ICS Magazine

The Close Shave of Occam’s Razor

November 5, 2002
When the final second ticked off the clock at Invesco Field in Denver on Oct. 14, the scoreboard told the sterile, unfeeling truth: Miami 24, Denver 22.

But how could that be? The Broncos were the better team; leading up to the game, sports writers on both coasts said so. Las Vegas oddsmakers had Denver as three-and-a-half point favorites, and we all know how eerily on target they are. The Dolphins were coming to play in a city where the Broncos historically have won roughly three out of every four games.

There are a hundred excuses that can be brought to bear: Denver quarterback Brian Griese shouldn’t have thrown the ball that led to a Dolphin touchdown; linebacker John Mobley should have intercepted the ball that ended up in the hands of Dolphin receiver Dedric Ward; the cold front expected to wash over Denver never materialized; Venus was not in Alpha Minor, disrupting the players’ auras. Or, quite possibly…

On Oct. 14, the Miami Dolphins played better football than the Denver Broncos.

In the 14th century, in the village of Ockham in the English county of Surrey, the logician and Franciscan friar William of Occam was born. Now, this in of itself is no more or less exciting than any other event that occurred at that time, or during any other time, for that matter, with one exception: William is attributed with developing a principle known as Occam’s Razor, a principle which states that “Entities should not be multiplied unnecessarily.” The lifeblood of the professional cleaner is the client; without clients, there is no business, no matter how shiny and powerful the equipment may be. It would therefore follow that in order to establish, maintain and grow a client base, a two-part question must be both asked and answered: What do my clients want, and how do I give it to them?

Those answers are key to any consumer-based business. If you are not providing service that meets clients’ expectations, you will no longer have clients. The theory is simple; it’s putting it into practice that separates the success stories from the failures.

The next time you experience a downturn in business, or your favorite football team loses a heartbreaker with less than a minute to go, re-ask the question and remember, don’t make things more complicated than they need to be; the correct answer is most likely the simplest.