BE QUICK AND WAIT

About six months ago I posted about poor communication losing sales, the post was titled, ‘Don’t waste your money on marketing! if you are going to sabotage what you do’ and the moral of the story was, communicate with your customers and they will stay with you, ignore them and they will leave. This post is about great communication generating sales. Last time it was about lager and cider this time it is about cider and lager.

On Thursday I was checking Facebook when an ad popped up for 3 cases of cider for the price of 2. I currently have a reasonable stock of BrewDog Lost Lager and am expecting a delivery of Toast beer soon, so I don’t really need any more alcohol, but I do like a special offer. I sent the company an email to ask if their ciders were vegan and got on with some work. Three minutes later an email pinged into my inbox saying yes, they are. I fired back “Wow that was quick” and instantly got “It is very nice cider. We just won another 6 awards in the international cider challenge” as a reply. My next response was a bit slower and said, “Just placed an order” and got the reply “Brilliant. It will go out tomorrow as you have missed today’s cut off.  Should be with you on Saturday”. Fair enough, it was five thirty in the afternoon.

When I saw the ad I was in a buying mood, had the company responded to my email the next day that would have been acceptable, but I may not have been in a buying mood and had they replied after the weekend I would probably have forgotten all about wanting any cider. The quicker you can respond to an enquiry the more likely you are to catch someone in buying mode.

With face-to-face or telephone selling salespeople sometimes take customers passed the point where they want to buy. Here the mnemonic WAIT – Why Am I Talking? can come in useful. Pick up on the clues and give the customer space to make the buying decision rather than firing more and more sales messages at them.

Cheers – if you have never tasted Natch give it a go – awesome cider.

Honesty Box

The seed of an idea for these business blogs has to grow and I nurture it until it is ready to harvest, then I prepare it so you can digest it. If you found the content useful please consider popping some money into the honesty box. Unlike buying eggs at the farm gate, you cannot put the cash in a box because you are reading this online. You can click on the Buy Me a Coffee link below which will take you to a page where by magic (nifty software) a small amount of money will disappear from your account and appear in mine. Don’t worry you are in control all the time. If the post wasn’t helpful, please leave a comment suggesting how it can be improved.

If you like what I say you can buy me a coffee if you want to.

The business ideas hatchery.

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Carpe Diem

Whenever I see ‘Carpe Diem’ I cannot help but think of a fancy dish on a restaurant menu in the fish section. That is the strange way my mind works. It is of course Latin and often translated as ‘seize the day’; it is more than that it is an entreaty for someone to make the most of the present time, which is what this post is about.

It was inspired by what happened recently while I was out running. One of my routes takes me passed a house that has an amazing display when the wisteria is in full bloom. The the display had not yet reached it’s best so I did not take a photograph, deciding to return in a few days to capture it in it’s full glory. Two days later there was heavy rain with a strong wind so I decided to run along a less exposed route; it was four days before I passed the house again. And horror of horrors, all the blossoms had gone, the wind and rain had stripped them away. I should have seized the day and taken the photograph when I had the opportunity and not have put it off until the perfect moment – that didn’t materialise.

Blossom stripped wisteria

And that is how it is in business, if we do not seize the opportunity, the winds of change will snatch it away. While you are tinkering away making your product perfect someone will launch a functioning one that corners the market. If you put off making that call to a prospective customer they may no longer be a customers because they have bought from elsewhere and no longer have a need.

I could go on but I am sure you have got the message – Carpe Diem.

Honesty Box

The seed of an idea for these business blogs has to grow and I nurture it until it is ready to harvest, then I prepare it so you can digest it. If you found the content useful please consider popping some money into the honesty box. Unlike buying eggs at the farm gate, you cannot put the cash in a box because you are reading this online. You can click on the Buy Me a Coffee link below which will take you to a page where by magic (nifty software) a small amount of money will disappear from your account and appear in mine. Don’t worry you are in control all the time. If the post wasn’t helpful, please leave a comment suggesting how it can be improved.

