To fix your business’s problems, start from here…
The first step in helping any business is to know the business. Even more important
than learning about the business, the business owner or manager needs to know the hidden aspect of his or her business. We usually learn to see a business as a whole unit, but the reality is that every business is composed of smaller components.
When there is a problem in or a need to improve a business, the only aspect that needs to be changed is one or more subcomponents of the business.
A big overhaul of the business to fix a problem may not be tolerated by the staff and management. You need to start small and in this article, we are going to dissect a business to its smallest and manageable particles.
When most people think about growing a business or increasing sales, the first thing that, mistakenly, comes to their minds is marketing. Marketing is definitely an important aspect of each business, but the majority of the time, marketing along is not the main source of the problem.
The issue of not being able to keep clients could be with customer service or the culture of the company.
To allow for a better understanding, we put together some fillable PDF files that you can download and fill them in your own time.
You can send the already filled forms to our office. We will send you back an initial assessment of your business based on the information you provided FREE OF CHARGE.
The forms contain only general information.
We won’t ask for any confidential and sensitive information.
The very first characteristic of your business that you need to know is what I call the personality of your business.
If you could look into your clients’ minds, what words would be associated with your business?
There are different names for these words; some call it the “brand” or “image” of the business, but I like to call it the personality of the business.
People choose your business exactly because of the words in their minds associated with your business’s name.
Almost everything in your business including marketing, customer service, products or services are aimed to engrave right words and phrases into the minds of your customers. If the phrase “Low quality” associated with your name in the minds of people you will lose business.
The simple exercise of filling Business Personality form can change the direction of your business to a better one.
Employees of a business are the engine of the business. There is no way you run a successful business with a bunch of unhappy lousy employees.
In the Business Culture form, you will learn how to see and measure the culture of your business.
If you could peer into the minds of your employees, what words and phrases would surround the name of your business? These words make up the culture of your business.
The culture of your business is critically important, as it denotes what kind of company you have created or are running.
It is not very hard to engrave the right words and phrases in the minds of your employees.
Putting those words and phrases in the minds of your employees next to the name of the business is not done by orders, rewards, and punishments. It is all about how you treat them and if they understand your expectation and how serious you are about the companies demands from them.
The point is how serious and consistent you are in the culture of your business. If something is not tolerated in your business, it has to be the same, all the time for everyone with no exception.
To complete the Business Culture form, please make sure to write the words that come to employees’ minds without any hesitation or second thought.
Every business is an extension of its founder or leader, or whoever that is running the business.
A leader runs a business by his or her beliefs, ideas, hopes, fears, and the like.
The exercise of filling the Leader Insight form open your eyes to a whole new version of yourself.
Write the words and phrases that are associated with the business you are running inside your minds. What words and phrases are surrounding the business name write them down without any distillation or second thought.
For example, if in the mind of the leader, the phrase “hard to manage
employees” is related to the business’s name, the problem could lie in either poor hiring decisions, wage expectations, or weak employee management. This phrase guides us to the conclusion that the leader must educated on his or her hiring process and strengthen management skills, or delegate these tasks to someone else.
All improvement and change in the business started right from the mind of its leader. If the leader of the business is not willing to change words associated with the business in his mind, hardly would be an improvement in the current business situation.
If your business is not working in its own full capacity, you need to look at its building blocks or components. The building blocks of a business is called departments.
If the business is running only one person, still you can define different departments that all are running by one person.
Departments like accounting, production or services, customer service, marketing, education, Research & development (R&D) are the basic departments of every business, no matter how small or big the business would be.
When a business is in turmoil and everything looks falling apart, the problem could be only one or two departments.
By dissecting the business into its smaller pieces, finding the source of problems will be much easier more manageable.
For example, you may want more clients and, though you get more people to come to the door, they don’t stay for long. In
this case, the problem most likely is not marketing but rather production (services) or customer service.
department. For instance, when I was doing accounting, I put on a fedora with a feather on it.
Segregating departments and treating them seprately help you to manage your business much easier.
The smallest pieces of accomplishing works in business are tasks. Activities like welcoming clients, calling the insurance company if you own a medical clinic, and putting the information of clients in the registration software are all examples of tasks. Tasks are usually defined in a department; however, there are tasks that can be cross-departmental.
