retail news in context, analysis with attitude

by Michael Sansolo

Frankly I don’t understand the current obsession with zombies. It’s as if we didn’t have enough real things to worry about that we need a non-stop fascination with the dead rising up to eat the living.

And while that scenario in itself would seem to present great material for a column on cross merchandising in the food industry, it’s not at all the lesson I want to highlight today. Instead I want to look at the joys of living.

Among zombie movies the only two I really enjoy watching at all (no less in re-runs) are Shaun of the Dead and Zombieland. The former is too quirky and silly to be described and the latter has everything I want in a movie—surprising humor, a dose of lessons and simple rules, in this case, for survival.

In other words it sounds like just a summary of the books Kevin and I have written: movies and rules.

Zombieland’s 32nd rule is the best: Enjoy the little things. It’s a simple message, but one that contains the lesson we should value each and every day.

During this past weekend I attended two small celebrations that got me thinking of the little things. One was a memorial service to former colleague, Glenn Snyder, and the second was a gathering of friends to salute the Content Guy’s 60th birthday. (Kevin’s actual birthday is today. I'd just like to point out that I'm substantially younger than he is. Eleven months. Which, in my mind, is substantial.)

But here’s the thing. As I reflected on both events I realized what I cherish about these two friends has nothing to do with writing skills. Rather it’s that Glenn usually made me laugh and Kevin promises to do the same for years to come.

So why does that matter to you and your business? It’s simple: we all enjoy the little things and that goes for our customers, associates, families and, well, everybody.

Great businesses are those that find a way to please us with those little things. It’s why the little bit of extra customer service always makes us pause. Likewise, it could be the special price break, getting a good spot in the parking lot or simply anything that makes our day a little brighter.

Similarly, little things like recognition can go a long way with associates. It’s the little things always.

We need remember it for the most lasting of reasons because when we make other people feel better we actually feel good ourselves and, go figure, we grow business at the same time.

When I wrote my new book, "Business Rules!," I had no trouble deciding which rule would go in the introduction. No one would ever consider me religious, but I opted for the Golden Rule because how we treat others, how we make their days easier or special, will always come back around.

So take a pause today and think about what you’d want people saying at your memorial service or birthday party in years to come. I’m betting if you find a way to honor Zombieland's 32nd rule - enjoy the little things - you’ll be much happier with what people have to say.

And you’ll enjoy the journey a whole lot more…unless you run into a zombie.

Michael Sansolo can be reached via email at . His book, “THE BIG PICTURE: Essential Business Lessons From The Movies,” co-authored with Kevin Coupe, is available on Amazon by clicking here. And, his book "Business Rules!" is available from Amazon by clicking here.
KC's View: