“Successful people do what unsuccessful people are not willing to do. Don’t wish it were easier; wish you were better.” – Jim Rohn
Have you ever wondered why some businesses succeed and some fail? They can be exactly the same sort of business and one will go flying ahead and the other will constantly struggle and eventually go under. Most businesses survive or thrive in good economic times which reminds me of the quote by John F Kennedy, “A rising tide lifts all boats”. However, in tough times this is where we find out who has got what it takes to push through and succeed. Over the past decade I have coached and interviewed many successful Business owners and what stood out to me was their routine or daily practice of the little things, that over a period of time, have built their successful businesses.
On the other hand, I have observed other businesses who often have initial success, but are not practising a very disciplined approach, and then slowly and painfully decline into oblivion. Some of the elementary errors they make can easily be rectified and yet seldom are. For example, a coffee shop that constantly gets customer orders wrong, a professional services company that takes ages to give a quote and then doesn’t follow up the client proposals they have sent, a Real Estate Agent that never returns phone calls, and tradies who never get back to people for quotes, or who are notorious for leaving a mess for the client to clean up after a job.
Then there are the annoying things, such as hospitality venues not updating their opening hours or their menus on their Facebook pages or their websites. Insurance companies or Government Departments who leave clients on hold for an hour or so and then they get cut off after they have had to painfully listen to boring messages saying your enquiry can be handled online every few minutes which is a blatant lie otherwise you wouldn’t have rung them. Many of these things are preventable by careful planning and small daily actions with the focus on how best to help your customer. Listen to constructive client feedback and then act upon it.
Self-discipline is the key! Set key performance indicators for you and your staff that need to be met every day. For example, we will return client phone calls or emails within 24 hours. We will keep customers in the loop about their orders, their complaints, and any changes that are occurring. We will communicate clearly what we can and can’t do and set realistic expectations especially if there are issues with supply due to the current pandemic, war, or other natural disasters. In other words, stay close to your customers.
Never use the excuse you are too busy! Everyone is. Plan better, be aware of your limitations especially with regards to your capacity to take on new clients and new work. Set a routine and stick to it. Don’t create chaos and remember, it is the little things that matter.