Great Business Ideas: Two Great Ideas (TOM PETERS)

Great Ideas for your Small Business:

Two Great Ideas (TOM PETERS)

Tom peters, best-selling author, high-level consultant, entrepreneur, and speaker, was in a state of transition when we met in New York City in the summer of 1997.

He had just sold The Tom Peters Group, the training side of his Palo Alto–based communications business and was devoting most of his attention to his new company, a textile and bedding venture owned by his wife, textile designer Susan Sargent in Pawlett, Vermont. Previously, Peters worked for McKinsey & Company, a management consulting firm, where he eventually became a partner.

Taking a cue from the Japanese, Peters adopted management strategies which he teaches around the world. Since he’s been a sharp observer of the changing business world for many years, he has offered two great ideas for small business owners.

1. Focus on a creative brand design.

“Produce first-class marketing materials for your company,” he said. “Find an innovative, young design team on Day One to create a Star- bucks/Nike kind of feel for the enterprise.”

Then put your very cool image on “everything from the website, to the nameplate, to the business cards.” Although graphics and printing are costly, “spend the money whether you are running a twelve-table restaurant, a three-person company, or anything in between.”

2. Look beyond credentials.

“The great people at business love hanging around people,” he said. So, when you are building your team, “my advice is, ‘forget the certificates.’” He said when he and Susan began advertising for their first administrator for their textile business, “I stole the words from Steve Jobs, and I said, ‘this is a company that from Day One intends on being insanely great, and if you’re not insanely great—don’t even think about applying.’”

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“Well,” he said with a grin, “that draws in some flakes you wouldn’t touch with a twenty-meter pole—on the other hand, it was great to see the responses from all over the map.” Before racing off to keynote another business conference, Peters had these parting thoughts for us: “I think it’s the halcyon years for entrepreneurial firms,” he said. But “you gottabe damn good at something. Your ‘it’ has to be fabulously special.”