Everyone is smart, no doubt…
However, most people by virtue and exposure could be smarter; you could even be the smartest in your team.
I anticipate you’d deny I called you “smart” because it seems I’d be coming right at you as we proceed down the lines.
Take a chill pill…everyone has once had sloppy moments that made us look outright lousy and slack.
Well it happens; perhaps due to repeated successes that we’ve gotten so used to that we incline to loosen grip a bit to run on autopilot.
I came across this quote and I think it contradicts being slack;
Every morning in Africa, a gazelle wakes up. It knows it must run faster than the fastest lion or it will be killed. Every morning a lion wakes up. It knows it must outrun the slowest gazelle or it will starve to death. It doesn’t matter whether you are a lion or a gazelle; when the sun comes up, you’d better be running – Unknown.
The lion should have valuable reasons to keep its cool and remain confident, it could have pulled down a giraffe towering over six meters, tore apart a dirty-warty warthog in its tracks, roared at the vervet monkey that scared him so much that it peed from its fifteen meter tree house; intimidated a cowering coalition of cheetahs from its kill all within a short time.
If I had the ‘smarts’ and ‘wit’ to do all these, I’d be balling the Ankara way…lol!
The indisputable truth is; as we wake up every day, the world gets more competitive. In career, business, politics, entertainment, sports, religion, education and in writing as well.
This post may WOW you at the moment, trust me…you’ll still find some other posts a lot better, perhaps it could be another post written by me, I hope.
To remain sharp, I shouldn’t dwell in optimism that you’ll love what I write without getting to practice more frequently just like an athlete. Entrepreneurs that break out and rise to prominence and wealth may be susceptible to lose sharpness.
Unfortunately, there are subtle ways entrepreneurs gradually lose their top spot without knowing it. Let’s find out more.
#1. Getting sloppy about the things you do when you started out
Remember your first day at junior school all smart, white stockings, well ironed uniform with the ghettos commanding respect from other kids?
Recall your first day at work and how you felt? Enrolling for that vocation you loved so much. After a few weeks, you just weren’t as passionate about what you started.
It happens to most of us; you could even get remorseful and make efforts to change.
It could be tough but it’s possible to change
Not only in business, some other things we started passionately in the past gets to a point we get so used to it and lose steam.
I remember distributing devotionals to colleagues at work few years back; I was so passionate and consistent when I started. Over time it became routine and I started slacking. I realized this when colleagues asked for copies of devotionals that I made up excuses why I couldn’t meet up.
That wasn’t good; I felt bad about how sloppy I became perhaps I wasn’t getting the required dose of encouragement I needed.
I resolved to do something about it…
It could be Yoga classes, piano lessons, public speaking; anything you were passionate about. If you lose steam, you lose sharpness.
#2. Getting too familiar with your customers
It’s cool having a drink over the table with your client, I mean who wouldn’t want a close relationship and get paid for it. The ironic part is; such closeness if not managed properly could get you unduly exposed perhaps in your unguarded moments.
Coarse joking and jesting could be too expensive and belittle you before your client. This could occur in several ways even if you don’t visit pubs.
A casual and unprofessional phone etiquette could be one of it, responding with pet or nick names, using slangs, talking in a very awkward high or low pitch can most times turn the customer off and assume you’re beginning to take him/her for granted.
In as much as you want to build a cordial and long lasting relationship with all of your clients, don’t forget that your reputation and business continuity is anchored on one of these factors – Be close yet professional.
#3. Rushing off to celebrate once your bottom line looks good
In my day job, I remember a certain Friday evening; my colleagues at the office went out to a Chinese restaurant to party. It was indeed a joyous moment, we made a profit.
Everyone was excited; I guess we hadn’t made that much profit in a month. Unfortunately I was on leave and couldn’t attend.
But what happened next month… Oops!
Nothing happened, no profit and we were groping. I don’t think that happened again afterwards.
There’s nothing wrong in celebrating yourself or your successes with friends. However when it’s not put into a much more reasonable perspective like celebrating at the end of a trading season or year, then it might not be okay. Celebration and gratification most especially in business should be planned and timed so we don’t lose our edge and become slack.
Your competitor could be re-strategizing; waiting for your celebration to be over to hit you hard. Be watchful and celebrate in your closet and at the right time.
#4. Little or no staff training and personal development.
Once a sharp axe won’t remain sharp after use. The same goes for entrepreneurs.
As you daily run your business and attend to lots of operational issues, the tendency to lose alertness and go dull is real. Frequent training helps clear clogs in the head, reset the memory, sharpen your skills and introduce new ones.
An entrepreneur cannot afford not to read regularly, his life and successes depend on it. No one can train you better than yourself. An entrepreneur needs to also involve his team on training programs to maintain team-sharpness.
#5. Quickly outsourcing most of your functions to a third party agent
When businesses become big, they begin to think about expansion to scale up more and reach new markets.
Some businesses with weak or no governance policy can hastily give up some functions for an agent to manage. This could be as a result of huge capital awaiting deployment. If this is done without the right modalities, it could be a bad idea.
Entrepreneurs are to keep an eagle eye on all their transactions especially if you’re just starting out. This may sound tough; you can get someone to assist you to do that.
#6. Little or poor review of policies, processes, controls and philosophies
When you run continually with same set of rules, policies and processes you started out with, it’s high time you review it and make it applicable to today’s business environment. Change should be constant. To stay sharp, you’ll need to be a step ahead of the market.
#7. Tardy growth and poor succession plan for the future.
Your business won’t remain a start-up forever, in 2-5 years; you should be a growing company. As you blink and look back, you could be celebrating the 10th year anniversary of your company.
Time flies and your business needs to prepare for it.
You’ll not be there all the time; I’m a strong advocate of introducing your children, spouse or relative to your business early on to preserve history. After all, that would be a great inheritance to them better than idle cash stashed in the bank.
Even if you’re not married, keep this in close perspective as your business goes through different business life cycles.
#8. Unsupervised delegation of tasks
It’s expected that once a task is delegated to someone you trust, it should get done, right?.
That’s setting yourself up for heartbreak…
I’ve failed on this severally; delegating a task and assuming it gets done only to get spooked.
There’s nothing wrong in delegating, delegation is wrong when you have a binding agreement with your client that a particular job which is usually a professional one gets done by you.
If you must delegate, the client needs to know.
Ensure you supervise tasks you delegate before it gets delivered to your customer in order to protect your reputation.
#9. Customers’ suggestions & complaints are one of those things
Aside from handling complaints on phone, when customers perceive that you seem not to get your acts together, they could start looking elsewhere. If you or any member of your team always goofs with respect to customer service, sort that out quickly.
You’ll agree that most banks are assessed and rated based on quick, efficient and reliable customer service.
That should be the same for you, emulate the banks, and learn how they do it. Improve in your service speed and efficiency, show empathy and your customers will love you for it.
As entrepreneurs we can get overwhelmed by daily routine and successes that comes with it, we need to pay close attention to those things we did at the beginning that got us to where we are.
If you have other ideas on this subject, I’ll be glad to see them in the comment area below.
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