(Time to read this Blog is about 2.5 minutes)
Before we get to the main topic, here are a few things to get you thinking:
- My biz quote of the week:
“Many of my clients complain about ‘unfair competition’. Unless we’re competing with the government or the mafia, there is no such thing as unfair competition. ‘Unfair competition’ generally means that you didn’t do anything new and wonderful, somebody else did…and you’re ticked!
- I have one virtual ‘Business Coaching’ spot open. If you’d like to achieve some or all of these important outcomes in your business, perhaps we should chat about ‘Biz Coaching possibilities’:
1- Create and deliver compelling customer value and experiences that give you a clear competitive advantage, increased sales and increased profitability.
2- Market, promote and sell more effectively on a tight budget in a cynical and over-served market. There’s no point being the ‘best’ if you’re also the best kept
3- Attract, engage and retain a dedicated, top-performing team. Every business needs to become a ‘talent magnet’. Also, how to deal effectively with non-performers.
4- Improve management effectiveness, develop world-class operating efficiency, and improve profitability now and for the long term. How to delegate and grow without losing control.
5- Create a clear Vision for the future of your business, a effective Action Plan to get there, and a culture of commitment, urgency and accountability to make sure that you do. When required, this also includes developing a clear ‘succession plan and exit strategy’.
6- Help sort out issues in partnerships and family businesses regarding partner disagreements or generational differences in business goals, expectations, capabilities or management style.
If you’d like to chat, confidentially, I’m easy to find at 416-252-3703, or you can email me at email@example.com and ask for our Info Sheet on the virtual 4-month Biz Coaching program.
Now, to this week’s important topic:
Does time matter in your business?
I see way too many businesses in which time seems not to matter. There’s little or no sense of urgency, no clear performance deadlines and, as a result, no specific commitments.
Meetings don’t start on time, deadlines are seldom met and calls and emails are not retuned promptly. Time is wasted, customers feel dishonoured, business is lost and your best people get frustrated. Many of them will leave and the mediocre ones who stay will take ‘I don’t give a damn’ pills and keep showing up.
Three weeks ago I left a phone message for the Small Business Account Manager at the bank we’ve done business with for 40 years. I’ve not heard back from him. Where are the clear service standards, the commitment to urgency and the systems and processes to make it happen? And where are the ‘career consequences’ for those who choose not to perform? Failure to measure performance and failure to deal with non-performance are two of the biggest problems in many businesses today.
A few years ago I did some biz coaching for 2 brothers who owned a large marina that specialized in selling and servicing motor yachts from 50’ to 90’. They also had over 200 rental boat slips and a ‘gas dock’. It costs $3,000 to $8,000 to fuel up those cruisers, so the gas dock is a big revenue generator. But, as there are several other large marinas in the area, they had lots of competition for fuel sales.
One of the brothers bragged to me that, a few years ago, they installed a soft ice cream machine on the gas dock and offered free ice cream cones to fuel customers…and that it was a huge hit! But the other brother confided to me that the ice cream machine had been broken for the past two summers. I asked, “So how much have fuel sales declined in those past two seasons?” The answer was, “Fuel sales are down by 28%.”
You can’t believe this stuff! Two summers of drastically falling sales and nobody made the phone call to the ice cream machine company for a service call. Nobody had the sense of urgency to make the damn call! Not the two partners, not their two entitled, idiot sons in the business and none of their 47 employees, because they didn’t think it was their job.
Looking at it from a different perspective, someone else was asleep at the switch also. Their supplier of the liquid ice cream mix for the machine should have immediately noticed that the marina stopped ordering product and looked into it. If they had, they could have made the service call themselves and paid to have the machine fixed so they could keep selling a ton of product.
So here are a few tips:
- Start meetings on time. Have a set agenda and a pre-announced ‘end time’. And end at that time. This is so simple to do and it sends a clear message that time is valuable and it matters.
- Create clear expectations and performance standards regarding how long it will take to answer the phone, return calls, answer emails, deal with complaints, acknowledge a customer when they enter your retail business, follow up re previously booked appointments (dentists do this really well…doctors never) etc.
- Make sure you have the systems and processes in place that help make things happen on time.
- Give and ask for clear and specific completion commitments for all tasks and projects. Those commitments can be ‘renegotiated’ when necessary, but there’s always a commitment date. Businesses don’t die from a single shot to the head. They die slowly but surely from a thousand uncompleted tasks. The 10 magic words that create clarity, urgency, commitment and accountability in any business are, “By when can we agree that this will be completed?” Document the commitment and follow up. The world is run by those who follow up.
So, be honest, do you have the sense of urgency and respect for time that’s needed in every part of your business…or have things gotten a bit ‘slacksidasical’ (I made that one up)? If so, what are you going to do about it…and by when will you do it? Making time matter in your business or department starts with you.
That’s it for this week…
Stay safe…live brilliantly!
Donald Cooper speaks and coaches internationally on management, marketing, and profitability. He can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org in Toronto, Canada.