changes. Everywhere we turn there are new ideas and more People doing
the same thing. The competition has never been more fierce. Isn't that
good? It certainly keeps us on our toes. But there are some steps we can
take to ensure that our business is perfected. I have been telling business
people in our seminars "It's war out there!" And the people with the best
strategy and tactics, together with the best troops win the war.
1 to make your business boom is GET ABSOLUTELY ORGANISED. There
is no doubt in my mind that it is easy to confuse activity with productivity
and in a crisis, businesses lose money. There are three ways to get absolutely
Step 1: At
the end of each day, do an error correcting review. Re-run the day in
your mind and say; "If I had to do that again, what would I do different?".
It is said in the classics, doing the same thing day after day, in the
same way and expecting a different result is the definition of insanity.
So re-run each day and communicate to the team how to do it better today
than we did it yesterday.
Step 2:is never
start the day without a to-do list. As boring as that may sound few business
people are doing it. Each day, we walk into the business, open the doors
and it's crisis time.
Step 3: is
pretty simple, you have to spend time getting organised. That means getting
in half an hour before everyone else or staying half an hour later without
the telephones, the internet, email and the office gossip interrupting
you. Think, plan analyse and do. Try these three simple steps, they are
the first step in the war of business.
2: DO IT RIGHT THE FIRST TIME. In this competitive environment the
end user of your service - whether they are a customer, a patient, a passenger
or a client - votes with their feet. So make sure your business does what
it says it's going to do and the only way to do that, is to ensure that
everyone in the business has impeccable product knowledge.
My travel agent, Julie
at Thomas Cook, knows her stuff. She rings back when she says she will,
she emails when she says she should, she understands her products and
she's proud of her travel industry. You can tell that just by talking
to her over the telephone. You can test your business by ringing up your
own business and trying to do business with yourself. It's a challenging
3: UNDER PROMISE AND OVER-DELIVER. Winston Churchill said; "Loose
lips sink ships". And it's easy to make promises with our mouths, overload
our backs and fail to deliver.
We had a problem with
our printer the other day, so Brad from our office went shopping with
his fingers through the Yellow Pages, just as we have been taught to do!
And he made contact with a company called "Just Printers" in Willoughby.
We negotiated the repair and sent the machine to them They told us the
repair would be completed on Thursday, but on Wednesday we received a
phone call to say that the machine was ready and it was on the way back
to our office. That's looking after your business.
4: PROSPECT CONTINUALLY. We know that 14% of consumers leave a place
of business because they form a relationship with someone else. We know
that 9% leave because of competitive reasons so for a business to survive
today, you have to have a prospecting system. And the biggest problem
we all have is the moment our busy line goes up, our prospecting line
goes down. So sit down with your team, small or large, and say; "How can
we increase our market place penetration?" And set up a system. You might
send 30 letters a week, you might all decide to give out more business
cards. You might decide to run a business seminar. When it comes to new
business, we are only limited by our imagination.
One of our clients
is a firm of accountants. They run business education seminars for their
clients and friends of their clients. It's a way of increasing the face
to face time that is cost effective.
5: HAVE A CUSTOMER SERVICE SYSTEM IN PLACE. It does not matter what
type of business you are running or what kind business you are in. High
technology has its place, but high touch is the answer to the bottom line.
And customer service is not a one-stop event. It's a system. (insert edited
coffee story). Have you checked your customer service systems.
6: DEVELOP HIGH PERFORMANCE PEOPLE. People do business with people.
Management today has to empower their staff to make commercial decisions
on the spot. The days of "I don't know, that's not my department...",
"It's not company policy..." are dead and gone. It's interesting to note
that a company's biggest asset does not appear on the company's balance
sheet. It's the human asset. The enlightened companies today are spending
up to 4% of their annual turnover on staff training and development. A
highly skilled staff, well-tuned and well trained can turn a small business
into a big business yet management consistently defies this foundation
by not seeing themselves as staff trainers. 90% of all staff training
happens on the shop floor. Have a walk around your business and see if
people are switched on or tuned off.
7: BUILD A REPUTATION: Having spent 20 years in management consulting,
talking to the world's best, listening to the world's best I believe that
there is no doubt that word of mouth is emerging as the number one tune
on the hit parade for business development. How many times have you promoted
your local restaurant, your local doctor, or your dentist? We are natural
promoters, so you build your reputation by outstanding performance in
the market place. Don't let your business become a legend in your own
mind; let your business become a legend in the minds of other people by
building an impeccable reputation. It's called doing the little things
Winston Marsh, marketing
guru, talks about "business customers/clients becoming evangelists to
the business", in other words, they are singing your praises all of the
8: SET UP AND AFTER-SALES SERVICE SYSTEM. (edited shoes story)
9: WHAT TO DO WHEN YOU MAKE A MISTAKE. Admit it, rectify it, and rebuild
the relationship. Now we know you can't win all the people all of the
time. Professor Henry Morrow said at a recent study that 3 in every 100
hate you before you start! So if you've had your quota today, it may not
be their fault, it may be yours. Powerful business words of the nineties
are: "I'm sorry, it's our mistake, we will rectify it - has it been rectified
to your total satisfaction?". It's called communication. In this fast
and furious world we are forced to make quicker decisions, act promptly
and be crisis driven it is inevitable that mistakes will happen.
The story goes about
the young advertising executive who made a decision that cost his company
a million dollars. The managing director called him up and the young fellow
knew he was in trouble. He opened the conversation by saying "I suppose
this means I've got the sack". The managing director looked at him straight
in the eye and said "Hell no, we've just spent a million dollars training
10: CHANGE IS CONSTANT: Look around you at the technology that you
are using today that you weren't using just five years ago. The most constant
force in the world is change. We are being told that by the year 2010
we will be travelling to London in 18 minutes (they'll still lose your
bags!). Ten years ago, if I had said to you that the majority of us would
be walking around the streets clutching mobile phones to our ears, you
would have laughed me out of town.
In fact, I can remember
the first photocopier we had in our company. The original went through
the middle of the machine and the copies came out the other end wet so
you had to wait for them to dry. And because this technology had not been
perfected, the act of putting an original into the machine was like playing
Russian Roulette! Today golfball typewriters have vanished and we are
now talking to each other via email and the internet - the fifth floor
is not talking to the sixth floor face to face anymore. Given that rapid
rate of change, are we coping. However, the experts are saying that to
keep pace with change we need to do 40 hours of classroom training, per
year per person, or we will be humanly obsolete within 3 years.
Now when it comes
to business we have to look at new ways, new ideas and new challenges
and be prepared to face these changes in a fun and exciting way.