It’s hard to grow – here’s how part 8

Not enough admin

The problem with admin is that it just costs you money. It doesn’t help you sell anything more.  Or so it seems, which is why everybody does as little as possible. Also, life is too short and could be filled with something – anything - more interesting.

This brings two main problems. Firstly, if you do too little, you have to reinvent things, do rework, spend time finding things that you know are around somewhere. That costs you money too. You may not be writing a cheque, but there still cost in lost effectiveness which will get reflected in profits.

Secondly, insufficient information means that opportunities can be missed. Doing the detail to make sure that you have captured all you know about your customer so that you can sell to them more effectively has got to be time well spent. Rushing onto the next customer without maximising sales opportunities for existing customers is just making it hard work. You always want to cross sell whenever you can, and that means good information. That means filling in the customer relationship management database completely. No skimping. It’s just sloppy thinking, and it will come back to haunt you. The discipline of doing it properly tends to get reflected in other areas of your business too, and that, on the whole, has got to be a good thing. Nothing important gets missed, and you don’t lose time which you can ill afford. There’s another benefit – it clears your mind of trivia so you’ve got time to think about the things that matter.  Do the admin – or get someone who will do it well!

Assuming the best

Most business people are optimists. They have to be! They tend to assume the best in their decision-making, and that helps in looking for growth and new markets. That shouldn’t change. However, it can bring its own problems. Chiefly not checking the decision before (and after!) you implement it. Everybody is busy, and in a rush. So it’s quite understandable to launch into a new idea in the hope that it will work. Most business people do not consider the risks, but only the rewards. They don’t do a risks scorecard, like we described in part seven. They seldom test the idea before launching it fully. Even though the test would give them far more information than they had at the beginning, which they could utilise to make the idea better.

Successful entrepreneurs make a series of small, fast steps, but test each one before they take the next. They want the best, but they don’t assume the best. This doesn’t mean that they plan extensively, because they don’t. They will go with what they know, however little, but they will test very quickly to see if what they know stands the test of the marketplace. We’ve touched upon elements of this before, but because it is so important, it has been worth repeating. It is one of the single biggest reason is why businesses do not grow as they want, do not make the profits they expect, and fail. So make sure you test, measure and test again.

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