Are you trying to destroy your business?

Martin port

By Martin Port

20 April 2023

Sometimes, I speak to founders and leaders about their businesses, and I’m left wondering: do you really want to succeed?

“I don’t like getting up early.”

“We lost the contract and there’s nothing I can do.”

“We only have two people in customer service, so they are overwhelmed.”

Honestly, what are you thinking?

To be successful in business – and in life – you need to push yourself way beyond your perceived limits. I’m talking about effort, endurance and determination, here.

If you’re the kind of person that isn’t willing to get up at 5am or work late into the night to meet a vital deadline, you might as well shut up shop right now and get a 9-5 job.

If you are someone who takes “no” for an answer and slinks off with your tail between your legs every time a door is slammed in your face, then entrepreneurship is not for you.

And if you aren’t willing to invest in customer service, if you’re anything less than obsessed with making sure that everyone who buys from you feels special, then your company’s days are numbered.

Times are tough right now for many business owners. Costs are high, and we are all battling challenging economic headwinds here in the UK. But so what? During the lifetime of any company, there will be ups and downs. I’ve survived three recessions during my time as an entrepreneur. I’ve seen stagflation, credit crunches, you name it. You can’t control the economy; you can only control your reaction.

Here’s what I’ve learned from running businesses through tough times:

–      You have to work twice as hard

To get through the bad times, you need to put in twice the hours. You have to throw yourself into selling, constantly looking for ways to delight and serve your customers. Even in the deepest recessions, organisations still need to spend money – how can you secure some of that spend?

–      Refuse to lose

If you lose a contract or a deal, don’t think that’s the end of the story. It’s just the beginning. There’s always a way to come back from failure – tweak the package, find new and clever ways to get in front of decision-makers. The important thing is that you don’t quit, and that you truly believe that your product or service is the best solution on the market.

–      Set an example to your people

If you want your team to give their all, you need to be visible, present and engaging. Get down into the trenches, explain what needs to be done, make sure everyone knows what role they have to play, and then make sure you are there to support them.

–      Let technology bear some of the weight

Technology is amazing! There are some incredible platforms out there that can help drive efficiency and help your company survive tough times. I built one of them! BigChange not only helps thousands of businesses across the globe to be more successful, it’s also the platform we use ourselves. We have 400 licences, and use every single feature, from invoicing to job planning.

–      Double your customer service department

In good times and bad, customer service can be the difference between success and failure. In every business I’ve started, I’ve created customer service teams that are double the average size. Put your arms around the customer, make them feel valued and supported, and you’ll never lose a contract.

–      Don’t cut corners

When times are tough, it can be tempting to forget about compliance. That is a big mistake. Don’t avoid compliance, embrace it. Even when your to-do list feels impossible, prioritise health and safety and regulatory compliance. You won’t regret it.

–      Don’t watch the competition

Too many business owners waste time watching rivals. It’s a waste of time! Focus on your product and your customers. Anything else is just a distraction, and you may end up copying a bad strategy, following the competition down a blind alley. You are your own competition. Try and beat your own personal best, every day.

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