It is crucially important to complete the task exactly the same all the time no matter who is doing the task. Responding to a phone call, for instance, should be always the same, no matter who is picking up the phone. If someone is extremely friendly and helpful and the other receptionist is not, customers become confused that is not good for the business.
Consistency in providing the service or products is the key to the success of any business. You must not surprise your clients by giving a super high-quality customer service one time and then, the next time, a mediocre service. People don’t like it and will abandon your business.
For each task to run exactly the same, you need to have a Standard Operating
Procedure or SOP. An SOP is a sequence of how to do a specific task, preferably in simple bullet points format. For instance, for putting the information of a client in the registration software, the SOP would look something like this:
- Check the ID.
- Double check the information with the client before hitting the save button.
- Have the client sign a consent form
- Make sure the client understands everything on the form.
SOPs must be very easy to follow and do the job.
Some companies put SOPs on a sticky note next to each machine or place it at a place that can be seen by whoever is doing the task. You might see some of those SOPs in hospital and clinics next to each device.
A sequence of tasks that are done in a timely manner is called a system.
The difference between a successful business and a mediocre one is in the consistency and quality of systems.
A system that runs automatically without much exception and interruption, is the key to the success of the most business.
A good design and well-run system automate the business and reduce the chance of errors.
The concept of the franchise is based on proven successful systems. On the other hand, if you want to make your own franchise, you need to develop systems that run flawlessly and be able to copy the systems to another location as a new franchise.
Finance of the company
The main purpose of establishing a commercial company and running it is the profit. Even a non-profit organization needs to keep track of their income and expenses.
A great majority of entrepreneurs don’t like to be involved in accounting as they find it very sensitive, time-consuming, or confusing.
They may choose to keep track of their income and expenses on a spreadsheet or on a piece of paper. However, accounting science has already made everything easier for us.
I strongly believe all entrepreneurs need to learn at least the very basics of accounting. If you know accounting vocabulary, you will understand your business much better and also communicate with your accountant much easier.
There are three basic statements that you as a business owner need to be familiar with:
- balance sheet
- income statement (profit and loss: P&L)
- Cash flow statement
Other than basic statements you need to familiarize yourself with some accounting and financial terminology that could be specific for your business.
You don’t have to an accountant to run a business, but you need to know the language and terminology of accounting related to your business.
Some of the most successful entrepreneurs are those that have accounting and financial background.
No matter what you do, there are always competitors. If you want to build a rocket and land a human on the moon, there are already four competitors. In fact, at any given time, there are no fewer than five main competitors for your business. Your job is to identify them and define for what you are competing.
It is absolutely right that you need to compete with yourself and try to increase the quality of your products and services better than yesterday, but competition can kill your business if you don’t keep an eye on what they do.
You are essentially competing in five main areas with each of your competitors:
- Reputation, brand
- Quality of products or services
- Customer service
- Location and accessibility (Most people prefer to shop at businesses that are closer to their place of living or work.)
The areas of competition could be different for each competitor. You may compete on prices with one competitor and on customer service with another.
When it comes to competition, most entrepreneurs think of sales, clearance, cut the price, buy one get one free. But the reality could be something totally different.
In the mind of each client, there are some areas of pain and pleasure when it comes
to choosing a product or service. The pain may not be a real pain. It could be a need, a desire to have something or just hunger for achieving a temporary or long term satisfaction.
The job of your marketing team is to find the spots of pain or requirement in the minds of customers. The other job of your marketing team is to find a route to reach those spots in the mind of people.
If you are a dentist, you should change your mindset of fixing peoples’ teeth decay. Your job is bringing back your customers’ beautiful smile, happier and longer life and a more beautiful look.
If you can locate the pain and pleasure points of your products and services, marketing and sale will be much easier.
One’s business personality, as we discussed earlier, must match with the pain and pleasure points in the minds of your prospects and clients.
There is always a threshold for choosing a business. For instance, you will be loyal to a business as long as the price of the service or the customer service quality meets a certain standard. As soon as the business departs from your standards, you will likely leave the business and choose another one.