Perfect, mistake free business operations exist only in fairy tales, not in the real life business world. Sometime, perhaps more than once in the life of a business, someone in the business will make a mistake. It may be something as simple as an overlooked e-mail or something much more serious that has negatively affected a client or customer.
Perhaps you have Errors and Omissions insurance or have set up a “rainy day fund” for emergencies and then again, you may have no reserves and panic sets in.
The correct action to take is to face the problem as soon as you hear about it. Delaying action will only magnify the problem until it consumes all your “mind time” and zaps your productivity. When any “mistake” occurs, it should move to the front of your “to do” list. Do a quick analysis of what happened, place the blame squarely where it belongs, even if it is your fault. Then call the person that has been affected. Be honest about the situation and find out what you have to do to correct it.
In the majority of cases a solution can be worked out; your client will appreciate your rapid and honest concern and will be an even better client in the future.
I find that a lack of control systems is the reason most mistakes are made. Even in the case of providing a familiar service, it’s easy to fall into a non-thinking routine and miss an important step. Airline pilots have to go through a check list before take-off. It’s not something they do from memory. The check list is systematized. Each and every necessary operational function is checked first verbally then confirmed and checked off the list.
Systematizing your total business from accounting to service /product delivery, to marketing and compliance issues is, in my opinion, one of the most important management functions that a small business owner can perform. It not only helps avoid “mistakes”, but also increases the overall efficiency of the business.
Time is usually the most precious commodity that a small business owner has and it is the excuse I receive the most for not having an “organized operational system”. The solution is one that requires change. The three things we focus on are motivation, a desire to improve the operation; planning, to know what has to be done, and discipline to follow through.
Using a mentor or consultant to help you achieve systematization is one of the best investments a business owner can make.
Things turn out best for the people who make the best of the way things turn out. John Wooden