If a man has ten coins, he says he isn’t rich.
If you give him one coin, he will still not be rich.
However, if he continues to add to his coin-pile, coin by coin, there will be a moment that he becomes rich.
And that moment is governed by the addition of one coin.
This little paradox is taken from the writings of Erasmus, and originally read as follows: “If ten coins are not enough to make a man rich, what if you add one coin? What if you add another? Finally, you will have to say that no one can be rich unless one coin can make him so.”
But one coin doesn’t give wealth in itself.
One vote doesn’t change a government.
One piece of cake won’t make you fat.
One smile, or a thank you, won’t make your shop renowned for its customer service.
You want your shop to succeed? You want customers spreading the word virally about your service? Remember that it’s a sum of many small things, done over and over again, that eventually change the outcome.
That’s why at every opportunity you must provide top level customer service. When you are in your store you have a decision to make with every customer interaction. So choose to smile, have genuine conversations, keep your building clean and tidy, hand out freebies, and say thank you. Choose to never give up on improvement.
Remember the coins, and remember that each of these little decisions, and the resultant actions, even though you might do it hundreds of times every day, is accruing into something so much more. The man whose pile of coins grows one by one eventually becomes wealthy, and your shop will eventually have a sparkling reputation.
If you come in one morning and your staff haven’t arrived, your customers are complaining, you find some items have been shoplifted and it’s raining, it can be a challenge to be pleasant. You still have your myriad opportunities to make small efforts towards your shop’s improvement. Make the decision that you will still put your customers first and your pile of coins will still grow one by one.
Don’t let the hundreds of small steps to success daunt you. Remember each step may be small, but each step counts. And there will come a day you add that one coin that makes all the difference.