Uncommon Common Sense 'Know What is the Most Important Thing in Your Business
Over 3 of my meetings with 3 business owners last week, what really shocked me was how uncommon common sense was. 2 out of 3 I spoke to do not know what is the most important thing in their business. They keep on trying on other things that are not important. As we know, every business has ONE most important thing in their particular industry. You need to do well in your most important thing and the rest will take care of itself.
For Manufacturing: Most important is your quality consistency and how low is your unit cost. It doesn't matter if you have a proprietary technology but if you can't produce the goods in a consistent manner, nobody will buy it. Look at the failed air purifier industry and you'll know what I mean.
For Trading: As you are a pure middle man (like CAO), you need to be cash rich or have access to cash at very low funding cost. This will allow you to buy goods in bulk at substantially lower price than the rest. It' doesn't matter what goods you sell, high or low tech. As a trader, you make money from buying and selling, nothing else. Not putting your faith in the latest high tech products, you must sell what moves or you will be moved out of the industry.
For Retail: (service or goods, including food & beverage): Most important is location, location, location. Next is engagement with the customers, for retail is an experience, and it can only be experienced through passionate retail service staff. If your retail staff is not passionate about their work, change their passion or change them! If your location is good and the rental is high, capitalize on it by getting your customers to buy at higher dollar value, or do more 'pay first and collect goods now' business. Like one Chinese dim sum restaurant in Tanjong Pagar (one of the busies town with expensive rental in Singapore) did, they added one take-away counter outside their restaurant and see their sales increased by 27%.
For Professional Service, including IT: How many good people do you have? Since highly skilled people are also highly paid, are they loyal to your firm or are they just loyal to their salary? It doesn't matter what service you are providing, from legal to advertising or web-services. You need to get the really good skilled people that will not leave, like what the Big Four Audit firms do in grooming their high flyers into partners.
For Start-ups: Sorry, most start-ups haven't found a good business yet, so whatever you are doing, you just need to be persistent and you'll find your way there.
For Stockiest: The good days of bulk buys and offering bulk discounts are over: with Internet anyone can buy anything. Stockiest need to have a few products that nobody has, and the best way is to have your own brand and OEM it out. If you want to know about how to build your brand, follow the 'Osim' model.
For Management: You need to have access to management tools, systems and manuals. Anyone can learn about leadership but all leaders need to have management tools or they will just be a leader without achieving anything. And most importantly, is to use the tools properly. Don't be like what CAO did; they have the best tools but nobody use them!
For Employees: The most important thing is to help to solve your boss' problems and your career will fly. What can you do today to make your employer happy?
For Everyone: It's all about DOING! NOT THEORY or 'should' or 'could'. For only when you do will you know if your theory is right or wrong. And the more you do, the less risk you have because you will be learning fast