There is an infinite supply of business lessons since time immemorial. Every startup, every business, every business situation, every context, and so on – they provide unique learning points. Some lessons are unique to certain entities, contexts, locations, situations, and so forth. However, some lessons are universal i.e. they apply to any business regardless of any metric. It is important to know these lessons so that you stand guided in your journey as a business person. In this article, I shall be discussing some of those universal business lessons. It is vital that you take heed and actually use these lessons for your strategy formulation.
Burnout Is Real – Guard Against It
Virtually every business seeks to bring in more and more revenue. If this obsession is unchecked it can cause people to work long hours pursuing unreasonable targets. I have seen some businesses pulling 12+ hour workdays. That is not healthy and in due course, burnout will set in. Stats indicate that the vast majority of deaths in the business and corporate world can be traced back entirely or in part to burnout.
Burnout is a negative state of emotional, physical, and mental exhaustion mainly caused by stress and an inability to cope with it. Due to competition, seeking to meet investor targets or revenue targets and the like, most businesses are overworking their staff. In the end, productivity will be compromised and even worse people may die. Every business must be wary of slipping into burnout unawares.
Bite Off Only What You Can Chew At A Time
Most businesses have the habit of taking on new work or clients even when they do not have the capacity. The result is that you will probably risk burnout by overworking yourselves. The other outcome will be that of having ever-piling unfinished work. Another scenario can be resorting to cutting corners and producing shoddy work because you are rushing through. This will dent your reputation as a business and in the long run, hurt your cash flows.
Myself as a Virtual Assistant I used to be a victim of biting too much. I, later on, realized that it is far better to only take on new work or clients you are sure you can handle. It is better to handle a little but putting in your all and managing to produce sterling work. That will build your brand’s reputation and possibly bring in high-paying clients. The idea is that you must focus most on quality rather than quantity. Focusing more on quality builds a reputation that even allows you to charge premium amounts for your services.
Effective Communication Is Indispensable
Effective communication is taken lightly in most businesses; I keep noticing that. I appreciate that there is a need for specialization and compartmentalization in most businesses. Be that as it may, every working unit must be on the same page and all working units must be on the same page. It takes lots of standardization through frameworks such as standard operating procedures (SOPs). The bottom line is whenever there is a work-related engagement between and amongst the team common understanding must be achieved.
There must be a healthy top-down and bottom-up participatory approach to communication. People must not be gagged or choked with bureaucracies that stifle effective communication. Messages must be conveyed with clarity and culture of seeking clarity where needs be must be allowed. A setup where subordinates are not allowed to have a voice is counterproductive.
I can bet you that every successful business in the world lives for its customers. As a business, you must be eager to always know what you are customers are experiencing. You must be actively involved in engaging with them to ascertain what their needs are. In business, it is very easy to get lost along the way and forget you exist because of your customers. They are your lifeline and if you lose them you are done. If all businesses understood and practised this we would never bemoan poor customer service.
Whenever you do anything as a business, it must be for your customer. Your priority is the customer, all else comes thereafter. Are you thinking of introducing new products or services? Are you thinking of pivoting or scaling? Are you thinking of rebranding? Do not do it for yourself; do it for your customers. Take advantage of digital platforms such as websites and social media. Those platforms help you plan, develop, and nurture your customer relationship management. Businesses that pay rapt attention to these issues at all times win big.
Corporate Social Responsibility Must Be A Culture
Giving back to the community must become more of a passion than an obligation. CSR is beneficial to a business in so many ways. Aside from benefits such as paying less tax and all, CSR helps build communities around your business. Let me also add that as a business be found to be actively involved in sustainability initiatives. Not only does this potentially open you up to investment opportunities, but it also boosts your brand reputation. You will even notice a corresponding business growth simply because people like to associate themselves with doers of good. Do not be taken aback by businesses that channel millions and billions into philanthropy and the like. Start where you are, when it comes to giving back to the community nothing is too small.
These 5 business lessons apply to any business, anywhere, and any time. If you are into business I urge you to work these lessons into your business strategy formulation. See to it that they inform your brand identity as well. You will never go wrong by applying these lessons to your business.