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John Marvin

This Simple Principle Will Help You Identify Everyday Opportunities To Offer More and Better Service

It will not only set the tone for your business, but set you apart from your competitors.




GOING THE EXTRA mile is one of Napoleon Hill’s “17 Principles of Success.” You may be familiar with Napoleon Hill but if not, he is one of the most influential business researchers and authors in American history.

In his late teens at the beginning of the 20th century, young Napoleon Hill went to work for a popular periodical titled Bob Taylor’s Magazine that offered advice on achieving power and wealth. His first major interview was with the Pittsburgh steel magnate Andrew Carnegie, who told Napoleon the world needed a set of success principles and challenged Hill to spend the next 20 years of his life interviewing some of the world’s most accomplished people to compile this set of principles.

Hill jumped at the opportunity and spent the next 20 years meeting with and interviewing such people as Theodore Roosevelt, Thomas Edison, John D. Rockefeller, Henry Ford, Alexander Graham Bell and other giants of industry. The result was his “17 Scientific Principles of Success”, published in a book titled Think And Grow Rich.

“Going the Extra Mile” is the fifth principle of the 17. It is a mindset, not a set of tactical actions. You see, Hill and his mentor Carnegie understood that success and achievement is itself a mindset. How you think is the key factor in achievement.

A key part of this principle is the word “extra.” You notice that the principle is not about quickness or even completing the journey, it is about rendering more than that for which you are paid.

I regularly review complaints made by patients visting one of our independently owned locations. Almost 100% of these are simple service issues that could have been quickly resolved by going the extra mile to serve the customer.


The entire point of this principle is building more value in the service or products you offer than that offered by your competitors.

I have some examples of how you can set yourself and your business apart by going the extra mile:

Fit a patient in for an appointment when your schedule is already booked. If you are having difficulty finding a time that works for the customer, offer to fit them in when it is most convenient for them. Explain it may take a little longer to work them in and check to see if that is acceptable to them, but in most cases, they will understand and appreciate you going the extra mile.

If a customer’s schedule makes it difficult to get to your office while you are open, ask an optician to deliver the eyewear to them. They can take the hand tools to make sure the eyewear fits as it should. If you were your customer’s coworker how impressed would you be to see their eyecare provider delivering their eyewear and ensuring it fit? You might end up with a new patient or customer.

If you understand “going the extra mile” is a mindset and not a list of things to do, you will see opportunities every day to render more and better service. Your competition won’t know what hit them.


John D. Marvin has more than 25 years of experience in the ophthalmic and optometric practice industry. He is the president of Texas State Optical and writes about marketing, management and education at the blog. You can email him at


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