If you’re in business because you like to meet people and have something to do between 9am and 5pm – QUIT. Go through the papers and find a steady, low risk job that allows you to meet new people every day and rid yourself of financial worry and responsibility.
If you’re serious about your business then the reason you get up early and go to networking meetings, engage with other business owners and try to make things happen, is because you want to have a profitable business.
Take seven steps to take control TODAY so you can enjoy P.R.O.F.I.T.S.
1. P – Print / Publish your goals:
Understand what your goals and objectives are for being in business. Identify what success means to your organisation and focus on the tasks and actions that will deliver that success. This will be the answer in your head every time you ask the question “Why do I do this” so make it a good answer that’s meaningful to you. Print those goals and share them with your team – stick them on your wall and Practice what you Preach. When you’ve written it and shared it, you’re more likely to succeed because you won’t want to fail in front of others.
2. R – Re-structure your cost base:
Everything has boiled down to price in recent times. Bad when you’re trying to haul in sales but surely it benefits when it comes to paying your bills? See it’s not all bad news. Identify what could be waste, what could be more efficient and whether you need the product / service at all. In times when we can anticipate a shrinking market, our first responsibility is to live within our means. Control your costs on all P&L lines.
3. O – Organise and Orchestrate:
Look at your systems and structures and if you have a team around you establish that they are organised in their systems and thought process. Sharpen up your interaction with your clients and build your reputation as an amazing service provider. Interact with the business and those involved whether customer, supplier or employee. We’re all in this together and you might be surprised where help comes from. By being in the middle of things you can orchestrate and control the factors that will be most important in the system you have organised.
4. F – Focus or Fire your staff:
Okay, so it’s a bit dramatic. I’d prefer you focus your existing team. However, at the end of each week you don’t sit down and decide on a scale out of ten for effort, that Mary only scored 7 this week so she gets 70% of her wage. Who’s the fool? It is YOUR job to set the rules of this particular dance. You must give them an operating standard and the tools and training essential for them to complete the tasks. I predicate my approach here on the understanding that as part of your cost-base restructuring you have agreed that every employee in your team is vital to your success. It is THEIR job to meet that standard. If they know what is vital for them to be successful in their role (Which is vital in some way to the success of the business), then it falls back to you to keep them focussed and motivated and to challenge poor performance. Continued poor performance is denying you of a vital resource and this will drain your business and impact on morale of those who do perform for you.
5. I – Implement your plans:
By this point you have now got a view of why you are in business, you have looked at how to achieve your definition of success (Making your business work for you), you have cut costs, established robust systems and structures and you have clearly defined what you need from every member of your team. Great. Who’s going to make sure all of that happens for you? Simple answer is, nothing will happen unless you implement the plan. Make it all happen every day and remember to place emphasis on the old saying “Customer is King”.
6. T – Take advantage of your existing customers:
That comes in many forms. The most obvious is to get them to buy from you more often, but there are other benefits to them already knowing you and liking you. Get them to recommend you to friends, offer them a loyalty reward, ask them to follow your social media activity, send them special offers by email or best of all ask them to write you a testimonial.
7. S – Secure those SALES:
Own your customers. Deserve their loyalty. Be great at what you do. Most important, don’t forget to ask for the sale! I’ve lost count of the number of times where I have visited a client at their premises who missed an opportunity to sell more items to one of their customers because they didn’t ask. Bought a torch? Maybe they need batteries. It’s not rocket science and nobody knows your product range better than you. See what other goods or services can be bundled together and have a strategy to sell them together wherever possible. I’ll say it again. ASK THEM TO BUY, your customers will be delighted if you can solve more than one problem at a time.
If you can focus on these seven steps, then you will make a big difference to your sales in 2012 and the way your business is working to deliver those sales. It comes down to one simple thing – is your business working for you?