Sweat the Small Stuff

When running a business, it can be overwhelming with all the different aspects that go into making a business successful. Some might consider letting one aspect of the business slide a little bit to focus on something they consider to be more important. Little does the business owner know that the aspect of the business that is being pushed to the side is the aspect that customers can really relate to and appreciate.

Attention to detail is very important when it comes to running a business, the big and little things. Steven Schussler in his book “It’s A Jungle In There” states that if you don’t sweat the small stuff you can lose the big stuff. The big stuff refers to big money. A business owner may not think that some little detail will make a difference, in their eyes its small and will go unnoticed because its so minor to them in the grand scheme of everything they have going on, but little does the owner know that these little details have a big impact on how the customer perceives the business. Whatever kind of business your in, the details matter, whether its cleanliness, ease of use, organization, speed, lighting, noise and so on. For example, in the restaurant industry, if the music is too loud that you can’t have a good conversation at the table, the lighting is too dark or light and doesn’t set the correct ambiance of what the restaurant is trying to achieve, or in order to save money you have fewer wait staff working in order to save money but really are impacting the wait time in which customers are served. Customers will remember these things. If the little details are taken care of, it will be reflective in the customers experience and determine whether or not they return.

Having attention to detail also shows that you care about the customer’s needs and wants. In an article in Bloomberg Business titled “Be Obsessive About The Details” it states that it is a good indication on how a business attends to your big concerns by how they attend to your little ones. They give the example of a car dealership not having service hours at night and during weekends show how they don’t put an emphasis on customer service. The little things impact the big the ones and most of the time the negative aspects will outweigh the positive aspects, not matter the size of importance of these aspects.

The details of any business make a difference in the mind of the consumer. You need to do everything in your power to make sure their perception of your business is positive. Remember that when a customer uses a dirty bathroom they might start to think that the kitchen is in the same, or worse condition. So when it comes to running a successful business, sweat everything, especially the small things.


Bloomberg Business. Be Obsessive About The Details. October 11th, 2005.          http://www.bloomberg.com/bw/stories/2005-10-11/be-obsessive-about-       details

Schussler, Steven. It’s A Jungle In There. New York. Sterling Publishing Co. 2010.  Print

10 thoughts on “Sweat the Small Stuff

  1. Chris,

    Very informative post. Attention to detail in the military can lead to someone dying that why I agree that sweating the detail in any situation is part of the big picture success. There is the rock band that always asks for M&Ms, but the special request asks for the removal of a particular color. This group indicated that the only reason that they make this particular request is to assure that if the hotel staff took care of the M&Ms then all the other request would be taken care of.


  2. Chris,

    I couldn’t agree with you more. I have had the pleasure to work with some “Big Picture” people in the past. Some of them lacked the ability to distill their grandiose vision down into the hundreds of little details that would ultimately come together to form their big idea. Its akin to laying the foundation of a building. All it takes is for one part of the foundation to be off by 1 or 2 percent and the builder might have another leaning tower of pizza on their hands.

    Using English.com states that “When people say that the devil in the detail, they mean that small things in plans and schemes that are often overlooked can cause serious problems later on. ” That being said, it is best to stay focused on the details to prevent the devil, or a crooked building from showing up.


  3. Chris,

    I enjoyed reading your post and really liked the examples you listed. I whole-heartedly agree that a business owner should sweat the small things because not only is it a reflection of the business, but a reflection of character. Customers notice everything and from my experience, they will be willing to drive farther out of their way, pay more for a product, or become a life-long customer to those who pay attention to detail. Just like Toochi mentioned, depending on the career, one can be faced with life or death because of attention to detail.

    Nice job,
    Danielle Glosson

  4. Sweating the Small Stuff.

    This is a concern for me at my current job. I really feel that we are not sweating the small stuff. This includes the customer service and facilities. You spoke about the bathrooms and this is something that I constantly hear as a concern from my female co-workers and students of the school. I can see how this may not come across to Senior Management as a concern but it truly is. Personally I have been affected by this with my current renovation process. I have a very detailed contractor but his working NEVER sweat the small stuff. They have forced me to look for other contractors due to their poor attention to detail. This has helped me with my patience. 🙂

    T. Kwasikpui

  5. Hi Chris,

    I can definitely remember my customer service experience while reading this. While working in a hotel, I was constantly remembering to focus on the small details that can make the “WOW” experience for our guests. I had to be sure the lobby looked just as neat as the bedrooms. It was a great experience in focusing on the small details.

    Best Regards,

    Doc Dillard

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