This is the sixth of a new series of articles – positive mindsets for a positive future. Over the next few weeks I will explore some of the most frequent questions I get asked as a business coach and focus on both the challenges and opportunities each one presents.
No-one starts their own business thinking it will be easy. There will be many challenges along the way. Very often the difference between business success and failure will depend entirely on how you approach those challenges and reframe them into opportunities.
Today my focus is another topic that leads to lots of questions and comments – the need to be well organised.
Running an effective small business requires high levels of personal and business organisation. The smaller the business the more organised we need to be as we can’t afford to make mistakes or waste resources or lose customers. This immediately presents many challenges!
Time management is our key challenge – ‘Pacific’ time may be OK for some of us but not for everyone and certainly not for customers from overseas who come with a different mindset about time. If you miss appointments or arrive late you give out the impression of being disorganised – this may or may not be true, but the perception is the key issue. If a potential customer sees you as disorganised, they may doubt the quality of your products or services or your ability to deliver on promises.
Time is a valuable resource and we all have the same amount – we can’t keep it, put it in the bank for later or get it back once it has gone! Effectively managing our time requires us to plan ahead, set priorities and take action. I know it is not the most exciting of topics but the opportunity in manging our time well is that we suddenly realise how time rich we are and how much we can do with our lives.
Other aspects of good organisation include how your business premises look; are they tidy or full of stuff that looks disorganised and probably never ever gets used anyway. How much space are you wasting just keeping stuff?
How presentable are you and our staff? Do you look as though you have really prepared for the business day or just got out of bed?
Your office or administrative systems need to be well organised – if they are not they will be a source of time wasting when you can’t find things. Is the technology you use fit for purpose? Time will be wasted if it is too simple and not doing the job yiu want it to do or over complicated and hard to use.
You need to spend time making sure that your staff are well organised – this starts with them being very clear of their role and then, as business owners, you need to make sure they are properly trained and supported. Make sure they understand the products and services they are selling and can talk confidently about them. There is nothing that turns a customer off quicker than approaching a member of staff with a question, only to be met with ‘I don’t know’; ‘no’; the boss is not here!!
Confidence sells, and organised businesses look like confident businesses. First impressions do matter – what happens when a customer walks into your business for the first time could make the difference between whether they stay or go to your competitor.
Coming into a business and seeing staff on their mobile phones or busy doing other things does not help the customer have confidence in you. Organise your workplace so someone will always be there to greet customers and make them feel welcome.
Finally, poor personal organisation is a major cause of loss of business which leads to high levels of stress. Take time to organise yourself, your team, your systems and processes, your premises, your vehicles, your products and services. This investment will pay dividends and lead to you enjoying your time rich life! It will also allow you to spend more time on other aspects of your life such as your family & community or your own health or simply relaxing!
If you need help with being well organised or you want some feedback on your own practices, then please get in touch.
I hope you have enjoyed this article. As always, please contact me if you have an interesting story to tell and are happy for it to be told. More challenges and opportunities next week.
Breadfruit Consulting (www.breadfruitconsulting.com) is a Vanuatu-based business providing advice, training, coaching, and mentoring to businesses throughout the Pacific islands. Breadfruit specialises in a range of business development activities including ‘business continuity planning and action’, helping businesses to survive in a crisis, designing and starting new, sustainable businesses. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
Founding partner at Breadfruit Consulting.