Pressing On: MVP Lessons from Confucius?

In early February, I paid a visit to one of my favorite Chinese restaurants, Lin’s Mandarin in the pseudo-suburb of Norridge, IL, on Chicago’s far northwest side—but I didn’t pay much. The occasion was Chinese New Year, and it was bitter cold outside, of course, but Lin’s hot tea and hot-n-sour soup always warms the cockles of my heart. The food is really good, albeit not spectacular. What keeps me coming back, though, is the tremendous value.

You can get that tea and soup, along with an egg roll and a full entrée for around seven bucks. Heck, it’s tough to get a cheeseburger, french fries, and a Coke at McDonald’s for $7.00 these days. I know, I didn’t account for the tip, but the service at Lin’s is so friendly that it’s worth a buck fifty or more, despite the language barrier. I figure Lin’s owner probably was born in 1975 or 1987, the Year of the Rabbit, because people born then are supposedly clever at business and being conscientious.

Situated about five miles north is another sit-down place, part of a small restaurant chain, that serves a kick-butt, pulled-pork BBQ sandwich. It’s REALLY good—but so over-priced that I haven’t been back since. Frankly, I probably won’t go back anytime soon: There’s no sense of loyalty there. Most of the blue-collar Chicago cops and firemen who live near Norridge stick with the Far East treatment at Lin’s, which I myself frequent, on average, about once a month.

 

Don’t Be the “Cheap” Printer

Now, I know what some of you may be thinking, so let me set the record straight: I’m not cheap or really even frugal. And I’m not suggesting that you want a reputation as the “cheap” printer. After all, being known as the cheap anything carries negative connotations. (Would you go to the “cheap lawyer?”)

In this sometimes complex business of putting ink or toner on paper, printers dislike it when vendors don’t stand behind their products and services. Why would your customers feel any differently? Give them reasons to be loyal, and maybe they’ll keep coming back for your print version of tasty hot–n-sour soup, not pricey pulled pork. In this issue of Printing News, prepress/workflow consultant Hal Hinderliter looks at how short-run digital color presses have taken center stage (p. 8), and contributor Christopher Brinkerhoff delves into some nuances of capital-equipment financing in today’s touchy economy (p. 10). In an online exclusive, we also profile Priority Envelope, a trade provider that knows a thing or two about customer service (www.MyPrintResource.com).

The sports fanatic in me received a rare birthday present last month as Chicago’s native, humble superstar Derrick Rose, became the youngest player, at 22, to accept pro basketball’s Most Valuable Player (MVP) award. Rose appears to be as fast as a rabbit, even though he was born in 1988, the Year of the Dragon. As he and the Bulls vie for the franchise’s lucky 7th championship, ask yourself this: Do you have the business acumen of a Chinese “Rabbit?” What do you need to do better to be a business champion, to be the “Most Valuable Printer” for your customers? And what kind of value does your service menu feature?

That reminds me: It’s Kung Pao Scallops tonight!

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