How to be a Better Small Business Owner
Small Business can be Smart Business
A Small Business Owner gets the kind of Business they deserve..
I deal with small business owners everyday and I have done so for more than 20 years. I have found there are several common denominators for small businesses that are not good businesses. In every instance the problem is the business owner...not the employees, not the customers, not the suppliers.......etc.
The good news is that I have seen small business owners, on occasion, take an honest look at their business and make the changes necessary to improve the business. I even saw one woman business owner fire herself as President, she hired a general manager, she became a sales person and the company doubled it sales and quadrupled it's profits in 1 year.
Here are my Top 6 List of reasons why a bad small business is bad:
- The business owner has a bad attitude - Far too many people start their own business because they don't want to "take orders" from a boss anymore. That "nobody tells me what to do" attitude shows up in how the business owner deals with everyone, customers, suppliers, employees. It's not pretty.
- The Business Owner thinks he knows what he doesn't know - The most common example of this is in pricing of their products or services. I ask a business owner how his prices compare to his competitors? Biz owner replies, "I'm usually the most expensive." Me, "How do you know?" Biz owner, "My customer tells me my price is the highest." Duh.. Never rely on your customers to set your prices, they might not be the best source for accurate information.
- They Hire Fast and Fire Slow - A good business owner does the opposite.
- They Buy products from the Suppliers who treat the owner the nicest - I've seen it a million times. The business owner doesn't look at his supplier choices from the eyes of the customer. Many times it's a fishing buddy or cousin who works for the supplier. Many suppliers are masters at getting business owners to buy products their customers don't want. Pick your suppliers carefully, very carefully.
- They Don't Document any Systems, therefore Employees Have to Guess (or remember if they are one of the employees who last more than a month) what the owner wants done - Systems are the glue that holds good companies together. Start with simple checklists then fill in the gaps.
- The Business Owner is Inconsistent in Quality Expectations- Perfect only matters when business is slow, then business gets good, then perfect doesn't matter, then business gets slow again...maybe these things are connected.
If you have a small business that you nor your customers love then maybe it's time to take a closer look at how you run the business. There is a lot of help out there if you decide to ask for help...and sometimes you will never see the problems without help.
Being honest with yourself about your management skills and knowledge is not a pleasant process but, in the end, it could mean the difference between business failure and great success.