If you like what I say you can buy me a coffee if you want to.

The business ideas hatchery

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What can you learn from a Cornish hedge?

When I was out running the other day, I saw a man taking a break from creating a Cornish Hedge, which is a stone structure despite the name. He had completed about half of it and there was a big jumble of stones in front of where the rest of the hedge would go. I wish him good morning and said something about the hedge which led to a conversation. He was not a happy man although I expect that was only a temporary situation. I usually find craftsmen to be contented people.

He was building the hedge on the boundary of a new build house and explained that although the owners had paid for a lot of fancy expensive stuff in the house, they had insisted on buying cheap stone for the wall, despite his advice that it was a false economy. The infill material they had supplied was also substandard as well. He explained that it was taking a lot longer to make something half decent out of the material than had it been good quality material. He said, “to be honest I’d be happy if it fell over once I have left.” I ran on thinking about his words. When I ran past again later, I could tell from his body language that his heart was not in it.

The craftsman’s situation is what often happens in many businesses, employees are expected to work with poor materials, ineffective or no training and inadequate support from management.  Management who are quite happy to have nice cars, posh offices and a sparkle reception area but are not prepared to invest in their biggest asset, their people. Those people will not be happy in their work, it will take them longer to do things ,they will become dissatisfied and may leave hoping your business collapses. Happy workers with the right materials will build something of quality that will pass the test of time.

When I try and put up shelves at home it doesn’t turn out well. It is not because I set out to do a bad job, no it is because I do not have the right tools for the job or the relevant training and experience. Staff do not set out to do a bad job and some succeed in doing a great job despite management’s attempts to frustrate them, but most end up producing something like my shelving attempts.

It is not their fault, management have either employed the wrong person (I now know to employ a professional rather than to attempt all but the most minor DIY jobs myself), not provided the right tools and materials or, in some cases, the right training.  One last thing, listen to advice from people who know what they are doing, like the guy I talked to on my run. Workers often know more about the coalface than bosses or in his case the property owner.

Honesty Box

The seed of an idea for these business blogs has to grow and I nurture it until it is ready to harvest, then I prepare it so you can digest it. If you found the content useful please consider popping some money into the honesty box. Unlike buying eggs at the farm gate, you cannot put the cash in a box because you are reading this online. You can click on the Buy Me a Coffee link below which will take you to a page where by magic (nifty software) a small amount of money will disappear from your account and appear in mine. Don’t worry you are in control all the time. If the post wasn’t helpful, please leave a comment suggesting how it can be improved.

If you like what I say you can buy me a coffee if you want to.

The business ideas hatchery

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Business lessons from running

Land’s End

A brief introduction then I get to the business bit.

A few weeks ago, I volunteered as support crew on the Endurancelife Classic Quarter, a race that takes runners from Lizard Point to Land’s End. So, from the most southerly point of the UK mainland to the most westerly; one quarter of the compass hence the name. The race consists of a tough 44 miles on the coastal path, my water station was in Penzance about 28 miles into the event. Previously I have worked at some stunning locations, Church Cove and Minack Theatre, now I ask for the uninspiring spot in Penzance. I went car free at the beginning of 2019 (check out my blog) and Penzance is the easiest place to get to by public transport.

When the runners leave the water point they pass through a gap in the wall (not the sea wall thankfully) then head across the car park to cut behind the harbour and on to Newlyn. They could turn left which would take them along a dead end on the left of the harbour or right through the bus station, which is effectively going back in the direction they have come. I keep an eye out to make sure they go the right way; surprisingly, some don’t despite there being a sign pointing the way a little way ahead. Okay it is only the size of a postcard, but it does have two bright red chevrons on and you would have thought that after 28 miles runners would have got used to spotting them.

