Archive for category Business Basics

Think service or fail

If ever there was a case for making sure your service has to be spot on, check out the early reviews online about Lumosity, the mind game site. People have rated it very poorly, on service, on responsiveness, of not being able to get a person on the phone, the auto renewal for charges, and the list goes on.

The people at Lumosity would do well to read some of these and act fast. Not sure if they have or not, but they will need to do something to stem the tide of negativity from their consumers that all the advertising in the world will not overcome.

In this enlightened age most people I know will now check reviews for anything they want to buy, and if it’s not so hot, they will check out other options.

What gives?

Customer service is a vital part of what your business does, get good at it… No get brilliant at it.

Who cares?

Your bottom line will care that’s who! and then you will, especially if your income drops too far. Then don’t come running to me saying “business is tight, people aren’t buying” etc.

Fact is people know what they want, a business that is easy to deal with, responsive and makes them feel ok at the very least. Lumosity reviews suggest the company does little of the above. If I had read these first I would would have avoided it. However I personally find it a useful mind tool to explore and so far I am reasonably happy, I have turned off my auto renewal and have not had to contact customer service!

Get Smart

Yes there are lessons here folks, get smart about finding out what your service is like, what things need to alter and do it fast. and don’t just say “Oh that was just one grumpy customer that complained” go all out and launch an investigation to discover if things could have been done better. Chances are you will discover plenty to work on. Send in spies, have your spies ring in and ask for quotes, information etc and see how well they were handled.

Get active

Make changes if you find any issues that can be improved. Let’s face it customer service is the first and last contact point you will have with customers, the product/service you provide will simply be the ‘meat in the sandwich’.

Regards

Steve Gray

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Reputations Matter

ReputationYour organisations reputation can be a major key in making sure your business succeeds, lousy reputation and you could go ‘down the gurgler’ unless you have some sort of monopoly.

In a competitive world you are up against competitors who don’t need to run your business down, if you are already losing points by not attending to some key attributes of reputation.

Take a look at the list below, and think about if you even have a small handle on any of these pointers, let alone the whole list.

Nine Key Attributes of Reputation

  • Innovation
  • People management
  • Use of corporate assets
  • Social responsibility
  • Quality of management
  • Financial soundness
  • Long-term investment value (for those with investors of some kind)
  • Quality of products / services
  • Competitiveness – Local and or global

Want people to love your business and therefore buy more, partner with you more, get excited about what you have to offer? Then work on the key traits, learn more about them, work the list until your organisations reputation is where it needs to be.

You will also note in working on your organisations reputation that your business will flourish as you make steps into each area and develop the enterprise more.

Which one will you and your team tackle first?

Regards

Steve Gray free business tips

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New recruit blues

Recruit circleThe good people on the twentieth floor in the HR Dept decided to place a new recruit in your department. Sweet! you need an extra hand, you know the person has been through the induction program on the fifth floor and is “ready to make a solid impression”.

After a short while you find things ending up in the wrong place, time is lost searching for those ‘things’ and training the ‘newbie’ in the job specific details they need to get going, is taking its toll on the work you need to get done.

You knew it might happen, the new person has to find their feet,and in time you get the impression they will be a solid contributor to your team. So what to do to make their start positive, get to a productive point fast and not lose the ‘things’ that everyone needs?

Firstly, know as much about the person as possible in advance… Hopefully you don’t find out about the new person at 5pm Friday with them starting at 9am Monday! If you have been part of the hiring process you might know them very well, if not chat with HR about what’s in their resume, how they handled the interview etc, then check out social media for more details on likes and dislikes.

Secondly, be nice… If  you are a grumpy pain the the butt type of person and are not willing to change long term, see what you can do in the short term. Make the person feel at home, be polite, show them around, introduce them to the other team members. Show them their workspace and where the important things are… toilets, lunch room etc.

Thirdly, give them a buddy… A person who can relate to the ‘newbie’ pass on all sorts of vital information, how things work and has a good grasp of “who’s who in the zoo” this person can do most of the training part with you as a go to sidekick.

Finally, meet chat and listen… The new person can settle in fast, so find time to sit with them and have a chat about how things are going, any specific challenges they might face and ways they might overcome them.

