“Be sure you put your feet in the right place, then stand firm.”
How do you measure strength when it comes to your company? How do you know if you have a strong business? If you measure your business strength by only its finances, then I believe you are missing some very important areas that will either make or break that financial measurement.
Here are 10 ways to identify whether or not your business is strong:
Strong leadership – Are you a leader or a manager? There is a difference. People follow leaders. In many cases, people just tolerate managers. Leaders have a vision. Leaders have a strategy. Leaders have the ability to communicate that strategy in such a way that their employees want to get behind them. Leaders are respected. Leaders are coaches and mentors. Leaders care about their employees. Leaders want the business to succeed more than themselves. Leaders lead from the trenches, not the ivory tower. Are you a strong leader?
Strong values – Strong businesses possess strong values that they live every day. Integrity runs throughout the organization, but it starts at the top. If your employees see you fail to show integrity, then they will act the same way with your customers and suppliers. Accountability is not just a word, but is encouraged throughout the organization. Whether something goes right or wrong, being accountable displays strong values. Additional values businesses consider are approachability, appreciation, balance, compassion, dependability, devotion, empathy, teamwork, and trust to name a few. Do you have strong values at your company?
Strong ethics – Your business ethics touch every part of your business. How you do business is reflected in what kind of relationships you have with everyone and everything your business touches. Your business ethics affect your reputation, stability, and business longevity. They influence your dealings with customers, employees, and vendors. They involve your accounting principles, quality of your products and services, marketing, and sales. The value of your ethical practices are directly related to the value of your company. Do you have strong business ethics throughout your company?
Strong customer retention – Gaining new customers is one thing. Retaining customers is something different. There are always ways to get new customers through marketing, promotions, etc. But once a customer experiences your products or services, then the real challenge begins because the quality, cost, relationship, values, ethics, reputation, etc., all come in to play when retaining customers. A good measure of a company’s strength is how many returning customers they have. Do you retain most of your customers?
Strong reputation – Reputation is more important these days than ever before. Because of social media, if a customer has a bad experience, it is broadcast to hundreds, maybe thousands of people in a matter of minutes. And once the reputation is tarnished, it is very hard to rebuild it. The old saying that a satisfied customer tells one person and a dissatisfied customer tells ten is still true today. The only difference is that it happens instantaneously! How is your company’s reputation?
Strong employee retention – Strong businesses retain employees. It’s as simple as that. Employees leave for only a few reasons: they get a better offer somewhere else, or they are so unhappy where they are that they would rather be out of work than continue to work where they are. Employees may not always be happy where they work, but employees who are treated with respect, believe the owner has their back, see a future, and believe in the company, will stay in the hope of better days ahead. How’s your employee retention?
Strong owner sense of self – A strong owner is not an egotistical owner. A strong owner doesn’t carry the weight of the world on his/her shoulders. A strong owner doesn’t feel the need to always be right. A strong owner realizes that he/she needs help on occasion. Strong owners seek help. They rely on others. They yield to others who have more experience and/or knowledge in specific areas. Strong owners know who they are and know what they know and are not threatened by the realization that they don’t know everything. How many hats are you wearing?
Strong support – Strong businesses have strong support mechanisms. This means good, trustworthy suppliers and vendors; owners who have good accountability business partners and coaches; strong employee, community, and professional relationships and bonds; and organizations and people who can be relied upon to help the business succeed. How much and what kind of support do you have?
Strong optimism – For the most part, businesses go up and down, that is the way of it. Very few businesses have a product or service that is so unique that at some time in their business life they will not face challenges. Every business comes to a fork in the road where decisions must be made. But through it all, it is imperative that the owner, the stakeholders, and the employees remain positive with a strong sense of optimism that regardless of the challenge, they will come out of it stronger and better than when they went in. Do you remain optimistic regardless of the challenge?
Strong community service – Giving back. Strong companies give back for the betterment of others. This affects the business leadership, ethics, reputation, values, customer and employee retention, support, optimism, and the owner’s sense of self. Helping for the sake of helping. Giving for no other reason than because it is the right thing to do. This is a strong business. How much do you give back?
Concentrate on these ten areas and strong financial results will follow. Concentrate only on strong financial results and the rest of your business will suffer.