The Servant Entrepreneur

What would you do if you were visiting in another city, fell and broke your front teeth? And what if it happened in the evening and on a weekend? Well of course you would try and find a dentist. Unfortunately, though, it is not that easy.

A friend of ours related the story of her friend who encountered this very calamity. She was carrying a platter of meat at dinner time from the common outdoor grill in the condo where she was staying, tripped on a step and did a face plant. In the process she broke her top teeth and actually pushed one of them back at a 45-degree angle. Needless to say, she was in a lot of pain. A dentist lived in the condo building but was not home, so she began calling dental offices in the city. She contacted approximately 30 practices – presumably, it was an answering service in each case. Only one dentist called her back.

He was a young man and told her to meet him at his office at 8:30 that evening. When she arrived, he opened the office and proceeded to make the necessary dental repairs. She thanked him profusely and his reply was the clincher. “I only hope that if my wife was ever in another city and had this happen, that someone would help her.” I have no idea whether the other 29 dentists even were notified by their answering services, so I am hesitant to make any judgments here. Suffice it to say that she only needed one dentist to respond, and one did.

This dentist clearly displayed an attitude of service. While it may seem like a rather obvious thing, our perception of medical service providers as compassionate and caring is not always accurate. This can be said about most professions and industries. Too often in too many fields, practitioners are focused less on their customers and more on other objectives. Does this person have insurance? Will this person become a repeat customer? I am busy. Someone else will handle this. I just finished a 12-hour day and I am too tired. Get the picture?

At what point do we put the needs of the customer ahead of our own? Do we do this only when it is immediately profitable to do so? A lot of businesses apparently have adopted this philosophy. Or, do we believe in serving every customer, client, patient, etc. as we would want to be served? This is a very uncomplicated subject. We either serve or we do not. It is totally our choice. But there is a natural law at work here. For when we do good for others, good comes back to us in greater and greater abundance.

As entrepreneurs the rewards are enormous for putting the needs of others ahead of our own. When service comes first the profits will be bigger than we ever could expect.

This blog is being written in tandem with my book, “An Entrepreneur’s Words to Live By,” available on in paperback and Kindle (My Book), as well as being available in all of the other major eBook formats.

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