Tips from the Top®: Small Business Tips From Business Owners For Business Owners
Looking Through Green-Colored Glasses
Being a “green” business is not only good for the environment, it can contribute to your bottom line and create a competitive advantage. A 2009 study prepared for the American Small Manufacturers Coalition found that “sustainable (green) manufacturing products and processes will be seen as essential competitive differentiators in the competitive global marketplace.”Read more
How Green is Your Green?
As a recycler of antifreeze, we consider ourselves to be in a “green” industry. Recently we completed a high level sustainability assessment to identify opportunities that would minimize the company’s environmental footprint while saving money. By looking at our operations through a different lens, we learned some things that surprised us…Read more
Good Decisions Depend on the Three H’s
Good decisions are made on a combination of the three H’s: Head, Heart and History. In a business situation I start with history, as history often repeats itself, and thus, can be a great teacher. Given the history, I then use my head and think about what might have changed since then and how it applies to the current issue, problem or opportunity.Read more
Skip the Fax, Ma’am
If you are trying to go paperless in your office, don’t forget about faxing. Instead of faxing to another fax machine, which uses paper on the other end, fax or scan to an image file or a PDF. Any recent multi-function printer/fax/scanner will offer this option, and you may find that the recipient appreciates receiving the file electronically.
Ask and You May Receive
I was the smallest company competing for a major security systems contract. After I was awarded the job, several of my competitors, none of whom had submitted a bid, asked me how in the world I had walked away with the project. I thought for a moment, and then responded simply, “I asked.” If you believe in yourself and your company, I guess it shows. Don’t be shy about asking for the sale.
When hiring, consider the total cost of the new employee, rather than just the salary. We have found it worthwhile to look at older applicants even though they may come with a bigger impact on the payroll. If you include in your evaluation the cost of training, reduced productivity, poor judgment and turnover, the older applicant may be well worth the investment.
Shared Goals Drive Teamwork
We were having a hard time getting our employees to work as a team. They spent too much unproductive time complaining about each other. We developed some company goals that resulted in shared rewards. We made sure that some of the goals could only be accomplished if the team worked together. As a result, we saw significant changes in employee behavior and they developed a better understanding of how each person contributes, which reduced the complaining and improved productivity.