The Rubik’s Cube
Many of us have tinkered with the popular toy called the Rubik’s Cube. Invented in 1974 by Hungarian sculptor Erno Rubik, it was licensed in 1980 and became the world’s bestselling toy, selling over 350 million units in subsequent years.
What's incredible about the Rubik’s Cube is that it has 43 quintillion possible combinations. The exact number on paper is 43,252,003,274,489,856,000 possibilities – wow that allot of possibilities! In fact, if you turn the Rubik’s Cube once every second, it will take you 1.4 trillion years to go thru all the permutations.
It's estimated that less than 5.8% of the world’s population can solve the Rubik’s Cube. Statistics show that 1 in 20 people who own a Rubik’s Cube can solve a Rubik’s Cube.
Back to my story
Recently I noticed my Sons Rubik’s Cube sitting on the shelf. The Cube was all mixed up and unsolved. Many times, in the past I would maybe give a Cube five minutes of my time before getting frustrated and giving up. This time was different; I found myself staring at it as if it were some futuristic device.
My nine-year-old son entered the room, so I asked him “how do I solve this thing”? He said he didn’t know, but that his ten-year-old buddy could solve it. Seconds later, my oldest son chimed in and said, “You need to know the algorithm to solve it.” Still Perplexed, I said what “algorithm”? He said, “ya, without the algorithm the Rubik’s Cube is impossible to solve.”
There things in life that I have not given much thought to – the Rubik’s Cube was one of them. But the idea that there was some algorithm to solve a Rubik’s Cube had me fascinated. After 35 years of tinkering, I made a personal goal to solve my first Rubik’s Cube. I started by looking into this “Algorithm” my son was describing. Within a few minutes of searching google, I found the algorithm to solve the Rubik’s Cube.
It was a sequence of steps that could be broken down into four main steps:
- Solve the white cross.
- Solve white corners.
- Solve middle layer.
- Solve yellow (opposing side).
The time I spent taking notes to understand the Rubik’s Cube paid off. Within an hour or so the Cube was solved. Then a realization came over me, by finally taking the time to understand this object fully, I became one of the 5.8% of the world population who has solved the Rubik’s Cube.
Here is the office Rubik’s Cube blog on how to solve your 3x3 Rubik’s Cube. Each stage must be 100 percent complete before moving to the next step, failure to do so may cost you 1.4 trillion years.
So How does all this Rubik's stuff apply to Business?
Like the Rubik’s Cube, a business can seem a bit like trial and error. However, if you take the time to truly understand your business and understand how your customers feel about your service, then your business will thrive.
The Wrong Algorithm - How NOT to run a business
Before we delve into the wrong way of doing business (wrong algorithm), lets looks at a few statistics.
Courtesy of HelpScout.net, look below for a full list....
- 78% of consumers have bailed on a transaction or not made an intended purchase because of a poor service experience source helpScout.net
- A typical business only hears from 4% of its dissatisfied customers.
- It takes 12 positive experiences to make up for one unresolved negative experience.
- 80% of companies say they deliver superior service. However, only 8% of people think these same companies deliver superior customer service.
I recently witnessed an argument that occurred on Facebook between a business owner and customer over wet ‘firewood’ he sold a customer. This business owner, a tree service, delivered firewood to the customer. The customer who was not happy because the wood was not seasoned and was still wet said that she called their office multiple times to resolve the issue. After some time, the angry customer reverted to Facebook to call the business owner out. The owner, who is also on Facebook got into a lengthy altercation with the customer. My wife and I are watching this conversation in awe as others began to chime in. Ultimately, the customer posted a phone log showing the times she had called the business and spoke with someone – Ouch!
I asked my wife; how do you think this customer and the 50 other followers felt about this business owner? They probably think he is a real /AH!, and will not be doing business with this guy ever again.
The Correct Algorithm - How to run a great business
Like the Rubik’s Cube, there are proper ways to conduct a successful business. Below are a couple of suggestions on how to maintain excellent customer success.
First - Do what you say and say what you do
Successful business owners often use the “do what you say and say what you do” approach. When a business “does what they say” customers are delighted and tell others about their great experience.
Second - Always treat customers with respect
Treating customers with dignity and respect is extremely important, it builds trust and bonds that can grow over time. Creating a simple dialog with a new customer, or an ongoing conversation with existing customers is the cohesion on which relationships are built. Remember, happy customers leave great reviews, and unhappy customers keep leaving ‘bad’ reviews…
Third - Build a great culture
If you research successful businesses, you’ll find that they all have one thing in common – a great culture. So, what is a great culture? Culture is hiring people that have excellent work values and all work towards a common goal. Having people who are like-minded and work well together. The basic idea is that if you hire good, honest and hardworking people your business will operate smoothly.
Finally – Management and Accountability
Let’s face it. A company cannot exist without some form of management or oversight. Management is the glue that holds together an operation. While management has many duties, it can be broken down into four primary levels: Deliverables (products), Customers, Employees and Business Oversight.
- Deliverables – We mentioned in the first algorithm to “do what you say and say what you do”. This basic concept is the building block for happy customers. If you are telling everyone that offer the best product or service, then make sure you deliver on that promise.
- Customers – Always give customers quality, treat them with respect and do as you promise. If follow thru on your promises, your customers will be your biggest advocate, and they will tell others about the great job you did.
- Employees – Hire the best people and treat them like family. Make sure they will fit your company culture. Allow each person to grow, and everyone will benefit.
- Business Oversight – This includes hiring the right people, tracking sales and expenses, employee hours and payroll. Doing an excellent job of managing receivables and controlling costs will allow your company will remain in the positive and grow.
Running a business requires patience and common sense. The four steps listed above are a common-sense approach to good business. If you delivered quality, treat others with respect and manage your business correctly, customers will come your way.
As of this writing, it has been three months since solving my first Rubik's Cube. After taking the time to understand how the Rubik's Cube works, I can now solve it in about 10 minutes. Not too bad for not being a 10 year old!