I have never got lost on an Endurancelife event and I have run plenty of them. I think that is because I run a lot on poorly defined routes in training. In Cornwall (it is probably the same elsewhere) the council grades footpaths Gold, Silver and Bronze, Gold paths, because they are popular, are well defined, well signposted and regularly maintained, Silver get less attention and Bronze virtually none. Being a ‘path less well travelled’ type of person I seek out Bronze routes, which means when I enter a field, I have a vague idea where the path goes but have to look into the distance to spot a gap in the fence or other indication of which way I should head across the field, and of course I have done my homework and studied the map before I set out.  When it comes to races it is in my DNA to be alert when there is a choice of directions, even when it is not obvious there is a choice, and I am tuned in to seeing signs. It’s likely that the runners who miss the signs and go the wrong way are not used to off-road running or are only used to running on well-defined routes.

Now to the business bit. A lot of business owners do not see the signs and take the wrong path. Many have their heads down working in the business and they do not see that they are at a junction and need to work on the business to take it in a different direction. They do not see changes in customer or competitor behaviour, new entrants into the market or advances in technology. Be like a savvy trail runner, keep your head up, look around and see the signs.

There is something else businesses can learn from runners. Like other sportspeople runners train all the time to perform at their best. It’s strange that businesspeople think they can be at the top of their game all of the time without training. Wisdoms123 Chats are a great way to train your brain and stay sharp. I pop across to South Africa (virtually) every weekday morning to discuss business topics with a diverse group of people for 30 to 40 minutes. Thinking about what I’m going to contribute on the subject that has been set is good training; however, I get the greatest benefit from listening to others that have different options from me.  The South African chats are at 7 am UK time (8 am in South Africa), if that is too early or too much of a commitment drop into the UK ones on a Wednesday at 8 am UK time. It’s not networking, there is no selling, it’s just getting those little grey cells in your brain in great shape. Sign up here for free then you can use the link you are sent to attend any of the chats.

Honesty Box

The seed of an idea for these business blogs has to grow and I nurture it until it is ready to harvest, then I prepare it so you can digest it. If you found the content useful please consider popping some money into the honesty box. Unlike buying eggs at the farm gate, you cannot put the cash in a box because you are reading this online. You can click on the Buy Me a Coffee link below which will take you to a page where by magic (nifty software) a small amount of money will disappear from your account and appear in mine. Don’t worry you are in control all the time. If the post wasn’t helpful, please leave a comment suggesting how it can be improved.

If you like what I say you can buy me a coffee if you want to.

The business ideas hatchery.

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Feedback the oxygen of success

Below is a copy of a blog post I wrote a few years ago about running. The principles about the benefits of getting feedback, particularly from someone outside of the situation, apply to businesses. If you are a sole trader, you may want to get the view of a mentor or business consultant.

I was having supper with my younger daughter, Charlotte, at the Bay View Inn a few weeks ago and was surprised by what she said. Now that I live at the other end of Cornwall from her, we do not see each other as often as we used to. This was the first time I had seen her since completing the Kalahari Augrabies Extreme Marathon in October.

We chatted and caught up with each other’s news and then inevitably the conversation turned to the Kalahari event. Charlotte is very knowledgeable about it; she has crewed on it three times and grown up listening to her father talk about it. I said that I had struggled this year and thought it was my slowest ever. “No, it wasn’t Dad” she immediately replied, “I was following your progress via the website and there are a couple of years that you were slower”. I was aware that she knew how I was doing because she had sent me a lovely email of support during the event, which I got on the rest day. The organisers print emails out and deliver them to the overnight camps the following day. What I had not realised was the depth of her interest and that she would look back at the history to see how I was doing compared with previous years. It gave me a nice warm feeling inside.

Our conversation was interrupted by the start of the pub quiz on gin. The Bay View Inn has a good range of speciality gins; many of them from Cornwall. We did not do very well in the quiz, but we didn’t come last. Just before we left Charlotte asked if I was going back in 2019. I replied that I wasn’t sure. Completing 10 was my big aim and I achieved this in 2016. I had always planned a year off after that. Going back in 2018 had been wonderful, but I now felt that I could pick and choose when I go back. Charlotte, who is always direct said “Don’t be too picky, if you want to do another 10 you haven’t got a lot of time to play with.” (I am 64).

