Many business owners find themselves in the trap of trying to do too much and not allowing their employees to help them. This is probably the single biggest inhibitor to growth that I have witnessed over the last eight years of coaching businesses – the failure of the owner to get out of the way, and to empower their team.
Too many owners feel that it is their responsibility to personally take care of everything because of the mindset that they can do it better than anyone else. All that this approach provides is the guarantee that owners will be the busiest and least paid (on a per-hour basis) employee in the business and the only one who comes in early and stays late. If you enjoy being a slave to your business and your customers, stop here. If you need to get past that, read on.
Implement a Healthy Business Success Cycle
The problem is that most business owners believe that they are responsible for taking care of their team, their customers, and their business all on their own, and not necessarily in that order either. The most effective way to grow your business profitably is to adopt the following Cycle of Business model: Owner -> Team -> Customer -> Business -> Owner. In plain English, this can be read as the owner takes care of the team, enabling the team to take care of the customers, which leads the customers to take care of the business with repeat orders and referrals, which results in the business rewarding the owner with profits and success. Let’s look at what goes into each of these four steps.
Step 1: Hire and equip the best talent
As the owner, your primary responsibility is to your team. You need to hire the best people, provide them with the tools to perform their work, and train them how to properly use the tools to service your customers. The types of tools you should provide include Vision and Mission, Company Culture, Goals, Job Descriptions, Processes and Procedures, Communication Channels, and Services and Products that your target markets want. In addition to tools, your team also needs you to be their leader and cheerleader, and recognize their needs and successes. Read our take on how to engage and retain your talent.
Step 2: Empower your team for success
Armed with the proper tools, your team can now take care of your customers. This means providing them with high quality, consistent, and responsive service while delivering your products and services with a smile, every single time. Winning teams exhibit leadership qualities, share common goals, know who is responsible for doing what, and support and include each other. Successful teams listen to customer’s problems and identify solutions before they are asked.
Step 3: Retain loyal customers
When customers are treated well, receive prompt, courteous service, and consistent high-quality products that solve their problems, they come back again and again, and they tell their friends. When your team solves a customer’s problems, your customers reward you with loyalty. Loyal customers can then be involved in helping you to grow your business successfully by giving you critical feedback on how you can help them even more, and opportunities for new business that you might never have had otherwise. When your customers are well cared for, they take care of you and your business so that you can remain in business to help them.
Step 4: Grow your business
Now that you have provided your team with the tools and leadership that they need, they are able to invest their time in caring for your customers. Happy customers come back again and again and tell their friends about your services. Repeat business, happy “A” customers, and endless referrals are the foundation for profitability. When your business is running this way, you have the financial rewards for yourself, your family, your team, your community, and your business. You are able to reinvest in the team and tools to improve their abilities, to increase your capacity, and to grow your ability to solve the needs of your customer base.
When you decide that it is time to succeed in your business, evaluate where you are in the cycle of business. Whether it is leadership or communications or systems and tools, it will always start with you. It is a simple decision to make, so make your choice and get going.