A best practice is a method or technique that has consistently shown results superior to those achieved with other means, and that is used as a benchmark. In addition, a “best” practice can evolve to become better as improvements are discovered. The phrase “best practices” is guidebook-like because it involves the sharing of tried-and-true ways of improving efforts, gaining momentum and formulating a strategy that allows businesses to be the best they can be thanks to a road map of sage advice from those who have “been there” before us. I think anyone who has been in business for any length of time knows there are indeed a few “best practices” for business that one must abide by if they want continued success. Yes, there are variables in this line of thinking, primarily, because no two businesses are alike. But at the end of the day, the core of advice for business best practices remains true.
Hire Good People, and Get out of Their Way: The first time I heard this saying, it was a comment made by American Industrialist Lee Iacocca. I recently heard a fresher version uttered by comedian and actress Tina Fey, “In most cases being a good boss means hiring talented people and then getting out of their way.” The core message here is to always strive to hire the best people possible, give them the tools they need to do their job and then get out of their way as opposed to micromanaging them.
Keep Expenses Down: Unless your business has really deep pockets and an endless reserve of cash, keeping tabs on all expenses affiliated with doing business is simply a savvy best practice. Paid systems tools, services, programs, processes and even staff costs need to be reviewed often to prevent your hard-earned money from leaking out.
When in Rome: Oftentimes the best teacher for businesses of any shape or size is learning from other companies who have successfully done what your business strives to do. Taking the time to observe their campaigns, branding and marketing can give your business a clear picture of what will work, and what won’t. Another upside to observing what has worked for your peers or your competition is avoiding mistakes that could ultimately lead to costly consequences for your business.
Record Keeping is Critical: Money, bookkeeping and record keeping is not high on the “like” list for many business professionals, but it is something that is critical to the lifeblood of business. Having systems and tools in place to monitor sales, control costs, manage client information, disburse company information and keep your business out of trouble with the tax people is directly related to have stellar record keeping in place.
Look Sharp-Feel Sharp: When your business looks good inside and out, you do as well. Pride in ownership is a key component to many success companies, and if your internal “house” is in turmoil, it will show through in your performance as a leader.
Set Yearly Goals: The purpose of goals is to have something to “shoot for” or to strive for that will produce results better than those that have been experienced in the past. If your business isn’t creating yearly goals for your team to achieve, it is a little like a ship leaving the harbor with no destination. Having clear-cut goals encourages business owners and staff to become more competitive, work to increase sales, look for new markets, and look for new products or services to offer existing clients. Set your yearly goals at the beginning of each New Year, break them down into monthly or quarterly goals and hold everyone involved accountable to know what those goals are in order to reach and exceed them.
Invest in the Best to be Seen by Your Buyers: The reality is that your business could have the coolest widget in the world, but it doesn’t mean much if the buying public has never heard of you or can’t find you. Invest in your business by spending money on quality web design and hosting and hire people smarter than you to form a marketing plan to get your information in front of those people who are buyers. Don’t make it hard for your potential customers to find you, buy from you and even connect with you. Communicate a clear mission and strategy regarding your business and work tirelessly to make that mission known. “Out of sight, out of mind” is something your business will never want to fall victim to.
What business best practices do you swear by?