Posts

What You Don’t Know Will Hurt You

Most entrepreneurs don’t start a business because they have a passion for running a business or are an expert on operations. They do it because they’re passionate about their idea and feel that what they have to offer is sure to attract their target audience. Unfortunately, the entrepreneur’s journey is never an easy one.

It’s true that what you don’t know will hurt you. The world is constantly changing, and savvy business owners understand that they need to make time to work on their business instead of in it. To be successful, they must constantly learn and stay current in their field, on employment, in marketing and so much more.

Here are a few tips to keep yourself in the know:

Hire Good Staff With Excellent Communication Skills

Besides having the skills to expertly perform the tasks of the position they are given, having excellent communication skills are a necessity and will also be a reflection of the company. Also, being able to clearly communicate helps keep employees, management and clients in tune with the business.

Hire a Good Business Coach

Business coaches often stay on top of the trends. They’ll be able to help you pinpoint what you’re missing, identify possible roadblocks, help you come up with strategies to address them and help you remain accountable when it comes to following through.

Be Flexible and Responsive

Research your industry and be ready for changes. If you’re not the kind of business owner who can be responsive and flexible to the needs of your business, entrepreneurship might not be for you.

Never Stop Learning

Today there are plenty of ways to maintain the learning process, and you should continually expand your knowledge base. Consider the following easy ways to keep up to date:

Attend Conferences

Conferences and networking events are the perfect opportunity to learn from people in your industry (including your competitors), listen to the speakers and meet people, including potential clients. Even if the presentation is about something you’re familiar with, it will reaffirm what you already know or provide inspiration.

Take an Online Course

There are online courses covering every topic these days, so the possibilities of furthering your education without leaving home are endless. Online courses are also a great way to achieve added business designations that can help improve your credibility.

Read

Read anything that applies to you and your business, whether it’s about improving your sales skills, wealth, communications, cold calling skills or making the most out or email or social media marketing. Even if the topic seems a bit dry, the usefulness may become relevant down the road.

Listen to Podcasts

Today’s podcast technology provides the convenient ability to listen to and take in different content topics during your down time. You can listen to podcasts in the car, on a plane or at the gym. Where ever you desire.

Always spend time learning and continuing to improve your business because what you don’t know will hurt you. But what you do know will set you apart from the competition.

Have you ever had a situation where what you didn’t know, hurt you? What did you learn from that event? I’d love to read your advice in the comments below.

What You Don’t Know Can Hurt You: Communication is Key

Does your staff communicate effectively?

Although many businesses put a lot of effort into the smooth exchange of information with their clients, interdepartmental and internal communication continues to fall short. A recent Computing Technology Industry Association survey cited by AZCentral found that 28 percent of IT professionals failed to deliver a project on time due to poor communication. Lack of communication can be detrimental to your business.

In many cases, the lack of communication is due to employees who are too busy with the daily demands of their jobs and fail to notice how their work impacts others. They’re unaware that a delay in communication can affect the practices and procedures of other employees. Occasionally they’ll plan to communicate, but get distracted, assume the other person got the memo, or they’ll simply forget.

While all departments must have communication practices in place, there are three departments that should take priority. There is a direct correlation to loss of revenue when it comes to miscommunication related to inventory management, sales and finance. Consider prioritizing your communication strategy with these teams first.

The Snowball Effect of Poor Communication with Inventory Management

If communication disintegrates, the company can count on a considerable loss of revenue. This is especially true in inventory management. For example, if your sales department performs well but doesn’t communicate the elevated demand to fulfillment, the customer service team will be unprepared for the influx of orders. Orders will be delayed, and you’ll lose business because disappointed customers will turn to other suppliers. Likewise, when sales teams miss their numbers but don’t communicate with other teams, you’ll end up with a flood of inventory that’ll incur storage fees, additional inventory management and may result in a loss.

Poor Communication With Sales Results in the Loss of Customers

Sales reps play a vital role in providing their customers with information. Communication issues that delay information to the sales team could result in sales reps who are unable to close a sale or provide correct answers to their customer’s questions. Neglecting to communicate new services or products results in missed upsell opportunities.

Poor Communication to Finance Results in Inaccurate Books

In smaller businesses, managers are often allowed to sign contracts or make purchases without involving someone in finance or accounting. Neglecting to convey expenses to the accounting department can result in unpaid bills, which damages the business’ credit. On the flip side, if the company issues a contract or makes a sale, but doesn’t appropriately communicate the new revenue stream to the accounting department, they may end up not collecting the funds.

Communication Leads to Trust

Efficient and accurate communication between departments builds trust within the business. When employees have confidence in each other, they trust the information they receive. Additional fact verification that typically slows down productivity is eliminated.

Operational Efficiency Leads to Profits and Growth

The “This is how it’s always been done” mentally can kill a company. We live in the information age where those who have it thrive and those who don’t quickly find their business is obsolete. Technology changes daily and businesses need to adjust by learning and sharing new information with each other. Accurate and timely information improves operational efficiency and businesses should invest in time to keep up with the trends.

Your business can increase your bottom line by creating or strengthening documented and verbal communication. If you’d like to see more revenue this year, give me a call. I can help you identify your communication gaps and put a process in place to improve efficiency.

Why Are Your Business’s Checks Bouncing?

As a successful business owner, you never want to run into a situation where you end up with a cash flow problem. checksThere is nothing that can ruin your credibility with suppliers faster than handing over a check that bounces. You’ve hired an office manager to handle your finances, but you’re spending money that she doesn’t know about. Then, she pays the bills thinking there’s money in the bank only to discover that those checks are bouncing. This causes embarrassment, leads to extra fees and may even lead to business failure.

Accountability is key. Here are some steps you can take to ensure that your checks don’t bounce:

  • 1. Get an accounting system that you can access and review online or on the go.
  • 
2. Put processes in place so that you know when the system is up-to-date and check it with regular frequency.
  • 
3. Communicate with your office manager, especially if you’re making expensive or high volume purchases.

Accounting Systems

It’s essential to have an accounting system in place that can be accessed at any given time. That said, a system is only as good as the people that are operating it. This means that it’s absolutely essential that anyone within the company who has power to write a check needs to make sure that the amount being spent is posted as quickly as possible. The information provided by the accounting system needs to be up to date so that the correct financial decisions can be made every time.

Processes

One way to make that happen is to set up a process of posting and checking that everyone strictly adheres to. Setting up specific days for posting checks written and accounts received means that you should be able to tell the current state of your business account at a moment’s notice. It will also prevent you from making financial decisions based on out-of-date information. This is especially true when making a large financial purchase that could end up throwing everything out of whack very quickly.

Communicate

Perhaps as important as having an accounting system and an updating process in place is keeping the lines of communication open. As the business owner, you may feel that you have total authority to spend as freely as you like, but doing so without telling the manager puts them in a difficult spot. After all, it is they who will have to field the calls from disgruntled suppliers who have just received a check from you that bounced. If they are unaware that you have made a major purchase that dropped the account balance below what the system shows, they will be unable to explain what the issue is.

Don’t Bounce Checks

It is absolutely impossible to run a successful business if you are not aware of your finances at all times. Writing checks without any forethought will hurt you in a number of ways. You will end up drowning in bank fees and more importantly will lose the trust of the people that you purchase from. You may just find that suppliers will move you to COD status, or may even decide that your business is not worth dealing with. The ripple effect that comes from writing bad checks may very well be enough to close it down permanently.