Later, when I was lying in bed and reflecting on the evening, still enjoying the rosy glow from the fact that Charlotte had shown so much interest in what her Dad was doing, I thought about how useful her feedback was. She had observed what was happening and looked at the data, so knew it wasn’t my slowest performance. I had been relying on emotion and been subjective about my performance labelling it my worst. Charlotte helped me put it in context. And when it came to thinking of the future, I was looking at it from an internal perspective, I would pick and choose. She had an external view and saw the whole picture; I do have limited time. If I do not miss a year, I will be 73 when I complete my 20th, not a too ambitious a goal as the oldest finisher so far is Harry Hunter aged 70. But miss a few years and the goal will become much tougher and possibly out of reach.

Thank you, Charlotte, for providing clarity.

Feedback should always be about behaviour not personality, I know that Charlotte loves me and would never personally criticise me. We had some moments during her teenage years, and I remember her turning around one day and say, “Dad, you irritate the hell out of me, I know it is because you care, but it’s still bloody irritating.” Get feedback from someone you have a good relationship with, and it will be focused on helping you. Charlotte knows how important the Kalahari Augrabies Extreme Marathon is to me so is prepared to point out that I am getting on a bit and need to get a move on achieving my goal. I know that she cares so I take heed of what she says.

If you don’t have someone you have an exceptionally good relationship with who can comment knowledgeably on your business find someone you have no relationship with i.e., an external consultant.  

Honesty Box

The seed of an idea for these business blogs has to grow and I nurture it until it is ready to harvest, then I prepare it so you can digest it. If you found the content useful please consider popping some money into the honesty box. Unlike buying eggs at the farm gate, you cannot put the cash in a box because you are reading this online. You can click on the Buy Me a Coffee link below which will take you to a page where by magic (nifty software) a small amount of money will disappear from your account and appear in mine. Don’t worry you are in control all the time. If the post wasn’t helpful, please leave a comment suggesting how it can be improved.

If you like what I say you can buy me a coffee if you want to.

The business ideas hatchery

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Yes you can

Minimum Viable Product

Every weekday morning at 7.00am I pop across to South Africa (thanks to the wonders of Zoom and the internet) to take part in Wisdoms123 Chats. These last for about 30 to 40 minutes and are conversations about business, sometimes life, topics. Great training for the mind. It’s interesting that sports people train to keep their bodies fit and ready to compete, yet businesspeople, competing in the marketplace, seldom train their minds.

At the beginning of the week, I was impressed by what a young South African, Thabiso, said. He wanted to make a record but did not know anyone in the music business and could not afford to hire a recording studio. Thabiso concentrated on what he had and what he could do, not on what he didn’t have and what he couldn’t do. He found some software for his mobile phone that would allow him to create a soundtrack and then allow him to record voice onto it. Where he lived was always noisy, so he went to Sandton an affluent area of Johannesburg to find a quiet spot.

A local park looked like the perfect spot as it was virtually deserted; however, when he started recording there was a problem, there was a breeze, and this was affecting the microphone. I’m sure you know what this sounds like from receiving mobile phone calls from people standing in a windy spot. He started to think about where else he could go when he spotted the solution, a portable toilet. He would be out of the wind there, so he went inside and started recording. About halfway through he was interrupted by a knocking on the door. Someone wanted to use the facilities for something more basic than laying down some tracks. Thabiso waited patiently outside until he was able to go back inside and finish the recordings.

The next stage was to head off to find somewhere with free Wi-Fi so he could upload everything to SoundCloud, which is where you can hear the recordings, just search using antakalipa. You will know you are in the right place when you see the photo of the portable toilet.

What a great example, creating the Minimum Viable Product to get his music to the public and not being put off by a lack of facilities.

