ASW used to work for this guy named Joe - it's not his real name but it will do. Joe was a tremendously affable guy, always very positive when talking to his customers, quick to share a joke or spread cheer, and with 20-plus years under his belt in business, he was comfortable operating the way he did. Too comfortable.
You see, Joe hated to change anything about the way he did business. After all, hadn't he been in business for more than twenty years and hadn't he always kept the business running? Well, yeah, but maybe he was missing the boat, maybe he could have been doing more than surviving. Let's take a look at some of Joe's business habits and how they impacted his operations.
- Mixing business with pleasure [or how not to use email effectively] - Joe used ONE email for everything, whether it's related to business or to his social life or his political views. Any and all emails went to ONE address, an address that was not reflective of his business in any way, or to anything else in his life apparently. Since he also didn't bother to try to learn how to use filters in his Inbox, the difficulty of finding a critical email message within the daily deluge of emails almost guaranteed that he would miss out on opportunities, deadlines, meetings and a wide variety of important details
- Ignoring technology - While Joe loved to spend time browsing news sites and Facebook posts, he scribbled cryptic notes to his staff on scrap paper. Though the main customer database had numerous places to add notes and information, he steadfastly ignored them, and instead continually asked his staff to provide the readily available information. Countless hours were lost as staff were pulled away from tasks to keep Joe updated, creating paper copies of data destined for the ever-growing stack on his desk.
- Haphazard documentation - Joe was the boss so if he wanted to grab a few checks from the corporate checkbook on his way out to a meeting, so be it. Unfortunately, he almost never bothered to fill out the check stubs, leaving the ugly task of reconciliation to the office clerk who then had to ask Joe to log onto his online banking site so the critiical info like amount and payee could be retrieved.
These are only a few of the more aggravating aspects of Joe's business life. That he is able to remain in business is a testament to his great ability to pick winning products for his niche market and to offer them at bargain prices to his customers. If he were willing to change some of his habits to more effective ones, he could go from barely surviving to potentially thriving. But will he? Do you have a boss like Joe? Have you been able to get him to change for the better and become of this century?