Monday, December 30, 2013

Lessons Learned in a Fictional Laboratory

I'm a second generation small business owner.  My father owned a cleaning business back in Maine.  One of the things he taught me was professional pride is a healthy thing and that if someone doesn't take pride in their work, its quality will suffer.

My previous job as a house painter here in Florida a few years ago helped drive this lesson home for me.  The owners of the company weren't afraid to absorb cost if it meant that it would save their company reputation or add to it in some way.  They say that they lived by an old Hebrew proverb, and I believe them. 

"A good name is better than good oil."

I finally learned this lesson first-hand with my own business.  And especially in the laboratory set I recently built for Nem Gate. Lesson learned: Don't be afraid to absorb cost for a customer if it means getting the job done to your satisfaction.

As it was, the client did not indicate he was happy with the completed set, but was unable to spend any more time or money on getting it to spec.  This left me with a conundrum: do I want to go the business-first route and put out a product neither the customer or I was happy with, and potentially could lead to embarrassment if it was released to the public? Or do I go the artist-integrity route and absorb a chunk of money and make sure the final product is up to snuff?

I chose the artistic-integrity route, I guess.  I can only hope it pays off in the end.  If not, I will have to be content with the fact that the client was happy, and I'm more satisfied with the results, though there's always room for improvement.

Make the day of death better than the day of birth.  When you're dead, you can't enjoy the money.  But if you leave a good reputation and people speak and think well of you after you're gone, well, then I guess it's all well and good.  I'm never completely satisfied with any of my work, anyway.


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