No matter how well we prepare in business, problems happen. Whether they stem from within the structure of your business, or they come from an outside force, there are ways to act preemptively in an effort to mitigate the impact.
- Know your Environment: If you are in a seasonally-reliant business, be prepared for slow months before they sneak upon you. Likewise, be prepared for the rigors of very busy months by having adequately trained staff in place prior to the sudden influx of business. If you’re in the tax preparation business, don’t wait until January to prepare your staff for the busy season. Even if you are not in a truly “seasonal” business, there are always times that are busier than others. Being aware of these unique factors in advance will help you better prepare to serve your customers, avoid problems with service delivery, and ultimately improve your bottom line.
- Empower your Staff: Strong leaders need not only prepare their staff members with adequate training and supervision. The cornerstone of effective leadership is “Empowerment”. Equipping your staff with core business knowledge is certainly a key component, but empowering your staff to deal with issues on the spot is an exceptional way to avoid long-standing problems. Perhaps you own a service-based business and one of your employees could have handled a basic issue “on the spot”, yet lacked the authority to make the decision. Even a short delay in decision making can make the customer lose confidence entirely. Empowering your staff to make sensible decisions will not only avoid the problem from escalating, it will also improve employee morale and the overall delivery of customer service…..both of which will lead to less problems.
- Plan before Implementing: Often problems arise from the implementation of new systems and policies. In food service, problems can arise from the simple introduction of a new menu item. Many businesses overhaul computer systems without adequate preparation. No matter what is being introduced or updated, an effective leader should always plan thoroughly prior to implementing anything new. Make sure everyone on your staff is privy to the details of any new business plan. With proper planning, testing, and overall logistical review, a strong leader can avoid any problems from arising by simply planning before implementing.