Dr. Shahzad Khan, director at healthwithcare.ca and BECC Construction Group Ltd's Zulq Malik at Khan's new medical service facility in Markham, Ontario.
Yesterday, I soared among eagles. The exhilaration of sharing hours with bright people who know what they are doing, and conduct their business with down-to-earth integrity, is something to savor -- and repeat wherever possible. With my southern Ontario representative Chase, along with Zluq Malik, president of BECC Construction Group Ltd., Dr. Sharhzad Khan, at healthwithcare.ca (Blu Skye), and Michael Porter and Fred Thoms at Porter Airlines, I learned about the airline business, innovative and entrepreneurial medical practice (which complies with Canada's public health insurance system), integrity, and competence.
Their best stories unfortunately I cannot share publicly -- they related to the interfaces between the competent and less-than-competent, and the resulting consequences: Delays, bad will, litigation, and waste.
In spontaneous conversations, we explored the difference between entrepreneurs who build their businesses with integrity and a long range vision, against the scammers who live for the moment, and seek to screw every cent they can out of the other guys. Our conclusion, business people who 'get it' can sniff out the crooks and phonies pretty quickly; we get burned from time to time, but ultimately clients, suppliers, and peers want to keep doing business with us. Success, we realize, is not all about material trappings -- expensive cars, over sized homes, luxury vacations; 'stuff' does not make the world meaningful -- we can look at the tragedies of people with poor health, failed relationships, and poverty of spirit to see they are not the stories we wish to experience.
(It is a little frustrating that I cannot share the best stories here; the ground-rules in writing these advertising features is the clients must review and approve copy before publication, and in exchange they speak with me freely and without inhibition. And I have enough common sense to respect their confidences.)
What does this have to do with marketing? Everything -- because, as I seek to impress here -- marketing is all about the stuff behind the scenes as much as it is the businesses public presentation. Sure, BECC's Zulq Malik is unabashed in asking his subs and suppliers to help contribute to the costs of the marketing piece we are writing -- but he relates to them with respect, on an equal footing, and seeks to ensure they do well in their business (and since Zulq's business is growing, it makes real sense for the sub to support his marketing process.)
And when I told Michael Deluce about an irritating (but for most people, invisible) flaw in Porter's reservation computer system, he didn't brush the matter off -- he determined to find out and fix the problem.
In the end, you can gloss over the real situation, and try to paper over your image with a public persona -- and you might even get away with it. But if your business heart and soul is founded on innovation, integrity and intelligence, great marketing will propel you forward to higher levels -- and not cost you much money at all.