Leadership Tips – Small Business Requires Faster Decisions

Introduction

This leadership tip has something in it for managers everywhere, but it’s particularly targeted at those of you with large company backgrounds who have made career moves to smaller businesses that you own and/or manage.

My background is primarily in large scale management of IT organizations. The companies where I’ve worked were places where changing a process or behavior took some time. I always thought I was quicker than most, and action oriented. As a small business owner, I found I had to be much quicker.

I’ll offer this leadership tip in the form of a story. It’s a story of how taking your eye of the ball can cost you money, and worse than that can cost you customers.

My First Small Business

I opened a small personal services business. It was located about an hour from my home office, and with all my other commitments I knew how important hiring the right manager would be for this shop. It took a few tries, but I found one with a good background and references, and she seemed to quickly develop loyalty to the business and to me.

For the first six months we grew slowly but steadily. We were behind plan in terms of customers and revenue, but the trend was up. There were a few staff issues, but overall turnover was okay. I decided to invest a little more in marketing to try and get more new faces in the door.

Over the next three months, customer counts were mostly flat, and average sale was actually down a little. Concerned, I visited the shop a few times more than usual. The people were not as upbeat as they had been. When asked about that, they attributed their moods to less business and less enjoyment of the job. I wondered about seasonality, the economy, and whether I needed even more marketing investment.

Want to know what was really going on? My trusted manager had some personal problems that I had not been aware of before, and was exhibiting some totally unacceptable behaviors:

  • Criticizing staff in front of customers
  • Intimidating staff, letting them know they were at risk of being fired, and telling them I was out to get them.
  • Stealing money by voiding transactions and other means

The Damages

I’m still figuring out how much money all this cost me, but the money is only today’s problem. The customers I’ve lost are a more serious longer term issue, because many of them won’t be coming back.

When I figured out what was going on, I moved quickly to fire the manager. There were only two problems:

  1. I was too late, and there had been several months of damage done;
  2. There was collateral damage. I had to fire two other employees who had adopted the attitude and behaviors of the manager.

Today, I’m working on putting together data to see if I can assemble a case for prosecuting the employees and the manager. An even higher priority, though, is the work I’m doing to recruit and orient new staff and develop a recovery plan for our customer service reputation.
This leadership tip was a painful lesson that I hope never to repeat.

VoIP Business Solution – Today’s Modern Office

With today’s current communication technology many businesses are seeking out a Business VoIP solution to connect their office VoIP PBX with a VoIP provider service to decrease cost of company calls dramatically. This is obvious from the fact that a traveling sales representative once had to report to the corporate office about the sales figures through public phones or mobile phones.

The most rewarding benefit of a VoIP business solution provides your company with the ability to virtually operate your business operation from any location, plus having the flexibility allowing your employees to work from home or wherever them may desire.

Wireless VoIP provides huge flexibility to a workforce that is geographically spread out, VoIP solution employees can be connected to a WiFi-based home and office networks, meaning they can be quickly reached wherever they are. Users can easily activate any working telephone into their office phone, allowing them to place and receive calls from remote phones, have the ability to display a business line ID and route billing calls back to the office.

Wireless VoIP can also dramatically improve call quality, especially in congested areas such as office blocks; basements etc where traditional mobile network coverage is usually patchy at best.

The advantages of a VoIP business phone system, all the offices on a LAN or WAN can share the benefits of having a common office phone system. In addition, even if you have offices at different locations, Business VoIP allows calls between them via extension dialing, making it a zero cost call. VoIP also allows you to safely set up a fully functioning office anywhere a broadband connection is available including the home office and telecommuters.

Today’s office voice communication systems feature call forwarding, voice mail, conferencing, hunt groups, hold and divert, and more. VoIP business services allow company offices to make calls to one another by dialing extensions that may be in the same office or at a remote office without incurring long-distance charges. This modern day technology also allows business managers now to conduct meetings with full audio-visual interaction from the safety and comfort of their office or home or anywhere there is a high speed internet connection.

Many companies use a central office exchange service know as Centrex, which is basically a VoIP PBX solution in which all routing occurs not on company premises, but at the local telephone company. With a business class VoIP T1 system, service is usually delivered to your office and provides both VoIP voice lines and Internet service.

Businesses with Centralized Operations: Since VOIP Hosted PBX service combines all business locations and remote employees together under one system, if a business has an office in an area affected by a disaster, they can easily direct one of the other office locations to handle all calls being made to the affected location. Make sure to compile a list of all the features your business or office and may benefit from today, and possible future expansions as your business grows.

What Are Some Of The Most Important IT Services For Businesses?

The success of any business depends on maintaining smooth uninterrupted enterprise operations. In this digital age, it is essential that businesses have IT (information technology) services that will keep their network operational and intact with minimal down time. Because business computer systems and networks are always evolving it is imperative to work with the right IT company to maintain and preserve your companies’ data. This involves a number of steps in order to prevent loss of data due to disasters such as floods, fires, theft, power failure, equipment failure, etc. To ensure the success of your company, below you will find a list of some of the most important IT services for businesses.

Network backup systems are vital in order for a business to keep their data safe. Hiring an IT services company (that offers network support) will help ensure data is never lost or corrupted. With a network backup system in place, you can safely upload your client information, financial records and files via the Internet to a secure off site location where data cannot be harmed. By doing so, your data is safe from storms, fire, unauthorized intrusions, floods, viruses, and hardware malfunctions. As well, backups can be monitored 24/7 to ensure data availability in case of an emergency.

Remote monitoring is a very beneficial service for any size business that enables 24/7 monitoring of your computer network. While this is an effective method used to monitor systems for malicious bugs, intrusions, glitches, and emergencies, it’s also very cost effective. Proactively monitoring, managing, and maintaining your computer network remotely means problems are detected immediately and fixed without the need to have a technician physically come to the business location. Having a constant ‘guard’ for the system and network will help ensure uninterrupted network operation thereby reducing worker downtime. Nothing can be as frustrating as having an office full of workers who can’t work!

It is critical for every business to have effective email and spam protection as this step helps protect against potentially disastrous threats. A technician will help establish an email security and archiving system that will actively secure your email by stopping spam, viruses, worms, and other email-borne malware before reaching the inbox. Furthermore it allows you to preserve and access emails more easily and at the same time allows for the archiving of all inbound and outbound emails online for compliance and backup. There is also continual monitoring of email activity to ensure critical emails are being received and delivered.

With an IT company offering offsite back up disaster recovery solutions, businesses will ensure no data is lost should there be a disaster affecting the computing systems. Such a back up system makes data accessible 24/7 thereby ensuring that said data is immediately recoverable if there is an event such as power failure. High tech facilities house servers safely, protecting them from any unauthorized access and physically potential disasters such as humidity, fire, temperature extremes, dust, and floods. These storage facilities help to protect business systems and data, ensuring that your company information is protected.

A quality IT plan ensures complete backup services, daily checks on your backup, security monitoring, and effective disaster recovery solutions. The loss of client records or financial information could very well be the end of many companies. Unfortunately many companies also need to be protected from the malicious activity of competitors and hackers. Compiled with the waste of money on potential downtime, having an effective IT plan is a necessity for the success of any business.

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