how do you or your company measure up?
Here are some tried-and-tested approaches for effective change:
A. Focus on the issues that matter most
- to find and retain a sufficient number of satisfied, loyal customers to meet business goals
- by offering products and services they want now
- at the same time anticipating future needs, to stay ahead of the competition.
This is an ongoing process of discovery. Continue to ask the key questions:
- how many/much/often/long?
“Why customers buy?” is a key question:
- repeat the “why?” question at least 5 times
- each answer digs deeper and deeper to reveal customers’ real purchase motivations
- this is crucial in refining your offer and key promotional messages
- so you can satisfy the key questions – “what they want, and how, when, and where they want it?”.
- at a price giving a healthy profit
Never forgetting the importance of customer service excellence:
- all staff inevitably impact on customer service, whether directly or indirectly
- everyone in the company has eyes and ears to contribute to the continual learning process
- customers expect excellent service in all supplier contact or they will surely go elsewhere
- have your staff really bought into this imperative?
- how can selective investment in IT/digital communication investment tools help them do their job better?
- a healthy culture, where two-way communication is positively encouraged, makes it much easier for staff to embrace change
B. Simple Business Planning
Is your plan aimed at market leadership, steady growth, or mere survival in challenging times?
It’s not surprising that business planning has a bad name particularly with small businesses owners. Textbooks typically make it far too complicated and time-consuming. Here’s a simple staged approach:
It’s important to focus on a few key elements:
- clear goals with direction set by you
- business model up-to-date and still relevant
- key strategy measures for customers, finance, people, IT/digital, processes
- financial forecasts including break even, profit and loss, cash flow
- action plans to implement, clearly assigning responsibilities and timescales
- performance management monitoring key indicators for early corrective action
Not forgetting effective, clear communication. Using the most appropriate communication methods. The clearer and more simple the approach, the more likely key messages will be remembered e.g. using Powerpoint slides to summarise information.
Consider investments in digital communications and IT in a strategic context. As a key supporting pillar of the business that helps drive positive customer satisfaction and cost efficiencies.
The right combination of hardware, software applications and connectivity that takes into account emerging needs e.g. from the explosion of mobile device usage.
C. The Human Touch
Genuine trust and empathy are precious commodities in life and business. In business, people matter more than ever before. Forget this at your peril!
Here’s a simple 10 point plan:
- check how personal goals influence business goals – can you be sure that these are in alignment?
- what about your fellow owners/directors – is there alignment there too?
- are there underlying tensions with your Owners/Directors – that are holding the business back?
- start by become more self-aware – to understand how your behaviour impacts on others
- heightened awareness at the top – makes it’s much easier and acceptable to broaden the approach to others
- investigate the interplay of relationships in the business – enhance the positive, minimise the detrimental
- accept people with differing views to your own – challenge prevailing wisdom for new insights and perspectives
- create a “blame-free culture” – that welcomes change and continual improvement
- new insights – to identify new opportunities and new sources of competitive advantage
- identify and implement personal development needs – to improve business capability
The Enneagram personality profiling can help with this process. Using the Enneagram, the authentic, powerful personality-based system actively practiced by business and personal coaches in over 20 countries worldwide, to better understand and then build effective relationships.It’s an authentic, powerful, proven method for understanding relationship dynamics in both business and personal contexts.
Or click on Take the Enneagram Test for a FREE ten minute personality profiling, multiple-choice questionnaire:
- Which Enneagram personality Type are you? – Reformer, Helper, Achiever, Individualist, Investigator, Loyalist, Enthusiast, Challenger, Peacemaker?
- How does this affect your relationship with others?
- How will a heightened awareness of yourself and others benefit the business?
Why not take a fresh look at your business?
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