They say building a home is one of the three most stressful things to undertake. So what it means to be a Registered Master Builder is not just about building a quality home but also about providing outstanding service.
So what are some of the critical areas for your business to focus on so that quality service can be provided during these less than prosperous times?
Outstanding service revolves around making the client the priority, and training your staff in customer service. You need to learn how well you are doing so seek feedback, listen to it and adapt your business to reflect it.
Build trust with your clients by always acting with integrity. Establish high professional and ethical standards and do what you say you are going to do.
Continuously communicate and then communicate some more. Every unhappy client will tell 10 people of their experience. So, word of mouth, particularly in a small community, is often how business grows.
Remember how dedicated you were when you first started? Are you as dedicated now?
You can only do one thing at a time so good staff are your greatest asset. They thrive on leadership and teamwork, and it is over to you to do that well. Retain your top performers, and look after them as much as you can, as the cost of losing them and finding a replacement can be long and arduous.
Set staff performance goals and measure their performance, and provide them frequent and honest feedback. Train them in areas that need upskilling, and support/mentor them along the way.
Plan, plan, plan. Many businesses do not undertake any strategic or business planning. They drift along and wonder where they are going.
What’s that saying? An archer cannot hit the bull’s eye if he doesn’t know where the target is.
Set yourself some goals to achieve by the year’s end. Develop a picture of it for your staff. Write it down and monitor your success against it. Set your budget against it and react when you need to. Review it and adjust your business accordingly.
Cash is king. Many profitable businesses go broke as they run out of cash and can’t pay their bills. They have good balance sheets but no liquidity.
Receive cash as quickly as possible, part with it as slowly as possible, but meet your contractual and legal obligations.
Make sure your terms of payment are short, and train your clients into paying on time by making them well aware of what is expected.
Make it easy for them to pay — by cash, cheque, eftpos or credit card. Who cares, cash is king remember?
And follow up quickly if they don’t pay — the longer you leave it the harder it will be. Anything beyond 60 to 90 days is tough so the sooner you get onto it the better off you will be.
It is an area that people hate but is so important during these times that it can make or break a small business.