Getting the details right is imperative for a thriving business, now more than ever. Attention to detail is often the difference between above average and mediocre, the difference between success and failure.

I’ve always considered myself a big picture person, but the more I delve into the finer details, the more I understand their significance.

In a recent story, the city of Santa Clara, California could lose their chance to renew a $548 million dollar tax to maintain the city’s water supply due to a 2-word error on a proposed measure.

Election laws state that summaries for proposed measures must be 75 words or less, and the proposed measure clocked in at 77 words. In a haste to convene and re-submit the proposal minus 2 words, the city broke California’s Open Meeting Law by failing to give 24 hours’ notice. The deadline was missed by less than an hour.

Long story short, the lack of attention to detail in this case might cost the city half a billion dollars.

Be detail oriented from the ground up

Even if you’re not dealing with millions of dollars, details are important for any type of organization. Attention to detail can be particularly important for start-up companies, as noted by author and celebrated entrepreneur Richard Branson:

“Instilling attention to detail throughout your new company will prove especially important when the business begins to gain ground. Employees across the business should be focusing on getting it right all day, every day.”

Part of this stems from creating a team that takes ownership in the company, and having employees who truly believe in your product, service, or cause. Do they support the company because it’s their responsibility as an employee, or do they whole-heartedly support the cause and mission of your company? You can guess that the latter probably pays better attention to detail.

Quite often it’s the small things that make the sale

There are so many companies out there today, and with internet access, it’s easy to compare many similar products and services. Consequently, there’s a chance that the items you offer and what a competitor offers are pretty similar, and their purchasing decision may come down to the small details.

Leadership expert Scott Neilson explains that “The important thing for observers and customers is that if they see you making the effort to do the small things well, they have more confidence that you are doing the same, or perhaps even more, for the big things.”

If you own a store, make sure it’s clean and attractive. Operate a website? Make sure it’s free of typing and display errors, and that all your links work correctly. Meeting with a new client? Take the time to do some research on them beforehand, learn the correct pronunciation of their name, or take note about their culture.

Whichever way you pay attention to details, it can give your clients and potential customers confidence, and your bottom line will thank you.

But I’m so busy there isn’t time to pay close attention to details

For most of us, this statement holds true at some point or another, and it can be hard to find the time to fine-tune every aspect of your operation. However, if you take the time to work out the details of a couple items every day, you might find it making an impact on your business.

What kind of details are important to you and your business? We’d like to hear your opinions!