Non-Negotiable Core Principles for Running a Successful Business

Non-Negotiable Core Principles for Running a Successful Business

It’s true every business needs to operate by guidelines and protocols. However, when it comes to dealing with customers, many businesses assume that just offering a good product or service is sufficient to be successful. However, the reality is the quality of service that goes along with that transaction can either make or break your business. Here are my top 9 non-negotiable core principles by which every business should run.

1. Have Fun

Now there’s a reason that I have put having fun as a number one priority in business – because life is short, and we spend a lot of time in business or at the workplace so we may as well make it fun! But more importantly, people like to do business with happy people.

Working in a positive, upbeat environment actually increases productivity, not reduces it! It promotes a fabulous team environment. One that every member of the organisation is happy to get out of bed each morning and go to, rather than dreaming up their next excuse to have a sick day!

Customers love to deal with fun people. It makes the entire transaction a positive experience. It will make their day. And what do you think the customer is going to do the next time they are speaking to somebody who is asking for a business that supplies what you supply? They are going to recommend you, with a positive reinforcement. So introducing fun into your business is not only good for your health, it’s also good for the health and longevity of the business. When did you last laugh in your business?

2. The Customer Experience Is Everybody’s No. 1 Priority

The question that should always be top of mind is: How best can I serve this customer?

All businesses will have a range of customers. Ranging from the highest to the lowest purchasing customer, being the customer that brings in the top 20% of your turnover (according to the Pareto Principle) to the one that makes an ad hoc purchase. Although these customers all impact on your turnover in various ways, they need to be treated with the same level of respect, goodwill and kindness. It’s the ultimate display of humanity. It creates a ripple effect on a larger scale throughout society. And by Universal Law, that act of humanity must come back to you in some form. By providing impeccable levels of service this will ultimately create phenomenal business growth, including a reputation and branding that you couldn’t pay for.

To quote Henry Ford: “A business that makes nothing but money is a poor business.”

So, how are you going to best serve your customers today?

3. Be Passionate

(excited about change and not fearful)

Embracing change will give you the opportunity to evolve in an ever changing business world. It is about understanding that change will occur on a regular basis. And by understanding that change is always occurring and is mostly out of your control, will put you back into your own sense of personal power. Once accepting that change is inevitable and constant, a high level of motivation will be easier to maintain. A great positive attitude goes hand in hand with this high level of motivation. Creating a habit and being passionate about serving your customers will allow you a sense of great satisfaction. That in turn will create eagerness in wanting to serve more customers, more often, and with more passion.

4. Internal Team Synergy

Have you ever done business with a company that has no internal synergy? It may be obvious they lack harmony within the workplace, or it could be a subtle gut feeling you get when walking onto their premises, when you ring them, or even when you think about doing business with them. But it’s there nonetheless. What emotion does it create within you? A feeling of discomfort, perhaps a lack of trust of whether you are going to be served well, or treated with respect? As a business owner, it is imperative you create a warm, welcoming environment in which to greet staff and customers. All staff members need to be working with the same goal in mind, and that is to ensure the customer experience is appealing and inviting. All touch points need to be aligned, for example your premises are pleasant to visit, websites that are easy to navigate, and interacting with extraordinary people within the business. There are numerous other touch points that customers deal with in your businesses that need to be considered, and these will be covered in another segment. However, the net result of ensuring all touch points display internal synergy (or team collaboration) is about satisfied customers who will create referrals for you, become your greatest loyal advocate and have a direct impact in your bottom line.

5. Be The Solution Finder For Your Customers

When a customer walks into your premises a good question to ask yourself would be: “what are this customer’s needs and how can I exceed their expectations?” What questions do I need to ask to find out what their true needs are which may be different to what they think they are? By asking the customer important questions and really hearing their answers will ensure they feel validated and respected. Many customers may not see what’s missing. By creating yourself as a solution finder to your customer brings a greater satisfaction to their experience in dealing with you. This then will increase your bottom line exponentially. Your customer will constantly return back to you because they know you understand them, their needs and their business well enough through your suggestions of what their needs could be. This will establish a relationship between you and the customer that will be highly valued by them. This forges loyalty, impacts your bottom line, and solidifies your long term partnership with his or her business.

6. Ask, Listen then Act

Too many businesses do not consider feedback as important information in projecting their business into the future. In most cases it’s an attitude of indifference within the business that has customers turning to its competition for getting their needs met. The customers are the very people who keep your business alive, running and prosperous so it makes sense to get their feedback at every given opportunity. This can be done in many forms such as formal and informal conversations, surveys, questionnaires, focus groups, etc. You can then generate continuous improvement processes throughout your business in order to provide exemplary service levels for your customers. Many business owners have an emotional attachment to their businesses so they sometimes don’t see if there’s something in it that we are doing incorrectly, or could be improved in some way. So your customers are the perfect people to turn to. And most importantly, it provides them with a sense of value because you are interested in their opinion, as they have contributed to the betterment of your business.

7. Maintain A Sense Of Urgency

Efficiency and effectiveness is the key to pleasing your customer whilst maintaining a sense of urgency within yourself in fulfilling their needs. Within the sense of urgency in fulfilling your customer’s expectations, it is important to make sure you add value to every dealing you have with them. We all start our businesses for many different reasons. However, when recognising our customers are the primary reason for being in business it is important that you serve them quickly, effectively and efficiently. Think about your pet grieves as a customer – then turn them around and make them your point of difference; become the standout company in your industry. Your customers will recognise you as their preferred partners in their business. By creating a sense of urgency and by fulfilling the opposite to what you dislike brings a greater level of customer satisfaction and customer rewards. Create your own sense of urgency by maintaining your customer as your top priority. Make their buying experience a highlight.

8. Time Maximisation

Customers today are normally needs rich and time poor. Being able to interpret your customers’ many needs, as we have discussed before being their solution finders to their many requests, allows you to have a quicker and more efficient turnaround time with them. Your customers will be heard, served and farewelled in speedy, efficient and a stress free environment. This then creates a service which reduces customers’ stress levels and increases your productive time. For example, in depth product knowledge will ensure a speedy, stress free transaction, not to mention establishing you as the ‘go to’ person simply because of your level of knowledge. Although initial time may be spent creating and solidifying the relationship with your customers in getting to know them, their needs and their businesses requirements, this will assist to develop on-going stress free time maximised interactions with your company.

9. Operational Excellence

How many times have you contacted the same business only to be given different information or a variety of answers to the same question, depending on who you are dealing with? Operational excellence covers every area of your business which ensures continuity of the same high service standards to your customers. This gains their trust and hence further business will ensue from them. Achieving operational excellence may take some time to work through to ensure every single aspect of your business is operating in ultimate form. It is well worth the exercise though, not only for the current running of the business, but also if you wish to sell the business in coming years. Operational excellence shows a level of professionalism and commitment by every member of the business. It shows eagerness to provide a skilled and seamless level of service to its customer base. Now although these are backend processes, the level of organisation within a business is always visible to the customer. Always. Operational excellence includes such things as office organisation, structure and processes, automation of workflow. The result is increased productivity and reduced overheads, not to mention gaining respect and a good following from customers and competitors. People want to deal with businesses that are organised. Become a stand out in your industry.

About Liz O'Dwyer

Liz sees a distinct difference between business owners who live consciously and the impact it has on their business, to the business owner who goes through the motions of the day to day running of business, with no level of personal consciousness. All business owners need to have integrity and alignment between their business and personal goals in order for the business to truly thrive AND to be able to provide service excellence. Service with Soul can help you achieve just that.

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