Monday, June 7, 2010

Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion and Purpose

Is the title of Zappos CEO, Tony Hsieh's book out today.

You have to admire the entrepreneur mind of Hsieh who at a young age was making money from his business ventures. Barely out of Harvard and at his first job, Hsieh is bored working for someone else. So he quits and not long after he would sell his company, LinkExchange,to Yahoo for $265 million dollars.

So what does a guy in his mid twenties with a pocket full of cash do? Whatever he wants! He dabbles in day trading, invests in a movie and sets up a company to provide financing to start up companies. He soon finds himself spending more time with one of those investment companies, Zappos, an online company that sells shoes. Not the greatest model for a business. People need to try shoes on!

And the early years are tough on Zappos and Hsieh finds his nest egg quickly dwindling and Zappos needs a cash infusion. So Hsieh sells his condo at a loss to keep Zappos going. Blind faith perhaps.

Zappos is an unorthodox company. Where else do they offer new hires a $2000 bonus to quit if they haven't bought into the Zappos culture. Hsieh put company culture above all else. He invested in the personal development of his employees and gave his customer service reps more freedom than at a typical call center.

As Hseih puts it, "they are not in the shoe and accessory business, they are in the customer service business". And better service would translate into lots of repeat customers, which would mean low marketing expenses, long-term profits, and fast growth.

The proof is in the pudding. Zappos was sold to Amazon this year for a billion dollars.

And when you read the 10 core values that make up the Zappos culture, you know they practice what they preach.

1. Deliver WOW through service
2. Embrace and drive change
3. Create Fun and a little weirdness
4. Be adventurous, creative and open-minded
5. Pursue growth and learning
6. Build open and honest relationships with communication
7. Build a positive team and family spirit
8. Be more with less
9. Be passionate and determined
10. Be humble

What would your business look like if you embraced those 10 principals? Click here to learn more about Delivering Happiness.

Tony Mariani

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