Keep Your Business Profitable
Technology is pushing progress into the millennium more rapidly than conventional thinking can make or keep your business profitable:
- Stop Wasting Your time Bleeding Into Your Future
From Poor People Evaluation Skills, Jaws-of-a-Vice Management, and the Hindsight of Failed Leadership.
- Innovate Before Competitors’ Innovations Race Ahead
Because your current and potential buyers won’t give you slack if you fail to build your products and services in anticipation of their future needs in a timely manner.
- Constantly Ask Why You Do Things the Way You Do
So forward thinking makes you first in designing cutting-edge concepts for your current and future customers’ needs.
Look at your business every day and ask:
How can I make my company better?
Ask your people:
- How can they improve the way they serve our company?
- How you can help them do their jobs more effectively?
Look at every one of your products and services and ask yourself these hard questions:
- How can I improve this now?
- Can I sell this next year?
- Can I sell this the same way next year?
- Is there a new way to sell my products and services?
With all the changes in the way business gets done globally, one driving force remains the same, the satisfied customer creates positive cash flow and profitability. Two things satisfy customers:
- Anticipating their current and future needs
- Selling and servicing their purchases effectively
At a business conference, Tom Peters gave the world prescriptions for the demise of conventional ways of buying products and services:
- Banking is necessary; banks are not
- Travel is necessary; travel agencies are not
- Cars are necessary; car dealerships are not
- If you’ve seen the billion dollar figures on Internet shopping, you’ll recognize that shopping is necessary; stores are not
Only satisfied employees can build customer satisfaction over the long term. Entrepreneurs need to set up systems to consistently grow existing employees and fill positions with competent, goal-motivated employees, lead them well and nurture their creativity to develop a profitable company environment year after year.
Unfortunately, entrepreneurs tend to have problems getting and keeping good people. Characteristics that mark entrepreneurial visionaries often result in poor recruiting and in-house leadership.
Here are four common hiring mistakes:
- Failing to View Employees as Talent
Laser focus on bottom lines and personal creativity make entrepreneurs look at hiring like buying a new piece of equipment. Unlike equipment models that are consistent, employees are individuals first, with specific strengths and weaknesses. When you look at employees and prospective employees as talent, you see more of the individual strengths employees can bring to positions within your company.
- Talking Too Much During Interviews
Entrepreneurs tend to be ultra-enthusiastic about their company and its products and services. Instead of drawing out the candidates to see who will make the best hire, they let their pride in their accomplishments drive the interview.
- Looking Outside First to Fill Positions
When a promotable employee is doing a good job, entrepreneurs want to keep that employee in the position. They feel creating another open position adds to their problems. What they fail to see is that promoted employees already understand the company and will be available to help train their successors.
- Failing to Establish a Clear Idea of Current Job Requirements and Future Position Growth
Eclectic thinkers who set priorities as they go along, entrepreneurs can leave prospects wondering what is expected of them. When they are hired, they often wing the first six months until they get the hang of their jobs.
Here are four leadership mistakes:
- Favor Extremes of Management
Ever in motion, entrepreneurs tend to either hold employees under their thumbs or let them go until something goes wrong. One type believes they know how to do everything best and the other acts like the Chief of the Screw-Up Police. Leaders facilitate and managers control. When you constantly tell people what to do, you never learn what they can bring to the job on their own.
- Fail to Place and Keep Employees on Goal Tracks
Controlling tasks takes much more time and is not a good use of your time. When you hire good people, you don’t have to watch them like children. Still, employees need a compass to chart their courses. All employees need to know and feel responsible for achieving global company goals. The way they do that is by setting and achieving personal and position goals they periodically commit to achieve. Personal and position goals tied into company goals build your employees’ ownership in the fate of the company they work for.
- Failing to Give Employees Assessment Feedback
Failing to let employees now how they are doing inhibits the growth of all human resources at your company, including yours. When you fail to push the envelope in your business environment, you lose ground every day. You can’t grow your company without growing your employees and yourself. Periodic assessments let you know what is going right, what is going wrong, and what options exist for positive change. What works today probably won’t work tomorrow in certain cases. You can’t afford to wait until something isn’t working to take action. You need to anticipate. You waste good mental energy trouble-shooting problems that could have been avoided.
- Failing to Keep Products and Services Customer-Centered
Entrepreneurs tend to act self and company centered, so their pitch, promotional materials, products and services tend to stress their personal competence and their company’s capabilities. Far better is to respect customers’ competence and their ability to make a wise choice after you have stressed all the benefits of buying from your company. Best is to focus on the 20 percent of your customers representing 80 percent of your profit. Get them into the loop of product and service development. Purge troublesome, high-maintenance customers. Be the passionate innovator motivated to blast into 2015 and forward to shake up your industry with innovation.
I wish you the best of business success for 2015 and forward!