As entrepreneurs and/or small business owners, in order to stand out from the crowd, you must do everything with excellence. There should never be a day when delivering a sub-par product or service is acceptable. Of course, to read those words most people would agree. However, you’d be surprised at how many companies actually follow the letter when it comes to delivering a quality product or service and performing at a stellar level. When it comes to achieving success, there are key areas of your business that must be measured for quality control, productivity, and profitability.
Allow me to share a short story and personal experience.
Recently I called a company out to my home to look at my attic and gutters to tell me if they needed repair. The service guy showed up on time for the appointment and proceeded to ask me questions about my problem. (I’ve had a problem in the past with birds and squirrels getting into my gutters and attic.) So far, I was pleased with the approach.
After the service guy gave me a quote, I agreed to have him patch up a gaping hole in the rear gutter line of my home. Once he was done with the work, he came back to the door and presented me with the invoice for payment. I paused and said, “Can we wait a minute? I’d like to step outside and take a look at the work.” He said okay. I proceeded to walk outside around the back of the house where he patched up the hole. I could see pieces of metal hanging. It didn’t look like a professional job had been done.
At that point, I said, “I’m wondering if what you did could have been done any better?” He asked me what I meant. I said, well is that your best work or could you have done any better than that because I see a piece of metal hanging.” The service guy looked and said, “well I could probably secure that a little better. Hold on, let me get my ladder.”
Right then and there, I concluded that the service guy had taken short cuts and didn’t do a good job on purpose. I had already made up my mind that I wouldn’t do business with that company again.
Fast forward, when the service guy was finished the second time, he came back to the door to tell me he was done and asked if I wanted to check it out. As I walked around the back of the house, I was hoping he had done a better job this time. Thankfully he had. I said to him, “ahhhh much better, thank you.” He said, oh no problem, you’re welcome. It was what he said next that CHANGED MY MIND about him and the company he represented.
THE END RESULT…
After about a minute or so passed, as if he had a moment to think about how he had performed, the service guy said, “hey that was my fault, I should have done it that way, to begin with…I’m sorry about that.” I then said with a wink; “ Oh it’s ok, as long as you fixed it. But I had a feeling that you could do a lot better.” We both laughed. I wrote him a check as a happy customer and he went on his way. Of course, I will call that company again if I need to. Wait, what?! Yes, I would. Do you see how quickly my opinion and attitude changed about the service provider and the company? All it took was for the service provider to acknowledge he had not done excellent work and offer to fix it and that changed my opinion instantly.
Here’s the lesson…
There is never a time when you can take shortcuts on doing a great job. Customer satisfaction or the lack of it will make or break your business over the long run. You must strive for excellence EVERY SINGLE TIME that you show up representing your brand and your company.
Here’s what many small businesses fail to understand and fail to train their employees on.
- You only get one shot to make a great first impression.
- Your customers and clients are judging you on every transaction, encounter, and experience. (Whether you realize it or not.)
- Your REVENUE and SALES are directly tied to the caliber of your products and the quality of your offerings.
- Whenever you are hired to solve a problem, solve it. That’s a vital lesson of Business 101. Don’t create another problem for the customer. Your solution must be the answer to their problem, period. MAKE IT COUNT!
The bottom line is simply doing your best or nothing at all. Strive for excellence in everything you do, do not cut corners, do not take shortcuts, and do not settle for anything else.
I love these quotes about doing your best.
“A problem is a chance for you to do your best.” Duke Ellington
“Under any circumstance, simply do your best, and you will avoid self-judgment, self-abuse, and regret.” Don Miguel Ruiz
You may be wondering, “how does this story apply to my business?” Glad you asked. Here’s the business application. Sometimes as we go about doing business day in and day out, we don’t always know if our business measures up. There are a few tried and true ways to determine how well your company is performing in any area.
Here are 3 ways to give your company a report card to see how well you perform.
- Set Goals
Success is defined by how well we reach our goals. As a business owner, you must determine the ways in which your company will grow and how to forecast future success. Your company should have clearly defined goals every year, quarter, month, week, etc. If you don’t plan for where your company will be in the future, you might not make it there. A business forecast is simply a calculated projection about what you plan to achieve. It’s important to set forecasts about the accomplishments you hope to make, and how you hope to make them.
Some examples of company goals are:
- Obtaining a greater market share
- Increasing profit margins
- Improving Customer Satisfaction
- Increasing production efficiency
- Set Key Performance Indicators
The KPIs are standard measurements typically in ratios that provide information about your performance. Key performance indicators can be used for businesses as well as career professionals. Career professionals can measure their decision-making capabilities, job performance, and more. Businesses can have KPIs that measure net profit, employee turnover, revenue generated per employee, qualified leads and conversions, financial statements, and more. These performance indicators help you measure performance against the goals you’ve identified.
There are two main types of KPIs that most companies track and measure. Key performance indicators that target an entire organization’s goals are high KPIs. These indicators measure the company’s success rate overall. KPIs that target smaller projects, such as departmental strategies, are low KPIs.
- Track and Measure
Figure out what areas of your business need metrics assigned to them. The fact is numbers don’t lie but people do. Therefore, if there is an area of your business that is not functioning at maximum capacity, perhaps there is a way that you can apply a measurement tool to help you determine your input versus output. Research tools that can track and quantify data that will provide you with insights and information for improvement.
Here are some examples of things you should be measuring in your business.
- Gross and Net Revenue
- Cost of Customer Acquisition
- Leads to Client Conversion Rate
- Website Traffic
- Conversions from website visitors into sales
As you can see, there are very important ways you can measure your performance as a small business owner. This article has just scratched the surface. You can learn more by booking a strategy session to discuss your business goals and needs.
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This article is written by Lori A. Manns. President of Quality Media Consultant Group. Lori is a multi-award-winning marketing mentor, sales coach, and trailblazing business strategist who works with small business owners and entrepreneurs to help them grow and scale their businesses. She specializes in sales and marketing strategies that result in her clients attracting their target market, gaining brand visibility, and growing revenue. Lori is President of Quality Media Consultant Group, a consultancy firm specializing in media, advertising, marketing, and sales. She is the founder of the Trailblazer Business Academy. where advancing entrepreneurs go to learn growth strategies and how to run a profitable business the soulful way. Lori is also the creator of the Sponsorship Sales Secrets.