Why is it big companies loose the ability to deal with the little problems? My wife runs a company which sells direct to the public via the web but also supplies some of the big online retailers who resell her products. As you would expect these retailers have a fixed process that she has to subscribe to when dealing with them, one retailer uses a systems to automate invoices but even after a year since the HMRC change their system still shows 17.5% VAT leaving her to run a catch up invoice for the other 2.5%. Another consistently looses deliveries for a few weeks, this missing time is long enough for them to cancel the order on their systems for non delivery, for which her company gets a negative rating!!!. Both can only be contacted through online tickets which regularly go unanswered.
Now whilst this issues cause frustration for my Wife they must also be causing problems at the company end and with problems come loss of profit. Unfortunately its not unusual for me to come across these sorts of issues with my clients, here are a few things you should consider as your company grows and as you, an owner/manager move further away from the ‘shop’ floor.
- Listen to your staff, have an effective process to allow staff to comment on issues they are having. They are the ones doing the job listen to them.
- Listen to you clients, have an effective process to allow clients to comment on issues they are having. The cost of loosing a client is too much for them to be ignored.
- Listen to your suppliers, now you may have enough kudos so that suppliers will put up with inefficient processes, but those processes will be costing you money as well.
- Make sure your IT systems are aligned to your Business Process. Don’t loose time, money and customers because you work one way and your systems another.
- Question but don’t prowl, one client I have worked with in the past takes time to visit his offices and wander around looking at paperwork and systems questioning what he finds. But beware there is a fine balance between this and seeming to be watching and ultimately not trusting the staff. So make sure its seen as a positive thing.
- Don’t take no for an answer if someone says its difficult or impossible to do, improving systems and process in these situations will be a balance of three things time, money and functionality. Until you know all three you cannot make a decision, nothing is impossible it may just take a lot of time or money making it not cost effective.
This is just a short list of things to consider when thinking about the little things, but as the saying goes, look after the pennies and the pounds will look after them selves.