Thursday, 25 November 2010

Important Business Reviews

We often think of these as the bottom line, profit-and-loss, growth etc but these are symptoms of underlying causes, and those underlying causes are our relationships, conduct and integrity. 

Let me give an example:

I recently engaged a company to do some Internet advertising for me.  I agreed over the 'phone what was to be done and we agreed that I would receive written confirmation, VAT receipt etc through the post within the next 3 days or so.  A week later nothing had arrived: I rang the company.  We agreed to leave it another couple of days.  Nothing.  Since that time (another week) I have written 3 e-mails and spoken to people twice, receiving promises of a return call from their Accounts Team, but still nothing.

If this typifies their behaviour with other customers, the chances are that their bottom line will not be too healthy before very long: in fact I would anticipate them going out of business. 

But if the problem is considered to be the bottom line, it doesn't tell the story. 

The story (and the remedies to the problem) lie in their relationships, their integrity and customer focus (or in this case the severe lack of it).  They say but do not do!  Perhaps they're so focussed on getting new clients that their existing ones fall off the list.

This is too common today in business, which is why when new companies arise who really appreciate their clients and customers and treat them especially well, they succeed, and why many of our established names who rely on past reputation are disappearing from the market place.

And Academia, which strives ever more to be a business, is not free from this plague ... 

Recently, an external expert whom a University was relying on for input to a new course, visited the UK from Canada and came to a meeting at the University. One academic pretty much opened the conversation with, "Well, no-one asked you to come!"

We can talk about success as much as we like, but true success (personal fulfilment, financial and otherwise) will only come when we manage to get our business focus on relationships in order.

Financial measures of success are merely the symptoms of the true underlying reason for that success (or failure).

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