Business Acumen. Shrewd Business Dealings. Customer Service. Lean Business Practices. Trickle Down Theory. Team Spirit. Integrity. These words are bandied about in business circles, but I wonder how many employers and business owners really understand what these terms entail. Can you succeed in business with these practices? Can you succeed without them? Let’s take a look at what success in the business world really means.
Business Acumen: Having business acumen means possessing common sense and an understanding of how a consumer thinks. Give the customer what he wants, not what you think they should have. When I shop at Pac Sun for a hoodie for my son, I don’t want to be asked if I would like to ‘buy some fragrance with my purchase.’ If I had wanted fragrance, I would have asked for it. It annoys me to be hawked like a carnival vendor.
Shrewd Business Dealings: Shrewd business people have excellent timing. They watch the market, jump on trends, take calculated risks and know how to handle customers with tact.
Customer Service: A large firm with a big name that I won’t mention is under the misapprehension that maintenance workers do not profit the company. Maintaining equipment doesn’t produce capital as they put it. But without maintenance to keep things running, profit can’t be made. Some business owners take that shallow approach to customer service. Customer service doesn’t make money. Sales makes money. But unhappy customers do not buy products or services. Take care of your customers and they will take care of your business.
Lean Business Practices: This is an interesting philosophy that harks back to the Japanese business theories of the early 1980s. It theory, it means ‘trim the fat’, and it works, if the right ‘fat is trimmed’. Does your business need all that expensive landscaping? How much will it cost to operate and maintain that huge new building? How much profit will that overpriced, inefficient office decor make you? how much are those three martini business lunches costing? Lean business practices should mean a scrupulous analysis of wasteful spending that doesn’t benefit the employees and business.
Trickle Down Theory; Another business practice borrowed from the Japanese, ‘trickle down’ really means to lead by example. To take salary cuts before you expect employees to take them. To be the first one at work and the last to leave, not a figurehead seen only on breaks from the golf course. Employees know which supervisors, bosses and managers practice what they preach. Those that don’t rarely have good relations or high productivity.
Team Spirit: This is similar to ‘trickle down’ theory. A soccer team functions when everyone plays her position and cooperates. Everyone. Team spirit isn’t a handy phrase for a boss to pull out when she needs something. Team spirit means everyone helping each other. A real team succeeds only when everyone wins.
Integrity: Integrity, a seemingly lost word in today’s business world, is what all these other terms should equal. Not just looking polished and being a smooth talker, but being a good person on the inside. Honesty, going the extra mile, taking responsibility, living up to your word: that’s the real secret to success in the world of business. And you can take that from Og Mandino, The Greatest Salesman in the World.