There are now over 7 billion potential customers in the global business village. It's an amazing statistic that is actually a little scary and for businesses in the modern age, trying to compete and connect with this world can be overwhelming at the best of times.
I often relate running a business today akin to being a plate spinner in a circus. You have so many things to be across and you have to keep all the plates turning, running frantically from one end to the other checking each facet of the business/plate and applying the appropriate spin to keep everything in harmony. Sadly for many of us mere mortals, plates often get forgotten or overlooked and fall. So how do you keep up with it all? Here are my top 10 tips to help you succeed in modern business.
1. WORK OUT - Now I know this sounds cliche but keeping yourself fit can be one of the best things you can do to stay on top of your life and your workload, Sir Richard Branson swears by it! Keeping physically fit will improve your mental health and alertness to help you better tackle the challenges in your day and night. Find the time, make the time!
2. TECHNOLOGY - Some of you will embrace it, others will hate it. Whatever the case you need to find your own rhythm with technology and then try to use the technology to your benefit, not detriment. Personally, I think there is a minimum tool set that you need to be functional in today's world. a). ADSL Internet with wireless connectivity b). PC or laptop c). a smart phone and or a tablet. If you are not comfortable with technology then ring a support company and get them to set you up. These items will help you better organise your schedule, enable you to work on the move and stay connected, which brings me to my next point.
3. GET CONNECTED - The pace of the world today is staggering. New products, new legislation, industry trends, industry events, news alerts...the list goes on. So getting connected is all the more important. Now there are lots of ways of doing this but by far the simplest is to use your technology. Through your smart phone or tablet you can access some great products or apps that will help access vast resources of information in short grabs. My personal favourites are, Google News and Flipboard (available for iphone or Android). It is also important to connect with your industry, so subscribe to as many industry groups or publications as possible and share these publications with staff if you have them.
4. PLAN - My favourite two sayings are "If you aim at nothing, you are bound to hit it" and "those that fail to plan, plan to fail"
5. MEASURE - I am a huge fan of Dashboards. You wouldn't drive a car without a dashboard so why would you drive your business without one. A Dashboard is a central document that brings together information to assist you measure your business performance. You might have a "Sales Dashboard" that measures daily sales, top 10 products, Sales by rep, Top customer by month, Sales by product group etc. They take some time to create but once built they can be an invaluable tool. What Dashboards would you need?
6. COVER THY BACKSIDE - Make sure you have your Derriere covered by not skimping on Legals or Insurances. Is your Intellectual Property (IP) safe, do you have employment agreements in place, are you compliant with Workplace Health and Safety, do you have a Risk Assessment Plan, If you give advice of any kind do you need Professional Indemnity, are any trade marks registered domestically and internationally (or with customs), do the products you sell need to meet any local standards or have any certification or labeling requirements. Actually finding out what your liabilities are can be a real challenge in itself!
7. WORK / LIFE BALANCE - Do you work to live or live to work? This is a question that you need to ask yourself and be honest with yourself about the answer. If you live to work, then I guess it is inconsequential the amount of time you spend doing it. It's just that at some stage you will need to take a break or divert your mental focus. If you don't then long term you may become disenchanted with your life. Finding time to do other things is actually healthy and its amazing how you can gain new perspective when you break free from the bubble every now and then. Family is often the sad victim of business! Remember that you are part of that world also.
8. PEOPLE ARE YOUR BIGGEST ASSET - People are by far your biggest asset. Staff, suppliers, support people and friends. Treat them with respect and you will receive it in return. I like the emotional Bank account theory where you have to make deposits before you can make withdrawals. Every now and then, just stop, sit back and think about the people in your business and your life. What gives them fulfillment, what makes them feel appreciated and special. The smart operators do this and reap the rewards. Not just financially!
9. CUSTOMER FOCUSED - The best advice I can give anyone is this "Don't do it if the customer doesn't benefit".
10. RELAX YOU IDIOT - You need to learn to breathe. Yoga, meditation, a long walk in the park. Just learn to clear the noise from your head and RELAX. No point earning it if you are tied up like a ball and often that stress comes out in many other ways. So just relax a little and things will happen a lot easier.
By Jason Marshall