Oh sure there are about a hundred other things you can do to add to this list, like checking their productivity at relevant stages every so oftem against Key Performance Criteria, and even asking them for suggestions on ways to improve things (remember to listen…) and the list goes on.

Make the person feel part of the team fast, then you can sense the notion of having set someone on the right path with the right support.

Regards

Steve Gray Free Business Tips

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Two Types of Business

laptop peopleOne – Local, the type that provides serivces and products to the local community, the money comes in and stays in that community. By doing this the local community moves the money about locally and no $$ gain is made.

Two – Global, the type that draws money into the local community by providing products and or services to the wider world. By doing this the local community benefits by having more $$ to spend.

When regional or city areas look to developing businesses it would pay to know the difference between these two and focus on those which offer the best opportunity for the tasks at hand. In an ideal world there would be a cohesive mix of both types, as the momentum builds for one, so the other would probably need to grow.

The challenge is knowing what to do to be able to build each and provide relevant training and development to boost each appropriately.

Regards

Steve Gray Free Business Tips

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Crucial questions for start ups

New business ventures require plenty of planning. Here are five questions that all aspiring start up’s need to consider.

1. Have I done the right amount and types of research?

The excitement of starting a new business can cause new business person to be too hasty. Often driven by the mistaken belief that some imaginary boat will be missed if the business isn’t started NOW, this haste can result in the cutting of corners, particularly in the area of research.

You need to research potential markets, the activities of competitors, the mechanics of the business, financial projections and methods of marketing to name a few.

However, too much research can signal and fuel procrastination. Many prospective business owners remain just that – prospective – rendered motionless under the weight and anxieties caused by research excess.

Do your best to strike a happy medium between these extremes.

2. Have I been realistic about the pitfalls?

If you’re starting up a new business, you’ll know there are risks involved. It’s really important, though, you draw the distinction between risk and irresponsibility. In a nutshell, risk is not usually terminal. Sure the business itself might fail, but the possibility of loss will have been foreseen and personal disaster will generally have been avoided. Irresponsibility on the other hand generally indicates that pitfalls have been blatantly ignored.

When risks takers don’t pull it off, it’s onto the next venture or project. When the irresponsible fail, it’s lose everything and head back to employment.

3. Am I cut out to work on my own?

Working for yourself sounds like bliss and to many it is. To others, however, it’s lonely, isolating and can be downright destructive.

Before starting out on your own, take a good look at your strengths and weaknesses. Ask yourself these questions as a starting point:

  • In what way might my behaviours sabotage my business?
  • Am I a good problem solver?
  • Will I interact with enough people during the week to keep me sane?
  • Can I strike the balance between ‘freedom’ and discipline?

The answers will help reveal your readiness to go it alone or figure out if you need to work as part of an incubator, co-working space or be an active part of forums and business groups to keep the isolation factor to a minimum.

4. Can I handle administrative tasks AND develop my business?

‘How did I get here?’ is a common complaint of the new start up. Just a few months into the business and the optimism of the pre-start period has been replaced with mountains of paperwork and endless to do and action lists. At this point, days can go by when nothing seems to get done.

This can be due to insufficient thought being given to the mechanics of the business, i.e. a lack of procedures. Formulate procedures beforehand and you’ll find it easier to keep control of your business once you’re up and running, even if they are simplistic to begin with.

5. Do I have sufficient financial reserves?

Commonly, start-ups are under funded with insufficient reserves to survive the development period. Often the new owner opts for the “she’ll be right” seat of the pants approach to business – not a sensible strategy.

Of course occasionally we hear of an under-capitalised business that launches and succeeds effortlessly. But ever wondered why it’s so newsworthy?

Imagine trying to promote, market and network your business when you’re anxious about whether you’ll meet the next rent payment. Not only is it very personally draining, it becomes very apparent to others that you’re in difficulty.

It’s a harsh reality, but few want to give custom to a business that appears to be failing. Make sure you have the funds to ride out the storm.

A lot is said of the high percentage of businesses that fail. Don’t let yours become a sad statistic. Do your preparation and create the best journey of your life!

Regards

Steve Gray

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