Tips for running your own business at Specsavers
December 12, 2017
1. Look after your employees who look after your customers who look after your business
Never forget that your employees are your greatest asset. Without employees, you don’t have a business. Maintain regular communication with all your team - in person, by phone, email, text, group chat and conference calls. Spend time with each of your team to get to know them as individuals and organise team building sessions to help you understand their role within a team. Once you understand each person, delegate tasks that develops their skills and keeps them interested in their work. Never assume you know how an individual will react to a suggestion – ask, don’t tell. Ensure your team know they are valued, for example remember their birthday.
2. Do your best every minute of every day
Recommendation by word of mouth is your best advertising. This applies to attracting new customers as well as employees. Create a culture where everyone in your team wants to be the best they can be all the time and be quick to recognise and publicly praise those that go the extra mile. Different people have different motivators. Being part of a successful team is a strong reason why people enjoy being at work.
3. Involve your team in business decisions
Really listen to your team as they are a great source of ideas, knowledge and experience. Be as open as you can. If there’s a problem, ask them what the solution is. They will very often see things from an angle you haven’t considered. React to what they say, implement their ideas and give credit when due. Buy in is greater and therefore change is easier when people understand why change is needed and feel they have had a say in how the change is to be implemented
4. Be prepared to work hard
Running your own business is not an easy option. You have responsibility for your staff and customers and property at all times. There are times when you are required to work long hours, to meet a deadline or complete admin after a day spent covering a clinic for someone who is on leave. But you’ll be proud of what you have achieved.
5. Be available
You own the business so your team need to be confident that they can contact you when they need to. If you know you are not going to be able to respond, tell them for how long and be available again when you say you will. We all need time off, so train someone you can trust to look after your business when you are on leave. Never leave your business without a contactable leader.
6. Invest in equipment and training
Your employees work hard for your business. Regularly check that their equipment is in good condition and replace anything worn out. This not only ensures that your staff are not struggling with faulty equipment, but looks professional to customers. Professionalism also comes with confidence. A business is a dynamic environment often with new products being launched on an increasingly regular basis. It is vital that employees receive training and have time to keep up to date with new products and advances in technology.
7. Keep on top of financial pointers
Set time aside to check your sales figures. Don’t get hung up on short term fluctuations, but do notice when sales are unexpectedly high or low and reflect on why that is. Be aware of what income you need to cover your outgoings. Don’t be afraid to spend money to develop your business, but only when your business can afford it. Plan and maintain a healthy cash flow. Keep careful control on stock levels as being under or over stocked results in a lack of efficiency.
8. Be prepared for change
Running a successful business means always being on the lookout for new opportunities and threats and responding to them. Part of a business owners role is to embrace change and lead your team through them in a positive, empathetic way. A successful business never stays still for long so the willingness to not be afraid of change in a dynamic environment is important. Remember you are not alone. Use the wealth of support available to you, from within your team, other business leaders as well as books and online resources. It’s important to remember that everyone needs a hand from time to time and it’s OK to ask when you need support.
9. Don’t be afraid of making mistakes
In the early months of running a business, fear is never far away. Someone new to running a business should expect to make mistakes. If you don’t make mistakes, you are not pushing hard enough as mistakes show that you are trying new things and working outside of your comfort zone. Mistakes are opportunities to learn and improve.
10. See the funny side
Running a business is hard work and demanding, especially if you are new to it. It is also hugely satisfying and rewarding. Even when things don’t go so well, try to keep a healthy perspective and accept that things will not always go smoothly. Keep a sense of humour. No one wants to work for a grumpy boss.