I stumbled upon a new success metric last week.

Maxine Mills. A designer so good local business owners compete to buy her lunch.

I took my pal Maxine Mills, a graphic designer, to lunch to thank her for referring me to someone who has become a regular client. We headed into Neal's Deli and placed our orders. "Maxine's is free," said the nice person behind the counter. I laughed. "No, you can't comp Maxine today, because I'm comping Maxine today." The owners overheard and laughed. Maxine blushed.

There's some tangible proof that Maxine is a great designer to do business with: two small business owners "duking it out" to buy her lunch. We're willing to part with cash/inventory to say thanks to her for her efforts on our behalf. That's a helluva metric if you ask me.

What's your Maxine Rating? How many of your clients would pick up the tab for your lunch?