If you, as entrepreneurs often do, are musing about how you can improve your business right now by doing something different and creative you might want to think about an interesting saying that I came across a while ago.
“No one can go back and make a brand new start. Anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending”. I have never managed to find the author (and if you know please tell me) but I salute the thinking.
If you wanted to apply this thought to your business you could imagine you were about to launch your business tomorrow or next week and re-experience the terror and excitement of a new venture.
If you were truly able to put yourself in this mode you would walk on water to satisfy a potential customer requirement, you would speculate about what they were thinking endlessly and try to anticipate their needs. Any staff member who was careless of lazy towards a new or prospective customer would not enjoy their subsequent chat with you. You would drink champagne with your people when you got orders that today seem trivial. A spelling mistake on a brochure or invoice would have been cause for a tantrum. A new customer secured would see the salesperson honoured and rewarded.
You would be well aware that to convert a potential customer into an actual customer you would have to compete with other suppliers who were more established, and had functioning relationships with the customer. You would have worked out ways of competing, and you would have succeeded enough times to have survived the start up phase and be here reading this. Those competitive actions would have been energetic, creative, customer centric and smart. They would have had to be.
In the midst of your anxiety and roller-coaster enjoyment you would prowl your premises looking for a single thing out of place or dirty. Nothing would be allowed to make your business appear uncaring or broken down. Vehicles had better be clean and in good order and deliveries arrive as scheduled to the minute. The person who let a phone ring unanswered was in deep trouble indeed!
But most of all you would have a plan. The plan may have been optimistic or it may have suggested that some of your business future lay in a direction that was subsequently found to be a dead end. But you would have gone out and developed new business opportunities with energy and creativity, just like the plan said. You would have a forecast of sales that you saw frequently in your dreams; it was that much of a focus in your life. Each step of each sales cycle would be examined and noted. Obstacles would be ruthlessly eliminated. You would have had a sales meeting every week, and although it may have been pretty inefficient it did serve to keep focus on progressing sales.
Every time you saw a competitor’s products you would worry that your products were inferior or too expensive by comparison. You may be smiling right now as you remember the inappropriate times when you would be redesigning products or seeing where you could reduce costs – like at dinner parties, with your spouse nudging you angrily as you daydreamed of a new feature.
Is your business the same today? Do you compete with the same ferocity? Do you reward good work and correct poor performance as you used to? Are your products examined and improved with the same anxiety you used to display? Crucially are your customer relations and customer centricity as good as they were in those early days? And finally, do you have a plan you are working to?
If not some new kid on the block may be about to take your customers away from you and make better products for less, and make you look inefficient, grubby and careless. Think about it and perhaps start again now, to fashion a brand new and better ending.
Can you think of good things you did at start up? Please leave a comment to build this idea.
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