The South African December break inspires many business leaders to set lofty goals for their organisations. While technology makes it easier than ever to manage and grow a business, many let the four basics of successful business fall by the wayside.
While it’s not necessary in all cases to formally study business management or obtain an MBA, it is definitely necessary to manage and measure the four basics of business. These four basics are applicable across all organisational sectors and sizes.
How exceptional is the business at what it does?
Businesses these days operate in a world where 100 percent is no longer good enough. Every time and everywhere a business interacts with customers should deliver a 110 percent experience.
The start of offering exceptional products, services and customer experience is often with competitor benchmarking. However, just being the same as – or a little better than – competitors should not lull business leaders into a sense of satisfaction.
Each business needs to run its own race, play its own game and set its own strategy, to win in the new game of business. To do this it is imperative to have the right team of people on board.
The right team will have a balanced spread of skills and behavioural profiles that enable them to work with mutual trust and respect towards the goals set by the business leader.
How great is the business as a place to work?
Employers want people with a sparkle in their eye and a fire in their belly, but equally those people want to work for employers who are not only going to value them, but whose values they share.
Leaders often underestimate the impact of the ‘fluffy stuff’ like shared values, regular two-way communication and praise.
The trick is to find the balance between rules, discipline, financial reward and a workplace atmosphere that makes employees automatically want to help the business be exceptional.
How well does the business prospect for customers?
Offering an exceptional experience is however completely useless from a profitable growth point of view if there are no customers to offer the experience to. No business can ever take the risk of expecting customers to find it.
Similarly, no business leader can ever expect the sales function to just fly by the seat of their pants to see what they can get.
You only get what you measure, so measure the amount of leads generated every week, how many deals are closed, and set targets to increase this on a regular basis.
How is the business bottom line doing?
In business it’s all about the numbers in the end. No strategy, objective, plan or greater good purpose can be realised in the long run unless a business generates a profit that can be reinvested in the business.
When you start out in business it’s easy to be seduced by the top line; the income received from customers in exchange for the products and services delivered.
What often happens then is that expenses increase as income increases and that’s where it gets away from many business leaders. Continually increasing operational efficiency combined with a relentless focus on increasing sales is really the only way to protect the true financial measurement of business success: the bottom line.
It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been in business; revisiting the basics regularly can have a massive positive effect on the profitability of the business. It also has the added benefit of reducing personal stress and feelings of overwhelm.