Six Keys to Achieve Your Business Dreams
By Joseph P. Leverich, CPA
Still dreaming about business success? What happened? Has your dream of wanting more than a job, but a way of life that provides freedom, opportunity and a sense of accomplishment been realized?
Many business owners are frustrated with the seemingly never-ending struggle of managing all the necessary tasks of business ownership including finding great customers, generating profitable sales, and developing a trained and dedicated workforce.
Dreams of success become dashed by the reality of what it is really like operating a business. Hard work alone is not enough. You invest time, initiative and brain power to solve business issues. But the problem is that the entire business is being run by you. There is always the question, are you running the business or is the business running you?
Achieving your dream has become so complex that it seems out of reach. Nevertheless do not give up on your dream. There are ways to make it become reality.
1. Be the best - There are a lot of businesses that do almost exactly what you do. Your path to success is to be the unquestionable best. It is easy to get confused by the glamour of sales or to get fooled by the idea that by adding additional product lines or having a better ad campaign success will happen.
Your customers are smart; they want to buy from professionals who sell them what they need and want, not what receives the highest sales commission. Train your employees to know your products and services and to actively ask questions of your customers so they can suggest better options and help your customers make the best decision.
2. Develop systems - Successful businesses have systems that guide and control key activities. These systems are typically built around serving customers, pricing your products, qualifying customers, taking customer orders and delivery of products in a systematic and consistent way to assure customer satisfaction and increasing profit.
Systemize your business so it is successful without you. This type of commitment to developing systems and training your people creates additional capabilities because you can now concentrate on other business areas.
Make a list of the areas in your business that need to have a documented system. From these areas choose the ones that will benefit your business the most. By making systems for these critical areas you will get the most improvement. Keep the system simple, easy and train your people to succeed.
3. Understand the pricing fallacy - You know customers are price conscious or that is what you believe. Myths abound on the subject of pricing - many companies advertise cheap prices to induce you to buy their product. Yet does anyone know someone who really got their mobile phone for that cheap advertised price? No! They were up-sold, tied into a multi-year contract that is some multiple of the advertised price and bought extra accessories at full price.
You need to identify your customers, investigate and determine what products and services they really want and need. The more you know and understand your customers, the more likely your business can get a fair price and your customers will return happily. You will also find out that price is important but is not the sole reason they frequent your business.
4. Develop your team - You need great employees who are educated and trained about your business. They must represent the core values of your company and treat customers with respect. Business owners have many misconceptions about employees, their compensation, and what they will or won't do. Successful businesses have low turn-over, high sales per employee and pay their team higher than industry wages. This is done by purposeful design. These businesses do not just reward employees but keep customers happily returning.
Examine your philosophy regarding employees. Explore pay and benefit offerings, and the time you are willing to invest in training. Find ways to reduce turnover and achieve higher results. Recognize team members for their achievements.
Happy energetic employees who love their jobs make your customers ecstatic and your business more successful.
5. Embrace constant improvement - The Japanese philosophy of Kaizen is the purposeful and continual improvement to your processes and products resulting in a "better way." Continually look at your business activities and processes to standardize, eliminate waste, improve delivery and add value to your customers. This is an ongoing process of not resting on past achievements but continually taking the initiative to improve.
New improvements must become part of the standard processes within your system. This requires documentation, training and implementation company-wide to assure that everyone gets the benefit of the improvements.
6. Define and document your business plan - Companies simply do not have superb over-the-top results without having goals and targets. Your business needs a strategic plan with clear goals and accountabilities to drive your success.
Develop a comprehensive one-page business plan that graphically outlines each goal of your company and share this with your team. The more these goals and initiatives are broken down into tasks with assigned accountabilities and deadlines the more success you will realize.
These are the keys to achieve business success. They sound simple because they are simple, but they are not easy to put into place and execute. Old habits are hard to break. New and different ideas require commitment.
With this knowledge comes the responsibility of using it in your business. Throughout business there is a need for order and harmony. As the creator of your business you have a choice - continue accepting the chaos that chains you to it or accept that there is a better way.
It is entirely up to you. The quality of your life is brought about from the actions you purposefully take to make change and bring your business world in alignment with systems.
Joseph P. Leverich, CPA, is managing partner and President of The Leverich Group, a Salt Lake City-based CPA and management consulting firm specializing in solutions and services to businesses and individuals. E-mail your comments and questions to [email protected] or phone (801) 364-4949.