Our hero climbs out of bed, gets ready for work and off you go. Another day of solid leadership and good decisions, like the day before and the one before that. Your company has to do a lot of things right to succeed, so yesterday’s priorities may change today. But there’s one thing you need to get right every day, and that’s to fuel your company with Quality Customers who 1) seek quality as their number one shopping priority, 2) have the wherewithal to afford to pay for quality, 3) demonstrate a personal integrity that takes pride in fair dealings, and 4) are loyal and much more likely to speak well about your company. If you earn and maintain Diamond Certified, you’ll put your company in perfect position to attract and influence Quality Customers as you actively use your Diamond Certified status and tools.

Prune and Add Quality
Diamond Certified keeps you focused on Quality Customers and allows you to prune the less desirable customers. In this way, you’re building your company based on 1) quality margin work; 2) a satisfied, loyal staff; 3) positive cash flow; and 4) your company growing in value so it could be sold at some point in the future. The other side of the coin isn’t pretty, as we’ve seen companies that struggle with 1) bad customers, 2) pure price shoppers who spin their wheels with thin and no-margin work, 3) staff dissatisfaction and turnover, and 4) cash flow troughs that keep their owners up at night. This all leads to a declining company value that’s ultimately unsellable upon retirement…if the company makes it that far.

Your Company’s Hot Center Attracts Quality Customers
A big part of your job is fueling your company with Quality Customers. It’s the quality fuel to build a great business for the long run. To do this, the solution is not to get a metaphorical bullhorn and promote your message to the far corners of your market area. In fact, I suggest a path that starts inside of you. Yes, you. Create your personal “Hot Center” and expand it to first include your staff, then your key customers and, finally, all your past customers. Then, like the gravitational pull of a star, your company’s Hot Center pulls in new Quality Customers.

It starts with an alignment of one.
The first step in creating your company’s powerful Hot Center is to define it. You’re the absolute center of your company’s Hot Center. You’ll create a powerful Hot Center with your own clarity of your company’s Values and Principles. Then you’ll be ready to define your brand promises, which is another way of saying “brand meaning.” All of your team’s daily decisions, communications and actions create your brand’s meaning—that’s why we start at the center with Values and Principles before we focus on brand meaning.

Start by personally articulating your company’s most important Values and top Principles, and then get ideas and feedback from your team before you finalize them. If you already have existing ones, now is a good time to take another look and refresh any that need an update. Use the enclosed Hot Center Worksheet to complete these steps and download extra copies at diamondcertified.org/docs. We’ll go deeper into brand promises next month.

Words on paper or lived truths?
Your job is to give daily meaning to your company’s Values and Principles. Lead by example. Use your heart—it takes great passion and willpower to create the hottest of centers. If you’re totally clear about how your company operates (its rules for the road) and totally committed to taking daily action to deliver on it, you will succeed in fueling your company with Quality Customers. If every employee behaved as you do with other staff, customers and prospective customers, how hot would your company’s Hot Center glow?