We’ve all seen the t-shirts advising, “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff” and though that mantra may have made millions for those in the t-shirt printing industry, not sweating the small stuff in your business may be hurting you more than you think. It’s all too easy to become isolated behind a desk and lose touch with employees or what’s really going on within the company.
As owners, managers, directors and team leaders, it’s our job to keep our employees on task and the business on track. If we ignore the details of the business or rely too heavily on others to do tasks for us, we’re suddenly removed from the business operations and can fall victim to a false sense of accomplishment. This only leaves us wondering why the business isn’t performing the way we planned. Focusing on the small details will keep you in touch and on top of what’s happening.
Analyzing the small stuff doesn’t mean we need to micromanage every project or develop a taskmaster-like mentality to ensure that jobs are being done correctly. Really we just need to hone a few management skills to make sure we’re not missing the small stuff that may trip us up later. With details in mind, there are a few practices you can implement around the office to ensure the small stuff doesn’t get overlooked and provide the ultimate customer experience:
- Constantly evaluate your processes
- Practice a “Walk Around” style of management
- Make bad news “safe”
- Obsess over pretty much everything!
Planning is essential for success. Without a clearly defined set of goals and a list of the steps needed to achieve those goals, we’re really just floundering around with the hopes that success will fall in our laps. If there’s a particular milestone that you’d like to see your company reach, whether it be a set number of new customers per month added to your client base or a dollar figure you’d like to earn per year, write it down and plan the steps that are necessary to make it happen. Goals that we develop for ourselves in our mind are abstract and can easily be undermined or even forgotten. Once we commit a goal to writing, it becomes real and tangible. Keep a list of goals at hand as well as an outline of what it’s going to take to achieve them.
Just because you’ve been doing something the same way for ten years doesn’t mean it’s the best or most efficient way to get the job done. Set a schedule to evaluate how processes are handled within your company and review these regularly. How long does it take to process an order? How easy is it to amend an order if your customer changes their mind? How do other companies handle similar issues and would there be any benefits if you were to structure your policies in a similar fashion? What do you do when a customer requests something your company hasn’t handled before? These items are just the tip of the iceberg. By constantly evaluating how your business handles itself, you can find any problem areas in the way you’re currently working. This will help you work towards the most efficient working processes and the ultimate customer experience.
Get out of the office and walk around. Isolating yourself from your employees is a sure fire way of pulling yourself out of the loop. Visit other offices just to see how things are going or go on a call with one of your employees. This allows you to see what’s happening, analyze how problems are handled, learn new techniques of doing things or simply share your vision. If you want your company to grow, get out in the front lines!
Make yourself accessible to all news, even the bad stuff. Obviously bad news is not fun, but what happens when something goes wrong? Do your employees feel comfortable enough to tell you about it? If not, there’s probably a good deal of stuff going on behind your back you may not know about. Be just as receptive to bad news as good news. This allows you to know what’s going on and also to be a part of the solution.
Obsess over everything! The success of your business is in the details. Take time out of your day to analyze the small stuff that you’d normally overlook. You’re sure to find a few holes in how the business is running and may even find some answers to get your business where you feel it should be.
Even with the best levels of communication and planning there are bound to be some items that may fall through the cracks from time to time. However, by following these simple practices you’re bound to have a better grasp on your business’ operations and be able to make better decisions to move your business in the right direction.