That’s from one of the most successful business leaders in America, the amazing Truett Cathy, founder and chairman of Atlanta-based Chick-fil-A. Now 90, Cathy put his business creed into a book with the above title years ago.
“Easier to succeed than to fail?” How many people believe this? It’s an idea that provides food for thought as we start writing a new page in life with the New Year.
First, Cathy knows what he’s talking about. He has proved it by what he’s done – starting with one tiny restaurant strategically located a short distance from the now extinct Ford plant in Hapeville south of Atlanta. He led the growth of that one restaurant into a household name — Chick-fil-A — the nation’s second largest fast-food chicken chain with annual sales exceeding $3.5 billion. He did this while closing every store every Sunday because of his religious convictions.
So why is success easier than failure? Cathy’s explanation makes a lot of sense:
“Failure exacts a high price in terms of time when you have to do a job over.
“Success eliminates the agony and frustration of defeat.
“Money spent to fail must be spent again to succeed.
“A person’s credibility decreases with each failure, making it harder to succeed the second time.
“Joy and expressions of affirmation come from succeeding, whereas feelings of discouragement and discontent accompany failure.”
Entrepreneur Cathy gives “three keys to success that work for all people under every circumstance.
1. “You have to want to succeed. You have to be willing to make a generous commitment of time and energy.
2. “You have to develop know-how.” This includes studying your market, developing skills, and preparing through formal education.
3. “Finally, you have to do it. ... You can’t succeed if you don’t start.”
There’s another Cathy rule: “Never lose a customer.” Whether delivering newspapers as a boy or running his restaurants later, Cathy said, “I have found that the most effective way of promoting my business didn’t cost me anything but a little kindness to my customers.”
These also are timeless principles Cathy has followed to success:
“It is when we stop doing our best work that our enthusiasm for the job wanes. We must motivate ourselves to do our very best, and by our example lead others to do their best as well.
“You have to be very careful about what you say. More importantly, you have to be very careful about what you do. You never know how or when you influence people — especially children.
“I believe no amount of business school training or work experience can teach what is ultimately a matter of personal character. Businesses are not dishonest or greedy, people are. Thus, a business, successful or not, is merely a reflection of the character of its leadership.
“No goal is too high if we climb with care and confidence.”
Amen. Truett Cathy’s rules are keys to a successful year in 2012 and beyond.