In business, there are always alternatives. Should we do this or do that? If we do this, what impact will it have on the bottom line, employees, or customers? If we do that, what effect will it have on our reputation, branding, or goodwill? If we disrupt the market, will it be positive or negative for our business in the long-run?
Choices, at times, might seem easy. But careful thought of the following options is a necessity for growth and survival.
Competitors or Customers?
Certainly, every business needs to know its competition. What is their pricing, marketing, distribution, products or services, after-sale assistance, quality, refund policy, etc. Meeting the competition head-to-head, however, is generally not the key to success.
On the other hand, if a business does not have customers, it really doesn’t have a viable business. So, perhaps, the focus should be on customers. Give them what they want in the way of pricing, delivery, customer service, or quality. More satisfied customers will lead to more business. Now, it’s the competition trying to figure out how to beat you and your business rather than you trying to figure out how to beat the competition.
Follower or Leader?
As a business owner, do you prefer to be a follower or leader in your business segment? Whether your business is retail, wholesale, manufacturing, service, technology, or professional, you have a choice...follow what other businesses are doing or be a leader on the forefront of new ideas, new product or service offerings, a different approach to customer service, or a unique value proposition.
Choosing to be a follower might be the more conservative route but will it provide you with the key elements necessary to achieve your goals and objectives? Choosing to be a leader will certainly involve more risks but the rewards can also be much greater.
Impede or Facilitate Employee Morale?
There is no question that employees are the most valuable assets of any business. Without motivated and dedicated employees, a business is destined to remain mediocre. When owners and managers do not place a high importance on employees, morale is impeded and growth is stymied.
When management, however, understands the important link between employees, customers, and growth, it will facilitate employee morale with communication, open-door policies, opportunities for growth and advancement, individual respect, or personal challenges. Facilitating employee morale is not accomplished by accident but rather through focused and deliberate actions.
Nonexistent or Existent Company Culture?
A company culture is hard to precisely define. It’s an atmosphere that prevails within a business about how employees behave, how they interact with each other in and out of work, and how they deal with outside parties such as customers and vendors. Also, it’s about the employee’s beliefs and could even include employee attire, hours worked, or office configurations.
When there is no real, cohesive culture within a business, employees do their job and little else. When the workday is over, everyone goes their separate ways. Conversely, a culture can contribute to the success of a business. A culture that embraces the vision of a business will affect the business in a positive way, starting with how the employees work and communicate with others.
Although each business will have its own culture, a positive culture is essential for success. When employees feel valued with a sense of belonging and loyalty to a business, company value increases.
Deny or Empower Employees?
When there is no opportunity for growth, employees feel stuck in their current positions, which creates a lackluster business environment. Denying employees the opportunity to do things on their own, implement new ideas, or try and fail, creates a monotonous situation that destroys any ingenuity that might exist in the workforce.
Empowering employees, however, creates excitement, turns ideas into reality, generates efficiencies, and inspires everyone to reach for higher plateaus. When employees have the power to do something, try something new, or make decisions on their own that are in line with company goals, they become more committed and confident in their work.
Empowering employees is a key element in creating a long-term, profitable, sustainable business.
Which Is More Important?
Every action in a business has some type of consequence. Consider wisely what will produce the best results not only for the short-term but also for the long-term, as well. It can often take just as much effort to produce a negative result as it does to produce a positive result. Therefore, direct energies into the areas that have the potential to produce the most positive business results with the most minimal impact.