In part 2 of of "How to Become a More Effective and Efficient Businessperson" we look at some more points to help you run your business more efficiently.
Use Professionals or outsource work where Necessary
Outsource specialized work and don’t try and do everything yourself as you may just land up doing everything half-heartedly and not 100% correct. Get an accountant to do your accounts, get a professional designer to create your business newsletter or brochure, get I.T technicians to set up a company network. You get the drift!
Treat your customers and suppliers with the same amount of respect.
Without reliable suppliers your business runs the risk of being labeled “an unreliable company” as well and in turn could cause you to lose customers. Ensure that you use reputable suppliers, pay your suppliers on time and treat them with the same amount of respect that you would give to any one of your customers.
Be humble enough to admit when you have made a mistake and others will appreciate your honesty and respect you for it. Never let your ego prevent you from being humble and learning from others.
Being flexible and understanding people’s situations will definitely stand you in good stead in your business career. If a particular client contacts you to let you know that they won’t be able to make a payment for the next week because they live on a farm and they are busy waiting for Telkom to connect their line then be flexible enough to accommodate this client’s request. They are aware that they need to pay and they will pay next week. A total lack of flexibility might see you lose your customer in one fell swoop!
Be familiar with legalities or make sure you can ask someone who does
Familiarize yourself with employment legalities such as sick days, paid leave, deductions and dismissals. You will have to deal with these issues at some stage so be sure to know your facts!
Keep a diary or calendar
As you get busy and busier it can be quite difficult to keep track of meetings, business travel, presentations and even admin work. Microsoft Outlook has a great calendar function for you to keep track of your appointments and even cell phones have calendars so there is no excuse. You may think that you can remember it all but rather be safe than sorry and get into the habit of writing things down!
Know your industry and your competition
You need to make sure that as a business owner, you keep abreast of all the latest developments in your particular industry. Go on courses, attend relevant conferences or presentations and subscribe to industry magazines (if there are any) as well as any industry associations that organize regular conferences or sessions on industry updates. Always be aware of new competition, their strong points and weak points and identify areas where your business can improve to compete with others.
Create less admin for yourself
Do things properly from the start and you’ll have a lot less admin to deal with down the line. File documents in a logical order and store in relevant files, label your CD’s, keep software in a safe place and all in one place, use a professional accounting program even if your business is small, implement an inter-office messaging system, automate processes wherever you can and create a to-do list in one place. If a certain process saves you from hours of admin, then implement it!
Improve People Skills
When hiring staff be sure to hire people that will fit in well with the organization. Assess the qualities that you find important in a prospective employee and make sure that you can relate and get on with that person because they may be spending up to 40 odd hours a week with you. Always make sure that your staff receives contracts that stipulate their duties and responsibilities as well as company rules and regulations. If you are not good with dealing with people and you are aware of it, perhaps go on a HR course. If your staff turnover is high, perhaps ask yourself why and what you can do to improve it? Perhaps the salary is too low and the hours too long for the amount of work involved.
Sticking to Deadlines
Being a reliable business person is a major part of being a professional business person and if you make a point of sticking to deadlines then your customer base will be more likely to send more business your way and refer others to you as well.
Be Honest with Customers
If your client phones asking on the progress of a piece of furniture that they have ordered from you, tell them the truth! If you haven’t even started making it, then tell your client that it isn’t in production yet. Being honest is the best policy. The client might be disappointed at first but at least they know then not to expect their new couch within the next week.
Becoming a more effective and efficient businessperson is definintely a process, it's not something that happens overnight. You always need to be on the lookout for new ways in which you can improve both your business and the way in which you conduct business. Making these small changes will help you become more effective and efficient in business and you will no doubt experience the benefit of these changes.