From day one of establishing your business, you set it up the way you wanted it to be. You looked at how your employers had run their businesses, and perhaps friends and family too and decided on the bits that you liked and the bits that you didn’t like and then fashioned your business to be the best of all of it.
In doing so, you created a business that suited you. Along the way, you found clients or customers, and you employed staff.
There are three ways to view your business.
The Client or Customer Perspective
You set the standards of customer service that you felt you wanted to deliver and were capable of delivering and then tried to instil those same service standards into your staff members so that the service levels were maintained.
What happens too often, though, is that once you start to employ other people to do the work, the service standards start to slip. This is often through no fault of the staff members themselves, but often due to lack of procedures and sufficient training in how you do what you do your way.
One of the first ways to find out how your business is going is to get your customers or clients to undertake a survey. This should be an anonymous survey so that they feel that they can answer honestly. The best way I’ve seen this done is to bring in an expert facilitator and arrange for some group sessions with clients where the facilitator asks appropriate questions of each member of the group.
These sessions have to be promoted correctly so that the attendees know that you are truly seeking their input and will act on their suggestions. What happens in this scenario is that the clients feel that they are an important part of the business and are willing to help the business to improve. Often they find out about other services that you are providing that they weren’t aware of which can lead to additional revenue.
The Team Perspective
The next group of people you need to check in with are your team. Now you will have a fair idea of whether you have an engaged, loyal, supportive and positive team or whether you have disengaged, unenthusiastic staff who don’t work as a team. Creating a team is the first step to creating a positive environment for your workers.
People notice what is going on around them. Your staff will notice if you treat them differently to the way you treat your customers or clients, or if you treat different staff differently to other staff. Your staff who will be your team in the right environment need to be treated well from the get go.
For many people who are employees, it isn’t always about the money. A large part of their job satisfaction comes from a few “Thank You’s” and “Pleases”, and polite requests for them to do what you want and so on.
Make sure that you involve your employees in the decisions of the business. Now I don’t mean that you ask them to their advice, but more that you tell them what you’ve decided and explain why you made that particular decision. Listen to their comments and feedback and if you can use their suggestions, do so.
Where decisions relate to the actual work that the employees do, then in all cases you need to talk about the decisions with the relevant employees. The more involved you can make them in their work, the more they will love working for the business.
The Owners’ Perspective
Finally, you need to have a good hard look at how you are feeling about your business now. Is it all you wanted it to be when you started out? Are you still on the path towards your dream or have you been side-tracked in some way?
When you’re happy and positive and enthusiastic about the future and you tell your clients and your team, they will be swept up in your excitement and passion.
However, if you’re feeling burdened by the business and you’re not enjoying it, then the chances are that your team will not be enjoying working for the business particularly and your clients may well be less than enthusiastic about doing business with you too and definitely wouldn’t think to refer their friends and colleagues to you.
To be successful in business, you must ensure that the client has an exceptional experience all the time, that your team are enthusiastic, motivated and loyal and that you are the leader of the business are positive and passionate about what you do and you make sure that this shines through in all your dealings every day.