I come from a family of entrepreneurs. I am an entrepreneur myself, and I have worked with hundreds of entrepreneurs that have been clients of my call center.
The popular press puts forth a million-and-one ideas about what makes an entrepreneur successful. It’s not that these articles don’t have any merit; they just tend to be very heavy on the “conceptual” and rather light on anything “concrete”. They throw around terms like – vision, innovation, strategic thinking, etc.
The success or failure of many of the entrepreneurs I have worked with has often come down to eight very practical concepts.
- Does the product or service you provide solve a very painful problem for your clients?
- Does the value of the solution you offer outweigh the price?
- Do you have the people and the systems in place to give your clients a consistently good experience?
- Do you continuously track a handful of critical measurements that can warn you of performance problems, cash problems and margin problems?
- Can you accurately project the “worst case scenario” of your cash flow for at least the next 12 months?
- Can you recognize the difference between an opportunity that could take advantage of your existing company expertise and resources and one that will require a whole new set of skills, people, applications, etc.?
- Are you successful at resisting the urge to act on your emotions before you have had time to research, question and test?
- Do your actions show that you value relationships and keep commitments?
The nuts and bolts of good performance are not rocket science, but they do require a focus on execution. Time and again I have seen business owner’s crash-and-burn when they concentrated only on their “great ideas” rather than on how they were going to provide consistent service.
Value: Prospects have to want what you have to offer and feel that they are getting a good return on their investment. Everyone values predictability and good work and nothing is a substitute for providing it – not slick advertising, a sexy product or service, good press, etc. You can’t make money if you can’t keep the customers you bring in the door, and they certainly won’t refer new business if you can’t perform.
Measurement: You can’t know what you don’t measure. Your impressions can often be grossly inaccurate, and problems that are not identified and addressed in a timely fashion can be deadly.
Emotions & Actions: The ability to control your optimism, and your temper, are critical to being an effective leader. And the only way to earn trust (from customers, vendors, employees and partners) is through what you do, not what you say.
Did you answer “no” to any of the eight questions? If so, what do you need to do ASAP to get to “yes”?
This blog was written by Laurie Leonard, the President of SUITE 1000, a U.S. based national telephone answering service, inbound call center and outsourced call center service. Her company has specialized in handling legal intake, sales leads, email lead response, appointment scheduling, customer service and help desk calls for over 20 years.