For any business to become a lasting success, it must satisfy customer wants and needs. Understanding what they truly want and then fulfilling their needs leads to ongoing satisfaction. In return, they’ll not only come back for more, but also tell others about their wonderful experiences doing business with you.
One of the biggest differences between creating raving fans of your customers and not is getting the multitude of basic things right on a consistent basis.
Entrepreneurs start businesses to create greater freedom, wealth and happiness — to exert more control over their destiny. They dream of achieving professional, personal and financial success and independence and, as a result,travel, relax, give back and simply enjoy their lives.
For many entrepreneurs, these aspirations remain a dream because they lack the mindset, people and processes to make them a reality. Several key factors make it difficult for owners to run their businesses without their constant presence.Understanding these factors and making necessary adjustments will position entrepreneurs to realize their dreams.
If you’re like most people, you’ve worked for a variety of business owners and managers. A few probably stand out in your mind as people you enjoyed working for, while others created an unpleasant work environment. It’s just as likely there’s no doubt in your mind about the type of person for which you’d rather work.
There’s a vast difference between a leader and a boss. A leader collaborates, influences, guides, mentors and supports others to foster a movement in a desired direction. Conversely, a boss controls, dominates and uses fear and intimidation to get more and more out of the individuals he or she oversees.
Poor communication presents the largest obstacle to any successful relationship, and it all begins with listening. Not truly listening to others and ineffective communication are often at the heart of dysfunctional businesses, disgruntled team members, unsatisfied clients, failed marriages, disassociation with loved ones, frustration and anger, to name only a few.
Stephen Covey — the businessman, educator and author — put it this way: “Most people do not listen with the intent to understand. They listen with the intent to reply.”
Yet, the truth remains: We all want to be heard and understood.
As a business owner, you face two options: You can create a job for yourself or truly lead your company.There’s a distinct difference.
In the first scenario, you’re doing daily tasks that could easily be handled by other managers or team members — tasks that take away your precious time to be the visionary, innovator and leader of your business.
If this is your reality, what it’s costing you, your team and customers? Probably more than you realize. When you’ve merely created a job for yourself, you have less time to be the effective leader of your company — and less time for your life. After all, personal freedom is likely one of the reasons you started a business in the first place.
You’ve likely heard the saying, “Hire for skills and fire for attitude.” Simply put, this means bad attitudes far outweigh the skills people bring to their positions. Failing to take corrective action puts companies at risk.
The typical business has a number of skilled team members, many with decent and even great attitudes. They come to work, perform their jobs to a satisfactory level or above and contribute to the work environment in mostly positive ways.
But what about those team members who, even though they have the skills to do their jobs, damage the culture, morale and operations? Chances are, you’re thinking of these people right now.
Business owners and managers sometimes feel as though they’re held hostage by one or more team members who play key roles in the business. Owners and managers believe these individuals possess sensitive information and perform vital functions. Letting them go or, in fact, taking any action that might upset them would leave the company in a vulnerable or even desperate position.
The feeling of being held hostage by anyone or anything is an uncomfortable one to say the least. Faced with this reality, business owners and managers commonly believe they’re powerless to change their circumstances and remain at the mercy of the team member and the situation. This is only a belief, however, and beliefs of this type must change to free their operations from toxic team members and experience more happiness and success in the business.
Internal barriers or blockages to business success come in many forms: ineffective hiring practices, bad management, poor on-boarding and training, lack of teamwork, a negative culture and team members whose lack of desire and negative attitudes prevent them from performing at consistently high levels.
There are also less-than-effective systems and procedures, poor customer service, inconsistent quality of products and team members who lack the skills and behaviors necessary to communicate effectively. These are just some of the common blockages I help owners and managers identify and eliminate to improve business performance and success. If you’re like most owners andmanagers, you strive to keep operations running smoothly and efficiently with as few interruptions to the flow as possible.
The effective and efficient flow of information is critical to consistently meeting and exceeding the wants and needs of customers, foreseeing challenges and overcoming obstacles. The smooth flow of information also is essential to the production and timely delivery of high-quality goods and services. When communication is limited or even impossible because of personality conflicts, the business weakens from within and the effects reach far.
Personality conflicts hurt communication, collaboration and teamwork, in turn hurting efficiency, productivity, culture, team member satisfaction, retention, business growth and profits. The degree to which team members don’t communicate effectively and collaborate presents one of the greatest obstacles to business success.
Wise business owners endeavor to reduce the high costs of turnover and maximize their return on investment with new hires. Still, businesses experience turnover for a variety of reasons, and the expenses associated with finding, hiring, training and developing new team members are very real.
Studies have estimated the cost of turnover to range from several thousand dollars to upwards of 150 percent to 200 percent of a team member’s annual salary. The costs are high because they include not only loss of revenue, productivity and training expenses, but also the time, energy and stress involved with hiring someone new.
There are two ways to look at marketplace competition. You could focus on others in your sector and take you and your company away from the success you desire. Or, you could turn your attention toward your own company and your path to becoming better.
The second is a self-disciplined approach that will position you to face the reality of how you can improve your operations, make effective changes and ultimately enjoy the fruits of your powerful efforts.