Business Lessons from Paris – France
The Amazing Eiffel Tower
Α Couple of years ago my family and I went for a trip to France. The moment we landed you have realized that France is the world’s number one destination for international tourism. In 2018 more than 90 million people visited the country throughout the year. When you are in Paris it is so easy to understand this because there is a waiting line in almost everywhere. There are waiting lines outside the restaurants, there are waiting lines to enter the cathedrals and there are waiting lines even to ice-cream kiosks. Paris is a wonderful and a romantic place to be and there are numerous places to visit, see and enjoy.
The number one attraction of Paris is of course is the Eiffel Tower. Still standing tall and strong the Eiffel tower was named after the engineer Gustave Eiffel whose company designed and built. It was constructed from 1887 until 1889 as the entrance of the International Fair of 1889. They wanted to brand the fair and create something unique that would draw tourists and then giving them something to talk about, thus more tourist would come.
That’s why, Seeing it from close made us feel awe and astonishment. Did you know that the line to get up one the “iron lady”, one of the many nick names they gave to the tower, stretches for hundreds of meters? It was late in the afternoon, and we heard that the tower was going to be illuminated with hundreds of little lights. So we lied down on the park, almost next to the tower, so that we could watch the event. As I was lying down, I found it a pretty good idea to search, using my smart-phone about the history of the tower. To cut a long story short, to my surprise, I found that the tower was “initially criticized by some of the France’s leading artists and intellectuals for its design.” Say what? Who on earth could criticized such an astonishing creation? They even said that the tower was an abomination and a disgrace that would cause France a bad reputation. Well, it turns out to be the most visited paid monument in the world.
Ignore The Critics
No matter what the critics and “experts” say, if you do create a product or service that is worthy it will always win in the long run. Don’t get me wrong. Constructive criticism is good. Negative criticism is what business people should be aware of. Someone could ask “What is the difference between positive and negative criticism?” Well, the difference is that in positive criticism you will also get a proposal on how to improve it. On the other hand, the negative critics will only focus on what is wrong, the aspects of what they don’t like, yet, without suggesting or recommending anything that would make your service better. That is why we should ignore the critics and the haters and we should not let them slow us down. In the long run, great products and great services will turn the sceptics into followers and the followers into buyers. So, ignore the critics and stay on your track to an amazing destiny.
Brand Like The Eiffel Tower
My second business lessons is that always try to brand whatever you are doing. Brand your services, brand your products and even brand your offices so that people will feel proud and want to share their experience with your company and what you offer.
The Belgians for example, did the same when they built “The Atomium” for the international fair in Brussels back in 1958.
An even more recent example is Google, where people want to visit the actual Google offices and take pictures so that they can proudly say that they have been to Google offices! Can you image what type of exposure will give to your company if people want to take pictures of your offices and then share them around in their social media accounts? Therefore, branding is extremely important and every respectful entrepreneur should pay close attention when it comes to it. Brand like they branded the Eiffel Tower.
Rebrand Yourself and Your Business Every Seven Years
Another thing you should bear in mind, it is the fact that. The tower itself is made of iron, not steel, and therefore the tower is needed to be repainted every seven years. Occasionally, the paint is changed from shades of yellow to shades of brown, which, by the way, is the present colour. In other words, the lower part of the tower is usually is painted darker than the higher parts in a way to give the whole structure a somehow visual impression of uniformity. Furthermore, the tower was used as a titanic billboard featuring Citroen’s logo. The business tip here is that rebranding is crucial, especially if you wish to remain in the leading field and avoid the so called brand erosion. People needs and desires are changing through time hence the brand should get a “refreshing paint.” The rebranding could be done with the improvements of your products, services, advertisements and logo. Apple, for instance, has done it changing the logo from a colourful apple to a single silver apple. Adidas, Nike and even Coca Cola have done it throughout the years. Stay current, stay relevant by rebranding yourself every seven years.
Bonus Tip: What I Learn From the Streets of Paris
As we were leaving from the Eiffel tower driving back to our hotel, I realized that Paris has the most complicated road network. It has tiny streets, gigantic streets, boulevards and everything is interweaved together. Even with the use of my GPS application I got confused from time to time, as there is a huge possibility to find yourself facing the dilemma which of the three right turns to take. Even though I have travelled to numerous European countries, I still find that Paris has the most complicated road network. So again, I did my research and I found that all this street mess is due to the fact that Paris was one of the few cities that was not bombed by the Germans during the World War II. Consequently all the little streets of Paris before the war are still there, entangled with the brand new and huge big boulevards. The same mess I see in several companies that I have consulted.
Often, when a company is small everyone does his job the way best suits him. Which is fine if you are the only one doing the job. However, as the time goes by and the company grows and more and more people have to do the same job, not having a unique process could lead to a big mess. That is why it is absolutely necessary for companies to have their processes written and to make sure that everyone follows them. Employees could recommend improvements of the processes but only when the management approves them and documents them in the operational manual everyone should follow them.
All things considered, I feel that whenever a process changes, it simply means that it changes for everyone. Even if that means that it will take time for some people to readjust their working patterns. So, make sure to have processes and that everyone follows, even if they don’t feel like doing them.