Tips from the Top®: Small Business Tips From Business Owners For Business Owners
Let’s set aside our nostalgia for the good old days when we could assure our business’ success with a little more hard work. Allow yourself to appreciate, as a memory, the days when your business was well-served by your personal application of a natural talent or tactically applied skill. We have a more complicated responsibility to complete.
We need to lead and manage our entrepreneurial businesses with a crisp and well-understood vision. We need to commit ourselves to be continuous students of the complicated skills required to manage a team of people working toward a common goal.
As our businesses grow, we need to reserve more time and energy for the leadership and managerial responsibilities mentioned above. We need to delegate…
Employee Incentive Program
Central Maintenance & Service Company (CMS) is a janitorial service company that serves commercial, industrial and academic facilities in the Pittsburgh area. In the past, CMS employees (mostly part-time) would call in to the receptionist indicating they would miss work for various reasons without any accountability and follow-up by the manager. The absenteeism created a problem since a back-up person was needed to clean the area that was the responsibility of the absent employee. This resulted in adding additional employees to the back-up crew and involved the additional expense of travel time and overtime, all of which cost the company a tremendous amount of money. Managers did not hold their employees accountable for this absenteeism and employees were not given any incentives to avoid absences. Enter the absenteeism incentive program.Read more
Dangers of Extended Payment Terms
Beware of customers requesting or demanding extended payment terms such as 60, 90 or 120 days. Not only are these longer stretches bad for your own net-30 payables, but if the amounts build up over time and any of these customers go out of business, you'll never see your money or, at best, pennies on the dollar (maybe, someday). Charging extra for extended terms may mitigate the risk if customers will agree to it.
Re-Engaging Your Customers
When you are working with a client on a long-term relationship and they are not as engaged as they might have been, here are some steps to take to ensure they re-engage.
- Arrange for a special discussion in a different venue than your normal meeting place.
- Go back to their vision of success and why they want it.
- Connect your activities to the desired head and heart outcomes.
- Revisit the gap between where they want to be and where they are now.
- Given all the activities that must take place, re-prioritize and or re-sequence the activities and get a new commitment to proceed.
- Re-establish an agreement as to what you and they must do, and how you will manage a degradation of commitment.
When striving to get an agreement with a prospective client, first ensure you are aligned before you go to the next step. Align to the verbal terms, for instance, before submitting a proposal.
When you are looking for confirmation or feedback, remember that the party which makes the offer first loses. Let your customer buy rather than focus on you selling.
Planning to Exit Your Business?
We all will exit our business at some point. If you are intentional about getting your business ready for sale or succession, here are a few questions and a major activity for you.
Start by working towards taking off three consecutive weeks. This means zero activity with the business. No phone, email, nothing. In doing this, you will be able to see how well your team does without you.
- Can they run the business day to day?
- How about long-term?
- Can they take the business to the next level?
The last question is entirely different as many leadership teams can run the company operationally but may not have the vision and/or experience to grow the company.
Can you take off three weeks? If not, what do you need to do to get there?
You Don’t Have a Website?
Your website is the face of your company. The importance of a good website can’t be overemphasized.
If you think a website is not important to your business, you haven’t thought it through. Potential employees, investors, suppliers, customers and other stakeholders will all research your website before they contact you. You may not know what opportunities you are missing if you don’t have a website.