"You want to hear a story?" said my friend Scott, quickly adding, "I'm going to tell you a story I just heard from a guy I really respect. The guy is Clive Meanwell, CEO of The Medicines Company, they've got a market cap valuation of $1.66 billion and $687.9 million in revenue in 2013, and he's a phD and a really nice guy. The story is supposed to tell you everything you need to know about business."

Scott is Scott Liebman, Head of Loeb's FDA Regulatory and Compliance Practice, and he's no dummy either, so I listen.

It begins. A businessman goes to a diner for breakfast. He orders eggs and coffee. It's great. The following morning, the businessman returns, again, he orders eggs and coffee. Third day running, he goes back to the same diner. Again, he orders eggs and coffee. Again, it's great. He sees the waitress, who it turns out, is also the owner. He compliments her on the eggs.

"Thank you very much," she says. "I actually keep a chicken coop out back. I bring in fresh eggs every morning. You can't get eggs that are fresher than that."

"Wow! That's great. And the coffee--it's delicious," he says.

"I'm glad you like it," she says. "My great grandfather brought that coffee machine over from Italy with him. He taught my grandfather how to use it and he taught my father and my father taught me. It's a real pain in the butt, but I think it makes very good coffee and people seem to like it."

She notices the businessman's tie and compliments him on it.

"It's Hermes. I'm a real Francophile. Paris is my favorite city," he says. "If you want, I can add some French herbs to your eggs. You'll think you're there," she tells him. The businessman quickly agrees.

Close readers may be able to identify four pillars of success in this story.

  1. Quality Product - The foundation of any business is what they're providing to the customer.
  2. Consistency - All day, everyday. McDonald's hamburgers are never a surprise.
  3. Transparency - Let your customers know what goes into providing them with that quality product or service.
  4. Alignment of Interests - Demonstrate that you understand their goals and tell them how you can help.

Published on: Sep 9, 2014