. The only difference is that now the bald blue guys are yellow.
Just like the spoon’s OTHER function, some of the most delightful surprises are Hidden in Plain Sight.
Tesla adds little delightful surprises into their cars’ computer screens. My favorite is a diagram for turning the car into a submarine resembling James Bond’s Lotus Esprit in The Spy Who Loved Me.
Apple sets the pace of the flashing “on” light on their laptops to match a human heartbeat.
To make your brand All About Them, and to make your business a success, remember that my Four-Word Rule for Success #9 is Hidden in Plain Sight.