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Steve has learned from 40 years of business experience that God's way works. As an author, speaker, radio host, and business consultant...

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Steve Marr Blog

Steve Marr's contributions
Feb 21

Teaching Staff the Cost of Mistakes

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When I started out in an office job, I had the responsibility to input customer information to be processed by a computer. My number of processed transactions was quite high. However, my error rate was also high. One day my supervisor showed me how every error had to be manually retyped. In those days it created quite a bit of additional work for colleagues. Seeing the reality of the extra work and the consequences of my mistakes made a lasting impression.  I began to focus more effectively and slowed down my speed to eliminate errors.

Feb 18

Free Estimates?

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Many businesses struggle with the idea of offering free estimates. However, since businesses have different business models; the wisdom of offering free estimates versus paid estimates will differ.

I checked prices with local carpet cleaners.  One had a flat price of $129 for any three rooms. Another posted a price list of any three rooms for $119 but specified that each room must be under 250 square feet.  The same site posted pricing for halls, steps, walk-in closets, moving furniture, etc.  Both sites were designed to avoid sending someone out for an estimate. The flat price company might lose money, but an occasional loss is less than the $40 cost the business assumes with each free estimate. Plus, the estimator makes no money for the company while making the estimate. 

Large commercial properties need to be treated differently. Most carpet cleaners I know don’t make use of estimates.  They simply quote a flat price.  Their experience gives them confidence that the flat rate price will be correct. Then, when a customer calls; the carpet cleaner has an opportunity to close a sale.  If time slips by after the phone call, the deal may expire.  It is much better to set an appointment and send the cleaning crew than set an appointment and hope that an estimate brings a sale.

Feb 14

Key Habits for Success

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Several years ago, a newsletter called Early to Rise summarized six key habits for success in the business world:

  • Showing up on time
  • Paying close attention to assignments
  • Doing more than the required minimum
  • Struggling with difficult tasks
  • Organizing tasks by priorities


These habits are equally necessary today.  Customers and businesses need reliable workers who will be available at the agreed time. Here are my experiences with some of these key habits.

Feb 11

Director of First Impressions

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I walked into the office of a business and the receptionist had a sign on her desk, “Director of First Impressions.”  I’ve seen the term before but seeing it in on a receptionist’s desk made me think about its appropriateness.  It was the receptionist who greeted people in person and represented the business when someone called in.  It struck home the point that receptionist “Mary” understood that her business expected her to leave a lasting impression on each person who contacted the business.

Every time a prospective customer contacts us by phone, email or by walking through a door; they receive a first impression of our organization. We have the responsibility to ensure that the impression is positive and helpful. I have had some business encounters where my first impression was so negative, I never proceeded forward except to end a phone call or step out of the business.

When my phone rings, I may be focused on something or having a difficult day. However, I understand that the person calling will receive a first impression of me and the business. My responsibility is to ensure their first impression is positive, regardless of the circumstances I face.  

Feb 07

The Good Old Days

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As I grow older, I reminisce about how times always seemed better in the past. King Solomon understood this issue when he wrote, “Don't long for ‘the good old days.’ This is not wise.” (Ecclesiastes 7:10, NLT)

However, consider that toilet paper wasn’t invented until 1857, relatively recent in the history of man.

Richard Russell compiled a list of basic living conditions in 1904, conditions familiar to my grandparents. When one longs for the good old days consider these facts: