You have an endless list of things to do today.
You have a million things to think about.
People to get back to. Orders to get out.
Have enough of these days and it becomes easy to lose focus of what is really important.
Allow me to help you find your balance by focusing on the most important thing in your business.
Your Most Important Asset
I’m pretty sure it was Seth Godin who said it; though I can’t find it anywhere. It went something like, “If you don’t have a customer, you don’t have a business.”
Read it again.
Let it sink in.
There’s a common misconception out there about how to start a business. Somehow it got into the drinking water that there are these things that make for a successful venture. Have you heard these before?
You must start your business with capital or investors.
To have a business you must register a business with CPICC.
To have a business you must have equipment, premises and staff.
To have a business you must have a special/unique product.
The problem is that none of these things will ensure that you are successful.
How many people have registered businesses only to do nothing with it? How many businesses start every year and fail even with the best equipment and staff?
Now think about this: How many people are currently reselling the product that you manufacture? Are they making money? Yes! They are possibly even profitable.
They have no equipment. They have no staff. Yet they have a viable business. Why? Beacuse there is a paying customer!
Is Your Business Customer Focused?
If you want a business that stands the test of time, you may need to change some things:
Get to know your clients and help them succeed.
Do you know why your customers buy the things they do from you? Maybe the stuff you manufacture forms part of their product. Or it forms part of their marketing efforts.
When I worked in the printing industry, our clients had various needs. Not all of them valued print in the same way. Some people were there for a business card. For others we were part of their supply chain; and therefore our relationship was stronger.
I realise you can’t do that with all of your clients. You would have to choose the most important ones to you and work on those.
Make them part of what you measure.
You’ve heard the saying “What gets measured gets done.”
If customers are important to your business then it would make sense for you to keep an eye on what is important to them.
If deliveries are important to them, make sure you are measuring this. If quality is important, make sure you are measuring returns.
Other metrics you may want to consider watching are:
The number of orders your top customers place,
Their average order size in quantity and value,
Would you be alerted if any of these changed?
When you shift your focus onto your customers, prioritising their satisfaction with your products or services, then having your nose stuck in income statements and balance sheets will no longer be the primary way to gauge success.
Change your business based on client needs
What is the next investment your business needs to make?
What equipment should you buy?
Should you expand into products X or Y or Z?
When you base these decisions on the customers you already have, then it becomes less risky.
An example in the printing industry is that we would take on work we didn’t do ourselves and would outsource them to other suppliers.
The idea behind this was that we could offer the same service to our other clients and once we have a big enough demand for the service we could quite comfortably bring it in-house.
Here’s What I’d Like You To Remember:
While there may be many who claim to be customer focused very few do anything to put action to that claim.
It can be easy to lose perspective in the busyness of everyday; remember to focus on your customers.
Help them succeed,
Make them part of your daily/weekly/monthly reports, and
Actively change your business based on their changing needs.