We Suck Less

Currently I am a Business Broker in Florida working with business owners in the process of buying and selling businesses.  Back in 1985 I was working for (a Texas based Technology company ). We were bidding on a very large multi-million dollar computer based project for the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD). Part of the bidding process involved all us potential vendors travelling via buses throughout the Los Angeles area viewing a dozen of the 700+ schools that would potentially buy and use our systems.

The Importance Of Smart Marketing

While driving thru the various areas of LA I had seen white billboards with 3 words on them WE SUCK LESS. I saw this billboard in several different parts of the city. After repeatedly seeing that same sign in the various communities, I asked a local contact regarding the purpose of that billboard, or rather what it meant. I was told that it was a marketing campaign of a local radio station. The premise was – We’re not the best, We’re not number one, We’re not perfect, But We Suck Less than our competitors, and therefore customers/listeners should tend our way. “Were not perfect, we may not be very good, but we suck less than your other options”…

We Suck Less

As we continued the 2 day journey throughout the city, that concept really struck a nerve. It really wasn’t a premise or concept that was even remotely familiar to me. This approach, while just in jest… I think, just hit me as so unusual, that I found myself sharing this story many times over the last 25+ years. Ironically I have also crossed paths with various businesses and business situations over the years that prompted me to recall this ” business concept”.

Is this concept completely hypothetical, or does it truly exist? Has anyone else seen this in action in certain business environments? As a business broker I get to see the inner workings of many companies and mostly I witness hard working well meaning business owners.  But, is it possible that this could be an approach of a business, or just the result of many years of apathy, poor management, or some other larger problem?

Set The Bar High

I really really think we all our wired to “set the bar very high”, we strive to be very good, we want to be the best, some seek perfection even knowing its not possible but keeping it as a goal nonetheless. But to non- chalantly say, “I just have to suck less than the next guy” and as a result of that approach my business will advance to me is somewhat mind numbing.

I recognize faults and imperfections occur in my own business practices. I’ve always felt that it is important that I remain my own toughest critic. As a business broker that helps business owners sell businesses and individuals buy businesses communication is very important. Promptly returning emails and phone calls to me is an essential, and is just mandated.

Treating business relationships with respect, honesty and effort is important to me. Is it easy for someone to fall into the trap that since my colleagues/competitors don’t return emails/phones calls for 4-5 days or never then, if I wait 2-3 days to return a call or email, that makes me better than my competitors. Is this possibly the mindset of some in business? Can one be satisfied with the approach of just not being as bad as the others?- I don’t know. As a business broker and professional, I do know I may see this play out in other businesses, but certainly not mine.

But I do know Striving to “Suck Less”, to me just sucks. I really don’t know if it is a conscious business concept by some, but I do believe I have seen some resemblance of this approach. I also know that I find myself 25 years later sharing this story again.

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About Scott

Scott M. Messinger is a former and current business owner that has directly purchased multiple businesses to support organic growth. Former owner of successful production/manufacturing/distribution business of 20 years that was successfully sold and transitioned. Member of Gateway Business Advisors with offices in Jacksonville Fl, Anderson SC,and member of the Business Broker of Florida Assn. Business interest includes the fields of management,water, energy savings, marketing. For a FREE current listing of Businesses FOR sale see: www.sellabusinessflorida.com

4 Responses to We Suck Less

  1. Lucy says:

    I do not believe that you have to suck less than the other person in order to succeed. Just appeal to what people want. They want small business that are “going green”. So Go Green. If you choose to go green, which would be a beneficial decision, I would look into getting a green business certification. This proves that you have been through a process of steps and inspections and are in fact Green. This will draw a lot of traffic your way and is appealing to the public. Visit http://www.gbb.org. The Green Business Bureau will set you up to succeed.

  2. Lucy- I also believe “Suck Less” is not the path to success. Setting the bar high comes naturally for most- and I personally have pretty high standards for my efforts. I majored in Energy Management and got my degree back in 1983- and also believe education in the “green industry” can be of benefit to some. My”green interest” is and has always been is in the financial benefits of energy savings

  3. Lucy says:

    Thanks for the clarification Scott, and impressive credentials. I really did appreciate your post and your different views.

  4. Lucy- thanks again for reading and commenting. I did write a piece on the green industry a little back and attaching the link if you had interest. I know I will own a green related business in the future- the right business for me is the question. regards Scott


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