Opinion: The Big Picture — Looking past the parking lot

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In his illuminating autobiography, Wendy's Restaurant Founder Dave Thomas talks about the intense competition he faced early on.

It seems one of his rivals was in the habit of parking outside Dave's restaurant each day around lunchtime. The tactic was part intimidation, part scouting, all useless. Dave chose to ignore the parked car and instead focus on taking care of his customers. Wise choice: The other guy was out of business in less than a year.
Chances are pretty good that you may be wondering about the competition these days. That's hardly a bad idea, considering what assisted living has done to nursing homes in the past two decades, and what the government and other forces might do in the years ahead. These are rapidly changing times, and new eldercare realities are constantly emerging.
And whether you're providing long-term care or selling widgets, it's essential to keep an eye on the other guys. But it's most important to focus on what you do well.
At McKnight's, we have tried to make our products as worthy of your valuable time as possible. Our approach has been simple: Find out what our customers need and give it to them. In the case of long-term care, we've discovered that busy professionals need to be informed about a wide range of breaking or continuing issues that can affect the bottom line. So that's what we serve up. We're constantly amazed that some of our competitors not only fail to follow this example, but actually ridicule it.
But to be blunt, our competitors are not our customers. And our customers consistently rank us as far and away as their preferred magazine.
Of course, it's also rewarding when impartial judges have nice things to say. For example, the American Society of Healthcare Publication Editors (ASHPE) just gave McKnight's Long-Term Care News the Gold Award for "Best News Section" — for the second consecutive year.
The other McKnight's honors are:
• A Silver Award for "Best Online News Section" (www.mcknightsonline.com).
• A Silver Award for "Best Redesign."
• A Bronze Award for "Best Special Supplement" (for our 2005 Industry Directory).
• A Bronze Award for "Best Regular Column" (for the "Ask the Care Expert" department).
McKnight's has won 17 ASHPE awards during the past five years, a stamp of journalistic excellence no other publication in our field approaches. Our plan is to continue providing the best possible news, analysis, information and perspective. You deserve nothing less.
Our competitors are free to downplay this approach. In fact, I hope they stay parked right where they are.

John O'Connor, Vice President
McKnight's Long-Term Care News
john.oconnor@mltcn.com
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