Business Cracks Will Break Your Business’ Back

Do you remember what we used to say as kids, “step on a crack, and break your mamas’ back!”? Well, now that we are all grown up, the old adage still rings true – to an extent. As adults in the business world, we are discovering that actually stepping on your business cracks without repairing them can really break its back.

Are there cracks in your business? Not just your foundation, but in other areas, as well?

Business cracks come from errors. Errors come from a lack of knowledge, a lack of resources and a lack of cash. In all honestly though, errors can result from a variety of things.

The problem occurs when we focus on quick fixing the crack. Quick fixes happen when we fail to determine the true cause of the crack (error, problem, challenge, etc.). It all boils down to re-learning the simple equation of cause and effect related to your business.

We spend so much time on fixating on the error rather than actually eliminating the cause of the error that our businesses begin failing.

Try to imagine it this way. Imagine your business is the earth and you are out in space orbiting your “business earth,” looking for rough areas, soft areas and smooth areas. The smooth areas are good to go but the rough and soft areas need work. Taking a birds-eye view of your business is ok but taking the “business earth” view of your business is taking how you operate your business to a completely strategic level.

For example, a rough area indicates a bumpy path or a bumpy area of your Small Business System.™ So, maybe the way you are going about managing your daily administrative tasks takes up all your time and you never get a chance to actually do what you planned to do on any given day. You answer phone calls, you check emails, you create your to do lists, and so on. All these administrative tasks are getting done but they are the only things getting done. The marketing, selling, planning, managing and other strategic work is being pushed to the side. As a result, goals are not being met, existing customers are not being serviced, new customers are not being acquired, important deadlines are being pushed back, and before you know it, it is the end of the year and your cash flow is still in the red.

This is a business crack that needs fixing. But do not begin repairing this crack by changing your hours or turning off your email. Rather, begin repairing the crack by determining the root cause of the crack.

Attack the cause first – not the effect of the cause.

Begin repairing the cause of your business cracks with these four steps:

1. Determine if it is the rough areas that need to be worked on first or if it is the soft areas that are ready to cave in and that need the attention immediately. How do you know which crack need your immediate attention? It is based on your culture and strategic goals. Are you meeting your own expectations? Are your strategic goals set and are you on track to meet them? Only you can decide what needs immediate attention first; think long-term versus short-term fixes.

2. Begin breaking down the soft and rough areas within the key functions of your business and rank accordingly, based on what you need to work on first.
Compare these to the goals you have already set; are you doing what you say you are going to do or do you keep doing the same things over and over again and getting less than stellar results? Are you the main cause of the cracks in your business?

3. Make a list of your top five business cracks and prioritize them.
Take your list and put your business cracks in order of importance and emergency. There may be some cracks that need fixing in order for you to stay in business! Put those at the top of your list.

4. Take on each crack one at a time.
Determine the cause of these cracks and create a strategy to alleviate them. This will take a little time but not too much. The best way to do this is to list out the action steps that need to happen to fix the cause of the cracks – put them in order and determine a schedule of completion.

Stop quick fixing your business errors and start with correcting the root cause of the error. Your business backbone will thank you with consistent cash flow and profits!

Remember, business cracks can break you business’ back!

Copyright Efficio, Inc.

by Sherese Duncan, president & CEO, Efficio, Inc.

Is the Economy the Only Thing Holding Your Business Back?

Dale Carnegie once said, “The only way to get someone to do something you want them to, is for them to want to do it too.” For you as a business owner, manager or leader of any capacity, this still rings true. So in these economic times, how do you get an employee, customer or someone part of your professional life to do something you both want them to do?

Many employers are feeling the pinch in these times. Not as many customers equals not enough sales equals not enough revenue (for those of you wondering, yes, I obviously aced 4th grade math).

But is the so-called recession the only thing causing your business not to thrive the way you dreamed it to? Unless you’re in the John McCain bumper sticker business, I’m going to say NO! As the great motivator George Bernard Shaw once wrote, “The reasonable person adapts himself to the world. The unreasonable person persists in trying to adapt the world to themself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable person.” So my question to you is, are you still trying to work with reasonable, pre-recession business-building techniques or are you taking a step back to see how you can adapt to our ever-changing world?

Sounds like a catchy line you’d hear at an Anthony Robbins seminar right? Maybe. However, it’s really not complicated. The tendency is to over think just about everything when all we really have to evaluate is one thing; relationships. No, this is not a Hallmark lead-in. Stay with me on this.

Think about it. What is your business made of besides a building, a desk, some computers, a parking lot and the product/service you provide? Alright fine, I’ll give you the answer to everything. PEOPLE! Who MAKES your product? People. Who SELLS your product? People. And who BUYS your product? And BINGO was his name! So if you want to grow your business, grow your people! Always remember, people move products. Products don’t move people.

Now, how do we build up people (customers, employees, etc) in a way that they will do, perform, buy anything you’d like them to? Here’s a hint: Babies cry for it, and men die for it.
Stay tuned for more in the next article…

Repeat Business: The Art of Bringing Business Back

The balance in potential business income is easy to understand, but hard to nail. If you provide a service that only requires one visit per customer or one visit every few years, you need to charge a rather high price just to keep yourself out of the unemployment line. But if you have a service or product that customers will constantly want or need, you can charge low because you know they will be back the next day or the next week.

The best franchise opportunities to get into are the ones that can possibly serve each customer every day. Fast food vendors top the lists every time. Subway, McDonalds and the like actually have repeat customers on a daily basis. Janitorial services are also rather regular repeat business transactions. An office might require your services once a week and you might have ten offices a week. My art workshops are great for regular repeat business because my students come back weekly for a workshop and they go from workshop to workshop. This provides me with the chance of getting to know them on a more personal level.

Construction and real estate top the lists for one stop customers. A big time tycoon might need more than one house a year. But, the individual home owner might average a house per every seven years. Construction and real estate are great businesses to be in when the market is good, but you will rarely work with the same customer on a monthly or even yearly basis. Tax consultation is another great business to be in, but you will only work with your customers once a year. These types of businesses can be very lucrative if you position yourself in the right place at the right time and are on top of your game.

So, when you are looking for that perfect entrepreneurial opportunity, I suggest you narrow your search down to the type of business that pulls customers back in your doors more regularly. Low overhead, minimum inventory business opportunities get you into business with little start up capital. And there are great opportunities in place that meet that criterion.

What is actually required to start an art workshop center? You need a location. I’ve seen plenty of art workshops run out of the home until enough money was generated to move the location. Actually, it helped promote and attract my students. Starting one in your home is a more welcome atmosphere to get to know your initial students. Plus, they feel more at ease about taking your workshop.

Students can easily be required to bring their own art supplies unless you actually want to add a small supply shop so that students have supplies readily available to them just in case they need something during the workshop. You can also add bonus supplies that come with signup to any of your workshops. It’s easy to cover if you just add the cost to tuition. You can get the supplies fairly cheap when you order in bulk and you can require students to pay in advance so that you are not coming out of pocket for anything.

Now, all you need are the students. My art workshop franchise has everything in place for you to get started from marketing to training. It’s a step by step process that comes with constant support. I’ve even personally walked several of my students through the process of starting their own workshop. But, we have so many more resources in place since those beginning days.