There are two bakeries on my way to work. One has been around since 1825. They used to be purveyor to the court of the King of Bavaria. Nowadays, they open at 8 AM. When I go there at 8:15 and ask for a pretzel with butter, however, I often hear the following: “We just opened, so we’re not ready.”
That line may work for a startup – but at a bakery? Not so much. Do you think they also gave that excuse to the king? I doubt it. The point of a service business is to offer the service when you’re open – so open when ready. I don’t get 30% of a haircut because the hairdresser just woke up. Therefore, I may also expect 100% of the pastry selection if the door swings open.
One morning, you must get up and say: “We’re not quite ready, but we’ve decided to open – because our service is important, and we’ll be ready in due time.” That’s how art begins. It’s a different kind of service and often not a literal one, but the only way for it to ever be ready is to open the door and say: “Come on in! I can’t wait to learn from you.” You’ll serve people well today, but tomorrow, it’ll be even better.
The other bakery opens at 6:30 AM. Are their pastries as polished? No. But whenever I get there, they’re ready. There are six kinds of baguettes, three kinds of croissants, and a small assortment of pretzels. I know exactly what choices I have, and I can pick even before I arrive, knowing I’ll walk out with my usual selection of snacks.
Open or ready? Which one does it need to be? Choose your cause, and act accordingly.