Let us assume that you would rather be successful in business than not. Correct? If you think that’s a ridiculous question to pose then why, oh why, do so many companies go belly up or find that they are losing valuable territory to their competitors? There has to be a reason why more companies fail in their first year of operation than succeed. Well, yes, there is, and if a lack of money is not the reason, then what is? Very likely unsuccessful, poorly performing companies have just gotten a few basic things backwards. Do not worry – the fix is straightforward and uncomplicated (unless you happen to be a distinctly horrid human being in which case nothing will help and you deserve to go out of business and have rotten eggs thrown at you!).
There is no frightfully long list of do’s and don’ts – really only a few things to remember but these are critical to your success (and success here means firing on all cylinders, not just chugging along gasping for air like you have emphysema). Oh, there’s one other thing to note - it does require consistently hard work. By the way, none of this will be Earth shattering.
Again, assuming competence in your field of endeavour, CUSTOMER SERVICE is the most important element to remember. Not only do you have to believe that your first responsibility is to your customer, you also must show it. By the way, this does not mean that you become a snake oil salesperson and compliment them so much your tongue is hanging on the ground. This means that you as the owner/manager must get everyone in your company to understand that providing your customer with the best possible service is the right thing to do. This will ensure they want to keep doing business with you – FOREVER! Oh, and here’s a news flash! If you treat your employees just as well as your customers, then this is how the magic happens. This is not some touchy feely seminar advice; this is simply based on human behaviour. If everyone feels valued and actually wants to come to work each day (well, except on their birthday—what’s that all about?), then this will naturally and organically (whoa! there’s a touchy feely word) transmit itself to the customer and they will feel like they’re walking into a bit of paradise when they work with you (ok - maybe that was a bit too much, right?). A company that really gets to know its customers, what they want and why they want it, knows precisely how to serve them best. Do not be afraid to meet them on a regular basis (and not just to deliver a gift basket at Christmas). They do not bite. True.
Along with excellent customer service, you must ensure that the way you run your company allows you to provide this outstanding service all the time. Internally, if your company looks like a disorganized junk filled and cluttered teenager’s room (and it’s not just the boys, btw), then all the stellar customer service won’t matter- they will quickly smell the rotten socks! So what does this mean? It means you must be fast, as accurate as is possible, and flexible. That’s it. Clearly, your customer wants his product/service yesterday. If you are slow because of inefficiency, stop it. If you are trying to get everything perfect, stop it - no one is perfect so just get as close as you can. If you have a set of rules that you can never break and this slows you down, stop it. You need to adapt to the customer, not the other way around.
Just as important as these two points is the company philosophy that trickles from the top down, from the owner/boss down to the cleaners who keep your place spotless. Always understand that no one is perfect, no one has all the answers all the time, there is never only one way to do things, and that change is the only thing you can always count on so embrace it and make it work for you. Never be afraid of challenges and encourage your employees to take intelligent risks (not like leaving your mother-in-law stranded at the airport hoping she’ll get lost and go away- you’ll pay for that one).
Finally, and no less important, dare to be different. Do not look at your competitors and try to replicate what they’re doing. What if they’re the ones that have it wrong. Trust your own gut. Try something new, be innovative. Do something that the competition is not doing. Stand out. If everyone is dressing in black and white, you dress in colour. A successful business does not happen by itself. You’ve heard the expression “it takes a whole village to raise a child”; well, it takes everyone in a company to make a happy and satisfied customer and that happy and satisfied customer will spread the word and the word is good - actually it’ll be “fabulous”, “amazing”, “non-pareil” (haha, look that last one up!). Let us say it again, it’s not rocket science.