Perseverance pays

There was a commercial
back in the ’80s for
Dunkin’ Donuts where a man would get up every day
and trudge off to his job muttering, “Time to make the
doughnuts,” on his way out
the door. He’d return at the
end of the day stating, “I made
the doughnuts.”

Sometimes as the CEO, it’s
easy to start feeling like that
guy. Day in and day out, you
work hard, put out fires, outline plans for growth, and then
execute to the best of your
ability. When you look at your
numbers, you see modest
increases in revenue and profits. So you work harder, refine
your plans, hire better people
and execute even better than
before. You look at the new
numbers and what do you
see? Modest increases in revenue and profits. So you
change things up, revamp
your plan, bring in some new
people, switch some things
around and look at the newest
set of numbers. Guess what?
Another modest increase in
revenue and profits.

The cycle then continues.
You work harder and harder
and get better, but your
growth isn’t anything special.
The economy gets worse,
which makes things even
more challenging. You’re
working harder just to not
lose ground.

Meanwhile, people around
you are getting that big breakthrough. They hit on the big
innovation or finally sign the
big customer they needed to
push them over the top. Their
success stories are every
where, including right here in
the pages of Smart Business.

It’s easy to get distracted from
your day-to-day duties wondering why it couldn’t be your company that hits it big. But like the
old saying goes, slow and
steady wins the race. A modest
increase every year strung
together over many years adds
up to a lot of growth. It might
not be flashy or exciting, but it
gets the job done. But don’t
take my word for it; take it
from Warren Buffett, the
world’s richest man.

Buffett is the chairman and
CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, a
world-renowned holding company. Take a look at the types
of companies Buffett has
invested in. There’s underwear, bricks, furniture, paint
and insurance companies,
among others. These aren’t
exactly items that generate a
lot of interest or ones that you
would expect to have some
giant innovative breakthrough
that will double its growth.
Underwear may not be exciting, but people need it and
buy it, so Buffett makes
money on it.

If you are running an underwear company, there’s probably not going to be some
great innovation that’s going
to make you the darling of
Wall Street. You just have to
plug away, day after day, and
add up your incremental
gains. Buffett has built his
fortune investing in these
types of consistent, if not
flashy, companies.

If he sees the value in consistent performers, then so
should you. You have to just
keep persevering and never
lose faith that it will all work
out in the end. When things
get tough, you have to get
tougher.

Never give up. The big
breakthrough may never
come, but it all adds up in the
end. Remember the guy who
had to make the doughnuts
day after day? Slow and
steady growth has led Dunkin’
Donuts to be one of the
hottest brands in the quick-service restaurant segment.
Coffee and doughnuts may not
be exciting, but by being the
best at both year after year,
the company posted $5 billion
in revenue last year.

So the next time you buy a
doughnut on the way to work,
remember that Dunkin’ was
built one doughnut at a time,
and you can use that same
formula to build your business, as well.

FRED KOURY is president and CEO of Smart Business Network Inc. Reach him with your
comments at (800) 988-4726 or [email protected].

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