Riddell: A different holiday greeting
December 14, 2016
This time of year provides us with a much needed time for reflection, yet the true benefit of reflection must reside in some type of subsequent action. It is not enough to realize how lucky we are to have good employees and great customers if we are not prepared to underscore this realization with something more than our personal and emotional "warm and fuzzies."
Many business owners and managers forget that both employees and customers share a common desire. They both want the company with whom the choose to patronize to succeed and continue to be a part of their future. What better way to address this concern than a well written thank you that includes an insightful look into the company's future plans?
As an owner/manager think how you would feel if you received a letter from one of your suppliers, telling you how much they appreciated your business, and then informing you of some concrete actions they were going to take to earn your future business. Think how you would feel if you were an employee, exposed to the daily news of employment uncertainty, receiving a similar note of thanks with an explanation of how the company was going to grow and protect their job.
Such a communication implies that you, do indeed, have such a plan and you have the capability to get it down on paper in a way that people, other than yourself, can understand. While many profess to understand the need for such an exercise, many also lack the discipline to write it down. As part and parcel of this composition, a timeline is a requisite component of the planning and therein lies the rub, but also the opportunity.
One of the attractions of entrepreneurship is the ability to be your own boss. You set the schedules, you decide what to do, whom to call, whom to pay, when to go to lunch, etc. Yet if your self employed business model is largely based upon a confusion of freedom with anarchy then you can rest assured that this anarchy based company will be short lived.
As every business is a collection of processes, then certain events must transpire for the process to move forward. Events and the activities leading up to them are the result of conscious efforts. To be effective, these efforts must be directed toward some defined goal. Having a defined goal supported by anticipated activities is another name for a plan. In the sometimes lonely world of entrepreneurship, having a timeline for implementing the activities becomes a logical metric for an entrepreneur's personal perception of managerial competency.
Not to diminish the spirit of the season nor the importance of Hallmark's main product, but how about a new approach? Wouldn't a thoughtful personal note of thanks with a "here's what I'm planning to do even better for you next year" positively separate you from almost everyone else? And in a marketplace desperately searching for identities, this provides a positive one for both customers and employees.
Following a successful international business career, John Riddell turned his attention to small business/entrepreneurial pursuits that included corporate turn-arounds, start-ups, teaching, authoring business and sports columns and serving as VP for the Chattanooga Chamber of Commerce directing its Center for Entrepreneurial Growth.