It’s Only Common Sense: Five Things We Should Be Doing

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We are all so busy running our businesses that we seldom have the time to do what really needs to be done to move our business forward, to take it from good to great (to use an old, but true cliché).

My friends who own boards shops are always so occupied with keeping their heads above water that they seldom have time to do the things that would make their company thrive—things that could put them head and shoulders over the competition.

Look, I know that we are all busy. Running a board shop, or any business, is much more difficult today than it has ever been. But please take the time to read these five recommendations and spend some designated time implementing them. And if you make it a regular practice to spend time working on these five items, yours will become the outstanding company it truly deserves to be.

  1. Be an entrepreneur. Spend some time thinking about how you can change your company to better serve your customers. If you are a bare board shop, then add design services. If you are a contract manufacturer, add bare board services and offer the entire package. Just think how powerful it would be if you could take a project from schematic to assembly in one location; think how much more powerful it would be if you could do it in less than a week! Think about that and figure out how to get it done. But that’s only one idea; there are many more out there. Spend some time thinking this way, explore the possibilities, and learn to say yes to them.
  2. Provide super customer service. I don’t just mean the normal reactive customer service that we all practice. I mean setting aside some time every week to sit with your team and brainstorm ways to service your customers better than they have ever been serviced before, better than you ever have and better than your competition ever has. Be the L.L. Bean of the industry.
  3. Spark your sales team. I mean, really get them excited. Lately, salespeople have been the whipping boys of our industry. They are often the ones being blamed for lack of business. Let me ask you, what is the point of that? You want your salespeople out there feeling like superheroes—you want them feeling invincible. Come up with ways to get the very best out of them. Remember that a great manager is one who leads his team to greatness.
  4. Spend time with your insides sales/customer service people. These people are the face of your company. In the end, they are the final force determining what your customers think of your company. Spend time with them. Work with them to find ways to be the best they can be because your company is only as good as your customer service staff. Find ways to get them excited about coming to work every day. Empower them; give them some financial parameters to use to satisfy your customers. Help them to be the customer service giant that you want them to be. Hell, make them want to be the customer service giants that you want them to be.
  5. Look to the future. That’s right. Lift your head up, get your nose away from that grindstone long enough to take a cold, clear look towards the future. Do all that you can to define the future and, most importantly, your place in that future. As the old saying goes, if you don’t determine your future, someone else will. Study the future, read everything you can from the trendsetters, listen to your customers and your sales people. Let them help you put an educated, informed ear to the ground to determine what the future will be like. Then develop your company’s strategy that will best take advantage of that future. Yes, it’s a great time to start thinking about tomorrow.

And one more (underpromise and overdeliver): Innovate and lead your people to think like innovators. Hold regular sessions where you study everything you do and work on making it better. Look at the way everyone in your industry does things and strive to do it better. I guarantee that if you and your team spend just one hour a week working on how you can do things better, in the end you will do things better.

I know there are only so many hours in the work day. And I know that we are all busy. But spending time doing these six things with the right attitude and dedication will take your company a long way up that road to perfection.

It’s only common sense.




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