Remember

If it is important, you will find a way

If it is not, you will find an excuse

Honesty Box

The seed of an idea for these business blogs has to grow and I nurture it until it is ready to harvest, then I prepare it so you can digest it. If you found the content useful please consider popping some money into the honesty box. Unlike buying eggs at the farm gate, you cannot put the cash in a box because you are reading this online. You can click on the Buy Me a Coffee link below which will take you to a page where by magic (nifty software) a small amount of money will disappear from your account and appear in mine. Don’t worry you are in control all the time. If the post wasn’t helpful, please leave a comment suggesting how it can be improved.

If you like what I say you can buy me a coffee if you want to.

The business ideas hatchery

Make time

When I say make time, I don’t mean manufacture the currency of the Grim Reaper, that isn’t possible. We all get 86,400 seconds each day, no more, no less, and there is no carrying over unused seconds to the next day. Life is not a mobile phone contract where unused minutes or data can be taken forward to the next period. No what I mean is make space in your busy schedule for important stuff, important to you.

What planted the seed for this blog post was a comment during a networking event. It’s an event where we all know each other so instead of pitching for business we have a chat about success, problems, frustrations, concerns and anything else that people want to talk about. One of the participants, who pops in when she can, and often only for part of the meeting because she is so busy, normally talks about how busy and stressed she is. This time she was stressed because she had no work and now, she was going to have to work on a marketing plan to try an attract customers. The nature of the business is such that once a contract is complete her services are no longer needed by that particular company. She had been so busy working in the business she had not devoted any time to working on the business. Had she allocated say 10% of her time to gaining new customers, planning for new contracts to start when others were finishing, there would be a steady flow of work and overall, there would be more income than under her flat out then nothing approach; feast and famine, boom and bust – I’m sure you can think of more.

Big lesson – marketing is important all of the time. You might do less during some periods, but it is always important.

Many small business owners, and the self-employed, often fall into the trap of being too busy working in the business to have time to work on the business. Too often they have their noses to the grindstone and fail to spot that they are about to hit a brick wall, or worse fall, off a cliff. They fail to spot opportunities or to realise that the world has changed and what they are doing is not the most efficient way, or worse, what their customers really want.


Lego Serious Play

Recently I took time out of my business to attend a workshop facilitated by someone from the University of Exeter using the Lego Serious Play method. Building models to depict circumstances, thinking and plans helped me view things differently. I spotted a left field opportunity that had previously be out of my sightline. I don’t always have my nose to the grindstone; however, I am probably guilty of always looking in the same direction and am perhaps a little short-sighted. Just like in a pantomime that good idea might be behind you.

Take time out, do something different and improve your business performance.


Honesty Box

The seed of an idea for these business blogs has to grow and I nurture it until it is ready to harvest, then I prepare it so you can digest it. If you found the content useful please consider popping some money into the honesty box. Unlike buying eggs at the farm gate, you cannot put the cash in a box because you are reading this online. You can click on the Buy Me a Coffee link below which will take you to a page where by magic (nifty software) a small amount of money will disappear from your account and appear in mine. Don’t worry you are in control all the time. If the post wasn’t helpful, please leave a comment suggesting how it can be improved.

If you like what I say you can buy me a coffee if you want to.

Business ideas hatchery

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You don’t need to read business blogs.

The title might seem to be shooting myself in the foot; however, I believe honesty is important. If you keep reading you will find that reading blogs can be a good thing.

Reading business blogs is good for business, unfortunately it is not always your business that benefits and if you follow advice without thinking it will also usually be to your detriment. I searched on ‘business blogs’ and this was one of the results that search returned; 100 business blogs that you need to start reading”. What! Who has the time to follow one hundred blogs? At five minutes a blog that’s eight hours and twenty minutes – a whole day out of the week if they post weekly. Some I checked out posted daily.

The link took me to an article on the resources page of the Quickbooks website which was headed, “ Starting up – 100 business blogs that you need to start reading”. Now you might think Quickbooks would know what they are talking about, but I was thinking far from quick, more like bogged down in blogs. The article did recover some credibility when it said “No matter where you are in your business journey, there’s a business blog for you. Instead of scouring search engines for the best blogs, we compiled our picks for today’s 100 best business blogs” Ah, so when they say 100 business blogs you should start reading, they actually mean here is a list, pick a few. They very helpfully list them by category, Starting up, Sales, Marketing, etc.

