Monday, August 21, 2006

Review: Copy This!

I just finished listening to Copy This! the story of Kinkos, by its founder Paul Orfalea and Ann Marsh.

In many ways Copy This! is your typical business biography: the unlikely hero manages to pull off a business of unimaginable success and spends a good deal of the book educating you on his philosphies and other keys to Making It Big.

There were a few aspects of Paul's story that I found really interesting.

First, he succeeded in business despite, and perhaps because of, a severe learing disability. Being a fellow dyslexic (though I theoretically have grown out of this odd disease), I can imagine how hard it was to not be a star in school. But rather than simply stand by and accept what everyone thought he had coming to him, he turned himself into the person he wanted to be. On one level, it's a very inspiring story.

Second, he reminded me that the business you are in may not always be obvious. One would think that Kinkos was about copies, or technology or even about convenience. Nope. Kinkos was about helping people during their most stressful times - whether it's an exasperated professor, a newly laid off worker or even a kid who's lost his dog. It wasn't about the copies. It was about delivering a service to people who desperately needed it.

Third, don't be afraid to try the unexpected. What happens if you had a closed office door policy at work instead of an open door one? What if you took 3 weeks of vacation a year no matter how busy the schedule was? What if you didn't answer your own e-mail, letters or calls, but had someone do it for you? These, and many other concepts are all things that Paul makes clear contributed to his success.

Are they all worth doing? Probably not, but the thought exercise alone in thinking them through make them worth considering.

Fourth, I learned an interesting tidbit about making your business available. You know how Kinkos is open 24hrs (or used to be)? They did this not to make extra money at night, but because of the credibility the 24hrs claim gave them that it actually increased daytime traffice significantly. Interesting, eh?

This was hardly the best business book I've read. But, as an easy listen, and one that was thought provoking, I'd give it a 7.35/10.

Oh, and feel free to copy this post, it's all about servicing my readers.


No comments:

Post a Comment