A Secret of Success for Israeli Business

Allon is an Israeli entrepreneur. He is not in high-tech nor does he have an innovative idea for a new Web site. As a matter of fact, his business doesn’t even have a Web site or an e-mail address. It is an actual store at the end of my street.  Allon started a neighborhood business a few years ago and it’s been going well. His business provides dry-cleaning and laundry services to our neighborhood. That’s right, he’s our dry cleaner and one of our local entrepreneurs.

This twenty-something man has the Israeli entrepreneurial spirit that makes Israel one of the leading start-up capitals of the world with the highest percapita number of start-ups outside of Silicon Valley (and they don’t include businesses like Allon’s when they calculate those figures). He has initiative, works hard towards his goals and stands behind what he believes in. We’ve gotten to knowAllon over the years as we prepared for holidays, as he got married and as he has watched our children grow.

A few weeks ago our washing machine died. We got to know Allon even better. While we looked into either repairing or replacing our machine, my wife had brought in several bags of laundry. Allon said they would be ready Friday afternoon. After I picked up the kids from school at noon, we headed over to the laundry. Schools and businesses close early inIsrael on Fridays as the country prepares for Shabbat so we were hurrying with other errands to do. Allon apologized that the laundry wasn’t folded yet, but it would be ready today. He gave me his cellphone number and told me if I could not be there by 2:00 when he closed I could call him and he’d come back and open for me. We headed to the mall to buy my sonMaytav his first watch.

At the jewelers, Maytav was shown many watches until he found one he liked. Shemer, my oldest, needed a new buckle for his wristwatch as well. We went through numerous buckles until he found the one that was just right – big and shiny. The jeweler spent a lot of time with my boys, all the time being very helpful and patient. There was a time when Israeli merchants were not known known for their service, but that has changed. The jeweler took care of my boys as if they were his own – and then discounted the price.

At quarter-to-two we arrived back at the laundry. With the Friday rush, the laundry wasn’t all folded yet. Not to worry, Allon assured us, we would have our laundry before Shabbat. An hour later, he carried our laundry up three flights of stairs and delivered it to our front door – one hour before Shabbat began.

It is this kind of personal service that makes Israeli businesspeople special. There is a connection that bonds Jews around the world and this is true in business as well.

A week later, the washing machine technician came for the second time in order to install our washing machine. We had waited over a week because after the washing machine was delivered, we discovered a part was broken. The technician ordered the replacement part and returned to us the day it arrived on a Friday. He came on his day off because he knew we had been waiting with no washing machine.

As a small business owner, I pride myself on giving personal service. Whether it is working harder to create creative marketing for clients’ Web sites that place them high in search engine results or really getting to know a business before designing a Web site, we go farther than many of our colleagues not just because we take pride in our work, but because we genuinely want to helppeople and give them the best service we can. We generally go out of our way for our clients. That is part of what sets apart many Israeli businesses.

I did not get charged extra from Allon for home delivery. Nor did the technician expect any kind of compensation for a service call on his day off. Business in Israel is not just about making money, but also about helping each other, in whatever way we can, one person at a time, to make it a better country so that we all succeed.

Potential clients I have for our search engine optimization service sometimes ask me if I have a guarantee. My answer is that my guarantee is that if you are happy with our work, you will continue to work with us. My motivation to help you is for a mutual win-win situation.

While in many ways Israelis are more aggressive and gruff than Americans, their aims are often clearer as well. Israelis don’t mimic the lip-service American merchants give saying “Have a nice day” by route. However, they often act in ways which make my day nicer and more likely that I’ll use their services again.

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