Appreciate The Simple Things In Life


Surinder Pal Singh
Rai Business School
A-41, MCIE, Mathura Road, New Delhi-110044

When you see the number and thickness of all the business books that are available, you may get the impression that business is terribly complicated and difficult. It isn't. It's actually very simple because there are only six things you have to get right.


Sometimes the headaches of running a business make you take your eye off the main reason you're in business. Your product or service is your golden goose. Remember the love you lavished on it when you started the business? Well, it's probably time you fell in love with it again and gave it your undivided attention. You may find that it has become a little dated in look, feel and functionality. Even worse, there may now be a new and attractive competitor on the block. Make your product better before someone else does.


People are like businesses. Some are well managed, operate smoothly and are continually growing. Others are poorly managed, chaotic and seem to want to go out of business. You may have convinced managers that people are a business's greatest asset, yet few of them make a real effort when it comes to recruiting the right people and developing the ones they've got. Remember: the smaller your business is, the more closely the growth of your business is tied to the development of your people.


There's a lot of rubbish talked about delighting customers. There's a lot less work done understanding exactly what the customer wants, how they feel and how they experience you as a business. This kind of work isn't difficult and it isn't expensive. It simply means putting yourself in the customer's position every time you make a business decision and making sure they benefit. It also means talking to customers - preferably before something goes wrong. It's always worth remembering that customers like to talk. They've given you money and they want to know it's gone to a good home.


You can't do anything with your product, people or customers if you don't make money. Don't be embarrassed about profit. It makes good things happen for you, your people, your customers and your community. There are a thousand and one ways not to make a profit but the best one of all is not to count your money. You or someone close to you must at all times be able to tell you how much money you have as a business. Children can always tell you exactly how much money they've got. It's a habit worth relearning.


One of the many things they don't teach you at business school is that costs destroy profits. They don't teach you this because they think it's probably a bit obvious. But it isn't. More businesses go under because their costs are too high than because their sales are too low. Controlling costs everywhere is vital and everyone should feel that costs are coming out of their back pocket because, in effect, they are.


The one thing you can guarantee in business is that things will change. They're more likely to change for the better if you plan for them to be better. Planning isn't difficult. It means looking at your product, customers, people and money and making sure tomorrow's costs will be lower than tomorrow's profits. And the way to do this is to keep asking - what have you have learnt today that you can improve on tomorrow)

Getting these six things right needs real concentration, effort and commitment. But if you get the simple things right, the difficult things will look after themselves.

Surinder Pal Singh
Rai Business School
A-41, MCIE, Mathura Road, New Delhi-110044

Source: E-mail January 8, 2009


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