What I’ve Learned: John Maneri

What I’ve Learned: John Maneri

Posted 7/22/2015


President/CEO, Maneri~Agraz Enterprises, Ltd.

My Dad was a tavern owner who worked 364 days a year; he demonstrated a work ethic that I have attempted to mimic throughout my career. His motto was a simple one— ‘What you put in is what you get out.’ No truer words have been spoken.

A favorite quote of mine from the TV series Friday Night Lights—‘Clear Eyes, Full Hearts, Can’t Lose.’ It was the highly successful high school football team’s mantra. My interpretation is that if you have a clear vision of what your goals are, and you give it all the effort you can possibly give it, then you have already won.

Mentors are invaluable – find one or two. They can guide you when you are unsure or confused, and assure you when you feel defeated. They can fill in the gaps when striving toward your goals.

If you simply do what you say you are going to do, your customers will be thrilled and begging for more. It’s amazing how few companies practice this simple yet very effective principle. It will differentiate you from your competition and forge long lasting relationships.

Lead by example. Never ask an employee to do something that you have not done. Get out in the field and in the trenches as much as possible.

Always make your customers happy. Spend whatever it takes to satisfy them and it will come back to you threefold. Don’t be cheap. The little extras that you can provide a customer at no cost are better than any advertising or marketing dollars you will ever spend.

Treat your employees fairly and honestly, and they will reward you with loyalty and longevity.

Change is inevitable, so embrace it. Don’t let your offering or processes get stagnant. Make it a point to optimize processes and stay current with the market.

Stop talking and listen to your customers. If you do, they will tell you how to win. Educate them—don’t sell them. They are looking for partners not vendors, so listen closely and give them that value that they are asking for. Strive to be a strategic partner as opposed to a commodity-type vendor.

Surround yourself with exceptional partners that share your culture, ethics and integrity. Your partners are an extension of you, so choose them wisely as they can impact your relationship with your customers.

Make it easy to do business with your firm. Customers love that.

Everything is negotiable.

Crisis management will eventually define you. It’s easy to manage a business when all is going smoothly, but businesses are suddenly defined when faced with a crisis. Attack it head on, do the right thing, no matter the cost.

This is the most amazing little secret to achieving a goal that I can share, yet it’s so simple that most people blow it off—write it down. Read it daily, weekly or even monthly. Revise it, edit it; just keep writing down your goals and aspirations. If you do, they will happen. I can’t attempt to explain it, but it works every time.

Be ruthless with yourself. Force yourself into uncomfortable situations that will allow you to grow as a person as well as a professional. Don’t take the easy path; take the route less traveled due to harsh conditions. Victory lies at the end of that rugged road.

My wife, Sherra, is my rock. Everyone should have a spouse that shares his or her life vision and unconditionally accepts you for who you are and the things you do.

Don’t be afraid to take risks and make mistakes. Calculated risks are the only way to grow your business and mistakes are essential for success. So make them and learn from them—they are the best learning tool you will find.


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