The article is on the Quickbooks USA website, so the blogs recommended are American and tend to be prolific. This is the listing for one blog in the Marketing section: Appcues – “Their blog is loaded with hundreds of posts on the nuances of onboarding new customers, which every entrepreneur knows is a real challenge. Let Appcues fill you in on the nuts and bolts of making your customers happy and successful.” I think many small businesses wouldn’t have enough customers to need hundreds of nuanced onboarding techniques.

No, you don’t need to read business blogs, especially when you first start in business. It is a good idea to read some basic business guides. There are plenty available from trade bodies like the Federation of Small Businesses, the Government, or your bank. Then get on and work on your business.

The time for reading blogs is after you have had plenty of experiences, then you can blogs for inspiration, getting confirmation you are going in the right direction, having a different perspective and for firing up the creative process. One of the 100 blogs, James Clear’s Blog, has a post about this, drawing on the small, but exceptionally good 1965 book,  A Technique for Producing Ideas which says:

“creative thinking is not about generating something new from a blank slate, but rather about taking what is already present and combining those bits and pieces in a way that has not been done previously”

So, you combine your experience with stuff in blogs and hey presto up pop some great new ideas.

There are some useful articles on the James Clear website neatly arranged in the following categories.

  • Creativity
  • Decision making
  • Focus
  • Habits
  • Life Lessons
  • Motivation
  • Productivity
  • Self-improvement

Some of the articles, for example ‘For a More Creative Brain Follow These 5 Steps’, appear in more than one category. My favourite one so far is The Ultimate Productivity Hack is Saying No.

Honesty Box

The seed of an idea for these business blogs has to grow and I nurture it until it is ready to harvest, then I prepare it so you can digest it. If you found the content useful please consider popping some money into the honesty box. Unlike buying eggs at the farm gate, you cannot put the cash in a box because you are reading this online. You can click on the Buy Me a Coffee link below which will take you to a page where by magic (nifty software) a small amount of money will disappear from your account and appear in mine. Don’t worry you are in control all the time. If the post wasn’t helpful, please leave a comment suggesting how it can be improved.

If you like what I say you can buy me a coffee if you want to.

Business ideas hatchery

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IYMC

You probably have no idea what the title of this blog post means; that was the intention. Is Your Message Clear? (IYMC) This post is about how the thoughtless use of initialisations can have a negative impact on the impression you are trying to make or the message you are delivering. My post on 21st March was in a similar vein dealing with acronyms, this post focusses on two letter initialisations. Think of it as reinforcement rather than repetition.

There are two recent examples that stand out. The first was during an international Zoom meeting. One of the attendees was referring to the challenges her business had faced at the beginning of coronavirus restrictions imposed in South Africa. She had just said that she was not very PC when her video froze. I was relieved that I was going to escape hearing some blunt inappropriate comments. Political Correctness has a bad reputation; however, I often find that when people say they are not very PC it is an excuse to say unpleasant things. Her video then restarted without any loss of content, so I heard “…literate. I struggled with the move to online meetings and having to get to grips with things like Zoom and Microsoft Teams”. I now felt sympathetic to her situation, picturing her stressed sitting in front of her Personal Computer. Had the video not restarted and we moved on to the next person I may have left that meeting with completely the wrong impression of her.

I could only think of three meanings of PC, the third being Police Constable. I did a little bit of research and was amazed to find there are 325 listed meanings. I should have been able to think of some of those: Parish Council, Privy Council, Public Convenience and Petty Cash.

