I’m going to share a story that’s not directly related to writing faster, but it offers an amazing business lesson nonetheless.

I used to play in a golf league on Tuesday nights. One night, after we finished, one of the guys said we should get some food.

So we stopped off at a little Italian restaurant out in the country in what literally used to be an old milking barn. Pretty small place. Rustic. No fancy signs or neon. Definitely way off the beaten track.

I’d heard it was a pretty good place, food’s good, etc.

I had no idea.

The place was busy when we walked in, no tables. As soon as we entered, Jim – the owner – spotted us, turned from whatever he was doing, and handed the three of us wine glasses. ‘Here, vino, on the house.’ And he poured us all glasses of wine.

We sat down and waited. You could see the cooks in the kitchen from the front door — they were singing along with the boisterous piped in music (some even in tune — and they kept singing all throughout the evening).

A minute or two later, Jim showed up again — with a fresh bottle of wine. He opened it in front of us, and refilled all our glasses. ‘Nice, isn’t it? And not too expensive, heck I give most of it away.’

One of the staff appeared, ‘we’ll have your table in a minute.’

Jim reappeared holding a pizza box. ‘Here, try a piece. Sicilian. Good.’ He gave us all a piece of pizza, which was wonderful.

They showed us to our table. The waitress appeared, practically beaming with enthusiasm. She ticked off all the evening’s specials, weaving a delicious tale for each — ‘fresh herbs,’ ‘lightly dusted with parmesan,’ etc. — it all sounded wonderful.

And it was. All the food that I had and saw delivered around me looked, smelled, and tasted fantastic.

People at all the tables were laughing, talking, having a great time with each other and everyone around us. (You know those old Olive Garden commercials? — this was it on steroids. I kid you not.)

During the night, I repeatedly saw customers arrive and leave, and as they appeared/disappeared Jim would embrace them, kiss the women on the cheek, pat the men on the back, smile, laugh, wave goodbye, see you next time. The staff were just as friendly and exuberant. Even the kid filling our water glasses.

When we left, Jim shook our hands, thanked us for coming, wished us well and looked forward to seeing us again. You bet I came back, bringing my wife and daughters and friends, knowing they would love this place.

All the while I as there I recognized that I was in the presence of a master.

Jim the owner was totally, flipping brilliant.

What can we learn from this? What do you think?

Care passionately about what we do and love our customers even more. Give them more than they possibly imagine. Overdeliver on ALL counts. Go the extra mile. Enrich every moment. Give stuff away.

Successful small businesses understand this in spades. They don’t have massive multi-million dollar marketing budgets. So they do it the hard way. Blowing away one customer at a time with superlative products, services, and experience.

Loving each and every one.

And if they love us back and tell their friends, we’ll enjoy success beyond anything any spreadsheet can compute.

Go forth and do likewise.

Write Faster. Write Better. Write Now.