What you do as a business person weighs heavily on how your business fares. It’s universally considered that the person is more important than the actual business idea & the business. This spells out the indispensable need to focus on one’s conduct as it has a huge bearing on the performance of any business initiative. This not only pertains to the business owner but all the people involved in the day to day running of a business. Here I take some time to discuss some bad business habits that we see in Zimbabwe.
Poor Regard for Time
Time is a finite resource which, due to its linear nature, cannot be recovered once lost. It’s common for people to say, “I don’t have enough time”, however, that statement isn’t valid. If you fail to schedule your activities, doing things spontaneously, chances are you will focus on some activities at the expense of others. Procrastination is another behaviour that stems from having a poor regard for time. We all have a finite 24 hours in a day yet some achieve way more than others; it’s simply because most people don’t value time enough to plan for it, scheduling their activities & sticking to those schedules.
Lack Of Emotional Restraint
The ability to note, comprehend & handle your emotions and those of others is very important. In any business environment you interact with people both internally and externally thus you cannot ignore issues to do with emotional intelligence. Generally, most individuals are predisposed to let their emotions dictate their conduct & this usually leads to a lot of damage. Businesses are majorly characterized by relationships & partnerships; due to the uniqueness of people, conflict is inevitable. Not exercising emotional restraint has led to the erosion of many business partnerships & poor business performance.
Some would argue that being corrupt or subscribing to corrupt systems is justifiable because corruption is now the order of the day. However, the high prevalence of corruption doesn’t miraculously make it good or acceptable. Corruption gels together a lot of negative behaviours such as dishonesty, blackmail, deception, theft, etc. The consequences of engaging in such distorts a business’ corporate image, promotes crime, can lead to a business being heavily fined & criminal prosecutions of individuals can even be made. Corruption is arguably one of the biggest cause of the demise of this economy thus engaging in corruption only exacerbates the problem.
Poor Customer Care
The very existence of a business is hinged on its customers. The growth of any business is premised on how many people purchase the products or services it offers. Therefore, how you treat your customers is of great importance because the livelihood of your business depends on it. Sadly, most businesses operate as if they are doing customers a favour, as in, when customers need any assistance they treat them as though they’re a burden. Being impolite, ignoring customer requests, slow service delivery etc, are behaviours that are very injurious to a business.
There are a lot of business owners, supervisors, department heads & so on who are found wanting on this. There is nothing wrong in monitoring how people are carrying out their incumbent roles & responsibilities; however, it mustn’t be overly done. If it becomes too excessive it gives an impression that you don’t trust in the ability of people to do what’s expected of them on their own. This results in low morale & significantly drowns the effectiveness of people to exhibit their full capabilities.
Generally, people are highly given over to overworking because they feel they get more done that way. Thus, you will find people working 12 hour days, barely eating, not resting & getting little sleep. The consequences of this on one’s health are dire e.g. decreased ability to perform due to poor health, lots of money incurred to cater for health bills & even subsequent death.
It is said that if you fail to plan, you plan to fail, yet most people operate businesses oblivious of this fundamental aspect. Whenever you do anything in business you ought to plan first, in other words, you must count the cost. Planning entails things like business plans, strategic plans, budgets, monitoring & evaluation frameworks, policies etc. Without these you won’t be able to properly measure progress, forecast, make decisions, prioritize & operate within your means. A plan guides your steps, without it you tread blindly.
Operating Without SOPs
SOPs are Standard Operating Procedures; they outline & detail how business processes or operations are carried out plus the people involved in the processes. Many businesses operate without these & things are just done randomly or haphazardly. When SOPs are present & adhered to, they make it easy to audit trails, to specialize & rightly allocate tasks, and promote accountability. Not having them leads to scenarios where it’s difficult to audit, trace or identify problem areas.
Centralization of Power
This is commonly coined as “one centre of power” in political circles. This is a phenomenon that is also quite prevalent in business circles too. It stems from an unhealthy obsession with power to a point where all key decisions are localized to just one individual or a handful of individuals. This promotes a top-down approach where only what’s said by the top echelons is considered & not what’s said by low-level personnel. It also stifles the ability to effectively delegate tasks; delegation involves delegated authority and such is unacceptable in a centralized power setup.
These are just some of the bad habits that business players operate with in Zimbabwe. The key in breaking a bad habit is replacing it with a good one. Your business is a reflection of your habits or routines, thus you must foster & inculcate good habits in your business operations. They say it takes 21 days to form a good habit, so make it a point to break bad business habits this 2019.