This chapter deals with the basic functions of your business. With the fast pace of today's business world, the basic functions can get overlooked. Reading this chapter will keep you in touch with some of the business fundamentals.
When someone walks into your business establishment, they judge it in the first few minutes from the appearance. If the result is good, that's great. If not, it is very difficult to gain trust from your potential customer. Your appearance is your image. Keep it above standards.
You, your employees, and anyone related to your business should also be neat and dressed in the proper apparel for the business. How would you feel, walking into a dealership, and having an unshaved salesman wearing shorts, a T-shirt, and sandals assist you in purchasing your new $42,000 car?
How would you feel, if a man dressed in a suit came to change the oil in your car? Every business has an expected appearance for its employees and operators. A highly unusual look makes the customer feel uncomfortable and start to wonder if you know what you're doing.
Your goal is to keep the customer comfortable and happy when they come to do business with you. Keep your business appearance in tiptop order. Remember: your appearance reflects your business practices.
Your business location today is not as important as it was many years ago. Today, we have a vast network of global communications, and more efficient shipping methods than we used to. But, if your business depends on walk-in clients, an appropriate location is still important.
Locating a clothing store in a high traffic
shopping mall will certainly increase sales relative to a location
out in the country. Another aspect of location is whether your business
is appropriate for the area. For example, if you have a sports clothing store, you wouldn't locate in the "tool and die" area of your city,
would you? Your business location should be in a high traffic area, where people would expect to find businesses of that type.
Obtain a Report Card:
Running a business can keep you oblivious to your environment. The repetition of your day-to-day routine makes your oversights seem normal. If you have been in business for many years, you can't see these faults in your own business.
For example, suppose you have a restaurant. Ask a friend or hire an outsider, who your employees don't know, to come in and rate the restaurant. He should come in as a regular customer, noting the service, the quality of the food, the cleanliness and general atmosphere. He could even try to be a little difficult with the staff to see how they react to problems.
It must be someone the staff doesn't know, because he must do this without receiving special treatment. Find a way to get a report card for your business.
Make Operations Easy For All:
Try and make operations easy for your customers, suppliers, and employees. Keeping the interests of others in mind is always good practice. Little things you implement in your business make a big difference for those people in contact with it.
You have a shipping and receiving area, where one person is in charge. During breaks, someone should be there to handle the shipping and receiving of small parcels. The people delivering to you also have a schedule and must be on time. Why should they have to wait for your staff to finish a break? Waiting makes the delivery people upset, because they will be late for their next drop off. They may also talk about how your business is unorganized, and they probably wouldn't recommend you to their friends.
A customer asks for an item, and you just ran out. You could say, "Check back in a couple of days." This does not do much for the customer. They will probably go to your competitor.
Make it easy for them. Say, "I am sorry, but I just sold the last one. If I could have your name and number, I will have one for you in two days, and I will call you when the shipment comes in, or I can have one delivered, as soon as they come in."
As well as making an extra sale, you also show the customer you care for them, and you will do your best to make sure he is satisfied. You are much more likely to convert this person into a "lifelong customer."
You notice the lighting in one of your employees' offices is dim. Have someone take care of the lighting before the employee requests it. Or, if the employee's work space is tight and unorganized, you could give that employee a free hour to organize the work space to become more comfortable.
This will not only make the employee more productive, but will let them know you care as a boss. Consider the above example. If those things were requested and you said, "No," do you think the employees would be very productive?
Making things easier on others goes a long way. You don't have to hire a consultant to turn your business upside down in order to make everything easy on others. Just by taking notice of your environment, you will make a big difference!
Organize everything in your business from the beginning and whenever starting a new project or department. It's easier to get organized when you start, as opposed to when things are already established. Use categories to keep everything in place physically: electronic or conventional paperwork.
You are running a clothing store. You would keep all the women's sports clothing in one section. On one rack, you could keep the same series, starting from the smallest to the largest size, then the brightest to the darkest colors. You could have a code for each article of clothing, coding it in the same sequence, as it is displayed. A system like this will allow you to quickly find the color or size when a customer comes in.
This quick access to the product will show you are organized and professional. You could have the article for the customer in seconds.
Another advantage is that, if you are not yet computerized, you could easily recognize the articles that need to be replaced before you place an order. To determine if your business is organized, you should be able to find what you need without looking for it. This refers to physical items, as well as to electronic and conventional paperwork.
If you find you have to look for everything you need, then why not take a day or two to organize your business? If this task seems overwhelming, then you could do it in a three-step process.
thing you want to keep in mind is that when you start your
organization, don't jump around. Stay on the same task
until it is finished.
Step One: Put Everything Into Categories.
Step Two: Sift Through The Categories.
For each category, get two boxes. Use the first box for things you want
to throw out. In the second box, put things you are not sure about.
Keep it around for a few months, then go through it again. This will
save time in deciding what to throw out and what to keep.
Step Three: Fine Tune Your Categories.
With each day that goes by, concentrate on one category. Fine tune it so that it is organized to your preference. Don't spend the whole day on the category. You still have to run your business. Spending an hour or two a day on each category should be sufficient.
It may take you a few days, a month or two, or even a year, but in the end it will be worth it. Your business will operate more efficiently; and, once you are organized, you will have developed the habit of keeping everything organized.
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Helpful Business Thoughts - These tips will help you stay on track and keep you more productive. They're simple, and they're essential.
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How to Eliminate Chaos in Your Business