Sweating the Small Stuff

UnknownI love reading business and finance articles.  I really enjoy reading about why good companies succeed and why others fail.  It completely fascinates me and that is where I get a lot of ideas about ministry…through what I read about in the business world.

A while back, Business Week did an article on the relationship Developers have with Apple, Inc.. It was a really good piece but one section really stuck out to me.  It said,

“To keep its developers engaged and loyal, Apple sweats the small stuff. Developers rave about the quality of the company’s ‘development environment’—the collection of technical specifications, manuals, and programming tools used to write apps. Those for the iPhone are easily written on Macs by developers using many of the same techniques they’ve employed over the past 30 years to create Mac programs. There’s even an iPhone simulator, a piece of software that lets developers see on their Mac screen exactly how their program would operate on the phone. Apple is also renowned for its application programming interfaces, or APIs, which are the sets of instructions that programmers use to take advantage of an operating system’s capabilities. While the 5,200 engineers at Jobs’s keynote roared in approval at some of the consumer features (e.g., wireless, PC-less synching), some of the loudest huzzahs were for the 1,500 new APIs. That sounds—and is—complicated. And yet, since Apple makes only three mobile products, writing iOS software is simpler than doing so for Android devices, which come in many more flavors, each with its own quirks. Adam Williams, a computer science graduate student at the University of Massachusetts, has earned more than $100,000 from three iPhone apps. He considered writing software for Android, too, but gave up after spending a few weekends dabbling with Google’s (GOOG) developer tools. ‘It seemed like too much work, for a questionable return,’ he says.”

I know that was a very long paragraph, but here is what I got out of it…

Every little detail is important to Apple. Whether it is manuals or interactions, they keep it simple for the developers to be involved. Developers don’t have to go through hoops and hurdles to be involved. And because of this, Apple has a huge fan base amongst the developers.

So what does this mean for us in ministry?  Here are a few things:

1. Create easy “on” ramps.  Don’t overcomplicate the process for students to be involved in your ministry.  Make sure your social media is up to date and your website has all the correct information. Parents and students are probably going to check you out there first before they try your ministry in person.

2. Know your audience. Apple has HUGE brand loyalty.  They call them “Apple fan boys” but the reality is their customers LOVE them and will most likely buy anything Apple sells.  Why?  Because they know what their “fans” want and they deliver.  How well do you know your audience?  And by “know” I mean, how well do you know their likes, dislikes, the music they are into, the things that bother them most about life, school and their family. The better you know them, the more likely you are going to be able to keep them plugged into your ministry and have your own kind of “brand loyalty”.

3. Sweat the small stuff. Ultimately, it is about details, details, details.  Small details are important details. Do not overlook the small things because you think they are minor details.  Every detail is important. Learn from Apple, the most prosperous company in the world right now.  You don’t get to be that big without sweating the small stuff.

So, what do you think?  How are you doing about sweating the small stuff?  How has sweating the small stuff in your ministry has made you more effective in reaching people for Christ. Share below or use the hashtag #ymsidekick on social media to share your thoughts. 

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Tom Pounder

A father of 4, Tom is the Online Campus Pastor as well as Social Media Director at New Life Christian Church in Chantilly, VA. He blogs, vlogs, periscopes and podcasts regularly about student and online ministry stuff. Check out his work at YMSidekick.com and on iTunes (search YMSidekick).

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