The second example is from a few hours later during an online networking meeting based in the UK. A new attendee was giving his 1-minute presentation explaining what he did and that he was also setting up another business with a focus on training covering PM …. I have no idea what he said next as I was wondering whether he was going to only do the training in the afternoon or whether he had a different meaning of PM. Through my brain fog I heard him talk about Project Management, could that be what he meant by PM? I missed the rest of the of what he was saying as I was trying to remember if I had ever heard Project Management referred to as PM. I have not, but this sent me off thinking about the project management methodology PRINCE which was wonderfully renamed in a Civil Service acronym competition from PRINCE to PRINCE. I should explain that originally it meant PROMPT II IN the CCTA Environment after the competition it meant PRojects IN Controlled Environments. Civil Servants certainly know how to have fun. By the time I returned my attention back to the meeting he had finished speaking so I missed his message and have no idea what he did. My research discovered that there are 195 different meaning of PM and Project Management was not listed as one of them.  

Hopefully, that illustrates the damage that careless use of initialisations can cause. If you want to know what PROMPT and CCTA (used above) stand for use GOOGLE, which is not an acronym. The origin of the name is however interesting.

Finally, a word of warning, do not use initials when talking to a farmer about Artificial Intelligence or a nurse about Public Relations, you may see them reaching for gloves.

Honesty Box

The seed of an idea for these business blogs has to grow and I nurture it until it is ready to harvest, then I prepare it so you can digest it. If you found the content useful please consider popping some money into the honesty box. Unlike buying eggs at the farm gate, you cannot put the cash in a box because you are reading this online. You can click on the Buy Me a Coffee link below which will take you to a page where by magic (nifty software) a small amount of money will disappear from your account and appear in mine. Don’t worry you are in control all the time. If the post wasn’t helpful, please leave a comment suggesting how it can be improved.

If you like what I say you can buy me a coffee if you want to.

Business ideas hatchery

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Is your efficiency effective?

In the interests of efficiency, I am keeping this post short; however, it will be effective.

Some definitions will start the process of deciding if your efficiency is effective.

Efficiency: noun – the state or quality of being efficient.

Efficient: adjective – working in a well-organized and competent way.

Effective: adjective – successful in producing a desired or intended result.

It’s entirely possible to work in a well organised and competent way without producing the desired result for all sorts of reasons. Bing Crosby sung about being busy; the first two and last two lines are particularly relevant.

We’re busy doin’ nothin’

Workin’ the whole day through

Never do, never do, never do have the time

Never do have the time

Being busy and being efficient isn’t the most important thing in business, being effective is. Being lazy and doing things in a very roundabout way will not generate great results, so busy and efficient are important, but they are trumped by effective.

To be effective (producing a desired result) obviously requires you to know what result you want and how to get there, and that is where things get tricky. You need to know what is important and what measures to use.

Here is a theoretical example: A meal delivery service launched having done plenty of research and found that the key elements customers wanted were consistently high-quality food and reliable delivery. Testing with customers showed that the meals rated highly for quality. The company invested in software to calculate the optimum route and sequence for deliveries. The delivery system was super-efficient. The drivers were happy, as they were paid per item delivered and could deliver lots of items in a day, and the customers received their meals on time. Initially everything went well then, the company started to loose customers. There were no complaints about quality, price or delivery and surveys show these were not issues. The company arranged some focus groups to see what was going on. “Your food is just as good as xxxxxx and so is the delivery, I prefer xxxxxx because Andre the driver always asks how I am, and we have a little chat”. The drive for efficiency had driven that ‘nice’ part of the customer experience out of the equation compromising effectiveness. Slack in the delivery process was a necessary element of providing an effective solution; happy customers.

Honesty Box

The seed of an idea for these business blogs has to grow and I nurture it until it is ready to harvest, then I prepare it so you can digest it. If you found the content useful please consider popping some money into the honesty box. Unlike buying eggs at the farm gate, you cannot put the cash in a box because you are reading this online. You can click on the Buy Me a Coffee link below which will take you to a page where by magic (nifty software) a small amount of money will disappear from your account and appear in mine. Don’t worry you are in control all the time. If the post wasn’t helpful, please leave a comment suggesting how it can be improved.

If you like what I say you can buy me a coffee if you want to.

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