Providing good customer service just isn’t enough anymore, not with companies the world over clamoring for the dwindling dollars consumers spend. And heaven forbid your customer service should be classified average! That could, literally, be the death of a company if it’s not turned around quickly.
Often people use the terms leaders and managers interchangeably. But nothing could be further from the truth! There are numerous characteristics that differentiate leaders from managers. While some of the differences are subtle, others are distinct and easily recognized.
Today is Earth Day 2013, and it’s a time for business owners to think about their green initiatives and the things they can do to be more green. Office Depot surveyed 1,000 small and medium-sized business about their environmental consciousness, and they had some really interesting results. I want to share some of the highlights—maybe they’ll help your thinking about these questions.
Building an organization culture that is based on trust and collaboration starts with leadership. You need to follow through with what you say and be accountable for your actions—or your team will lose faith in your word and ability to be an effective leader.
We are all going to experience failure and disappointment in our lives. The key to success, including in business, is reacting the right way. We all need that sense of desperation, that driving motivation to do whatever it takes to make it. We need to feel a little uncomfortable and use that as a spur.
For any business to succeed, you have to build a team that works together. That team includes you as the business owner, any employees you have, your vendors, your partners—everyone who is part of running your business. When it comes to building that team, although talent is important, a cohesive group that sticks together is the number one priority.
In any business, the people we hire make a huge difference. The right people in the right spots at the right time can push you to new heights, while a bad hire can set you back. A great asset as you organize your business for growth is building around entrepreneurial employees.
Abraham Lincoln is one of the most enduring, inspiring figures in American history. His popularity is unwavering, and is as high as ever thanks to Steven Spielberg’s movie Lincoln. Every president aspires to be like Lincoln, but they shouldn’t be the only ones. The life and career of President Lincoln has plenty of great business lessons.
As any business ages and grows, it will change. You don’t always do things the same way you did as a startup. The quest for innovation and new approaches to problems often gradually give way to a focus on incremental improvements and doing what you’ve always done, just a little bit better. This problem is part of what is widely known as The Innovator’s Dilemma, after the title of the book by Harvard professor Clayton Christensen.
What will happen to your business after you retire? Most small business owners want their companies to survive after they leave, but only a small fraction of businesses actually manage to last into a second generation. To make it, you need an effective succession plan.